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Zoning changes could mean new restaurants, offices

| Monday, Dec. 2, 2002

In anticipation of proposed zoning revisions in Peters, restaurateurs Mary Chiodo and Tony Interval, owners of Kofenya, are eager to build a new establishment along Valley Brooke near East McMurray Road.

Peters council could decide this month whether to allow restaurants, office warehousing and multi-family dwellings in two areas of the municipality as part of a first wave of zoning revisions. Residential zoning will be addressed next year.

Council will hold a workshop tonight to review changing the zoning of two corridors from "light industrial" to "mixed use," said Zoning Officer Clint Smeltzner. Council could approve those changes at another meeting this month.

Considered for "mixed use" zoning are:

  • The southern side of West Venetia Road, between Bower Hill and Bebout roads

  • Valley Brooke Road, from Friar Lane to about 2,500 feet from Route 19

    Both are now near residential areas, Smeltzner said, and would benefit from the "less intensive" nature of "mixed use" development.

    There wasn't as much residential development near West Venetia and Valley Brooke roads when they were originally zoned for light industrial. But during the past 10 years, Peters population has grown by about 21 percent, according to the U.S. Census.

    Because of this growth, it is time for zoning changes, Smeltzner said.

    Current "light industrial zoning" allows for manufacturing, excavating and distribution companies, as well as warehouses, which could bring noisy machinery and trucks, he said.

    The council and planning commission heard public comment on the matter during a November meeting and have decided to limit hours of operation and set guidelines for storing equipment.

    If the amendments are approved, existing businesses would comply when making changes to their property.

    The renumbering of all the zoning districts will occur with this first round of amendments.

    The Kofenya partners are ready to break ground as early as January on an 11-acre parcel of land just up the road from their current location at 210 Valley Brooke Road, Chiodo said.

    Plans are for building a 5,000-square-foot facility.

    "The rezoning of the Valley Brooke Road corridor would allow Kofenya to build a new facility with a much-needed larger kitchen area," she said. The seating capacity for guests would remain the same.

    The larger kitchen would allow for an expanded menu and slightly larger banquet facilities, Interval said.

    "The location will be better to benefit the people of Peters," he said.

    "We'll be able to offer better banquet facilities, lounge and restaurant so they don't have to go into Pittsburgh," he said.

    Interval and Chiodo opened two coffee houses in 1999. They upgraded their business by moving operations to their one current location in May 2000.

    The zoning ordinance is generally reviewed every 10-15 years, most recently in 1991.

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