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Murrysville OKs medical office building

| Sunday, April 29, 2012, 4:24 p.m.

Murrysville Council this week approved plans to build a two-story, 22,455-square-foot medical office facility along Old William Penn Highway.

The Murrysville Commons Professional Building -- a combination of medical and professional offices -- will be built on 2.2 acres of land between Beverly Court and Evergreen Drive.

The space is targeted for Dr. Mark Rubino, an obstetrician and gynecologist moving his office from Monroeville, and other tenants. Two abandoned homes on the property will be razed.

The motion was approved 5-2 Wednesday with Councilwoman Joan Kearns and Councilman Dennis Pavlik voting against the project. Council also stipulated two contingencies: A tree must be removed to allow for better sight distance looking left to Old William Penn Highway from Beverly Court, and no tenants in the complex shall occupy more than 5,000 square feet.

Kearns echoed sentiments expressed in the past by those who live near the proposed facility about the size of the building and the amount of additional traffic it will generate in an area with mixed zoning.

"What I see is a grossly oversized building that will intensely change the intent of the mixed-use district and basically gut the mixed-use ordinance and the intent of the mixed-use ordinance," Kearns said. "It just kind of throws it all out the proportion. It dwarfs everything around there. ...The intent of mixed-use is to be compatible with a residential nature of a neighborhood, and this is not."

Her comment was met with applause from some in audience.

Councilman Larry Nicolette voted in favor of the project because he said it adhered to the municipality's regulations concerning mixed-use zoning, but he hopes the ordinance would be altered in the future.

"I cannot find any reason to vote against this project, because there's nothing in this ordinance that prohibits it," he said. "I'm going to cast my vote in the affirmative because I cannot vote against it, but I want to. I want changes in the ordinance because I don't think the building is really in the spirit of that location."

Council scheduled a public hearing for input on the proposed 2009 budget at 7 p.m. Nov. 19.

A proposed $7.93 million spending plan calls for a 1.25-mill property tax increase, according to Chief Administrator John Barrett. He said a need to offset shortcomings in the uniform and non-uniform pension plans was a major factor for the proposed increase.

"Council typically tries to find ways they can to make some cuts in the budget," Barrett said. "We'll work with them if that's the route they want to take."

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