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Zoning changes up for vote soon

| Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2003

Marshall officials are expected soon to rezone the township's Warrendale section in hopes of eventually revitalizing one of the community's first areas of development.

Several years ago, officials tried to rewrite the zoning for property along Northgate Drive, as well as portions of Route 19 and Warrendale-Bayne Road.

While officials — and a number of Warrendale property owners — originally hoped to create a quaint "village center" along Northgate Drive with small shops, restaurants, sidewalks and street lanterns, they soon realized that goal was too lofty.

Simply rezoning, officials learned, would not allow the area that had grown to include everything — from houses and auto repair shops to a restaurant and fire station — to be changed into an area like downtown Sewickley with its villagelike atmosphere.

Chris Murphy, Marshall's land use administrator, said that while the proposed new zoning ordinance calls for a number of changes to zoning rules, it does not call for enormous change.

Murphy said officials have recast the rules to encourage more small business growth along Northgate Drive, limit large commercial development along Route 19 and do away with the notion that Warrendale is an industrial district.

Because the Warrendale area is known as the Warrendale Industrial District — even though heavy industrial uses were never permitted in the area — many people don't realize what is in the area, Murphy said.

Under the proposed revisions, the following zoning changes would be made:

= Northgate Drive from Route 19 to just north of Mt. Pleasant Road would be renamed Warrendale Center. Offices, art galleries, single-family homes, day care centers, taverns and banks would be among the development permitted in the district.

= Northgate Drive from just north of Mt. Pleasant Road to where Northgate Drive becomes a dead end — as well as a portion of Route 19 and Warrendale-Bayne Road — would be rezoned as the Warrendale Local Business District. Within the district, food stores, small retail shops, offices, restaurants and dancing and music schools, among other things, would be permitted.

= Route 19 from Warrendale-Bayne Road south to the area of Harmony Road would be rezoned to allow offices and high-density residential development, such as apartments and town houses.

Before the new zoning regulations could be put into place, township supervisors will have to approve them. Supervisors are expected to review the ordinance at their 7:30 p.m. Monday meeting in the township building, 525 Pleasant Hill Road.

The meeting is open to the public.

Murphy said he hopes the new zoning regulations, if approved, will encourage a greater variety of businesses in the Warrendale area and inspire small business owners to move in and rehabilitate existing buildings.

"We would like to see more of a mix (of housing and businesses) than is there today," Murphy said. "We also want Northgate Drive and Route 19 to become part of a cohesive unit that attracts people."

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