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Developers pitch Union Twp. project

| Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2006

UNION TOWNSHIP - Developers of a proposed multi-purpose project want to ease whatever concerns may exist about their plans.

"We want to be community friendly," Carl Behling, of BDH Development, South Hills, said at a public hearing Monday night. "It's a unique piece of property that is absolutely worthless."

The developers hope to make that "worthless" piece of land a valuable part of the township, Behling told the hearing, which was scheduled to consider an amendment for a proposed overlay project on a brownfield site.

The property BDH hopes to develop is a 140-acre tract of land that stretches over both Washington and Allegheny counties. Of that tract, 105 acres is located in Union Township, near Cardox and Sebolt roads. The other acreage goes into South Park in neighboring Allegheny County.

The plan calls for 29 acres of single-family zoning, 10 acres of multi-family zoning, 28 acres for commercial business and 39 acres for heavy/light industrial.

The area, which is currently zoned as a rural district, has been deemed useless because it's a brownfield site that includes a former refuse dump and an underground coal mine in which a fire continues to burn.

Another BDH official, Bob Dixon, told the board of supervisors it will take "six to 10 years" to clean up the site. He added that the plan for development is a three-phase plan that will take at least 10 years to complete.

If the amendment is approved, developers hope to have at least one stage of the development - the one for heavy/light industrial - up and running within five years.

"Before any of this is approved, we have to come back here before you people," Behling told the supervisors about the development plans.

The upside of approving the amendment to clear the way for the development is that a useless piece of property that some residents claim is an eyesore will be turned into a valuable tract of land that will be placed on the tax rolls and bring in jobs.

The negative is that some residents on Cardox Road are concerned about potential noise issues and traffic concerns in the area.

The board of supervisors continued the hearing until a later date because the township's engineer, Kim Gales, unexpectedly tendered her resignation before the hearing.

At least one member of the board seems to be in favor of the amendment and the project.

"It seems like the majority of the residents of the township are in favor of it," said Supervisor Larry Spahr.

No date has been set for the next hearing on the issue.

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