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Hempfield officials to review site plan for Excela Health Orthoplex

Renatta Signorini
| Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, 12:01 a.m.

Hempfield officials will review a site development plan presented Wednesday night by Excela Health representatives and provide comments to the township's planning commission for consideration at a future meeting.

About a dozen residents who attended the meeting are hoping the advisory panel will take into consideration their questions and concerns about Excela Health's plan to build a three-story orthopedic medical mall off of Mt. Pleasant Road.

“We are very concerned about some issues relating to the construction on this property,” said Summit Drive resident Charlotte Kemerer as she gave township officials papers outlining those concerns.

The proposed Excela Health Orthoplex on Weatherwood Lane would sit on 43 acres that the health system purchased for $3.75 million in March. The parcel sits off Route 30 West, close to the township's border with Greensburg and South Greensburg. The vacant property is adjacent to a residential area off the Cedar Street exit.

The plan calls for a 96,000-square-foot building surrounded by 503 parking spaces near Weatherwood Lane, leaving trees and grassy areas closer to the homes intact.

“We're very passionate about being able to build this type of complex and program for the future needs of the county,” said Dr. Lance Brunton, an orthopedic surgeon at Excela Health.

Initial testing of the ground indicated that a portion of the parcel is contaminated with arsenic from past surface mining operations, said Bryan Clement of H.F. Lenz Co., a consulting engineer retained by Excela Health. As a result, the health system is going to have the contaminated soil removed from the site even though it was not required to do so, Clement told the planning commission.

The remediation plan would have to be approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

He also outlined proposed changes to Mt. Pleasant Road to improve the existing intersection with Weatherwood Lane and Route 30 and to mitigate an expected influx of traffic to the proposed orthopedic site. Those adjustments could include the removal of road markings to create a lane structure that would allow for more cars to make turns at certain spots in the sometimes congested area.

“I think it's a good start on traffic from what you're describing,” said planning commission chairman Phil Shelapinsky.

Nearby resident Charlie Frederickson suggested that a secondary entrance to the site be considered in the event of an emergency.

Excela Health officials had proposed connecting Weatherwood Lane to Spruce Street, but residents opposed the plan.

The plan under consideration does not include connecting those two dead-end roads.

In July 2014, Excela was awarded a $3 million state grant to pay for the design and construction of the orthopedic treatment center.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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