The following elected officials were present: R. Carlucci; M. Cheberenchick; P. Coffey; T. Kirk; N. Kovach; J. O'Malley; R. Zezulewicz; D. Baumgarten. Tax Collector S. Torris was absent. The following appointed officials were present: T. Hartswick, Manager; D. Biondo, Solicitor; H. Lane, Police Chief.
The minutes of the November 8, 2004 council meeting were presented. Mr. Kirk motioned to approve the minutes; Ms. O'Malley seconded; all in favor; motion carried.
Mr. Zezulewicz opened the public comments section of the meeting.
George Ogg, 5110 Earlsdale Road - stated a house under construction on Loma Drive has tons of dirt sitting on a hillside where heavy rains could cause a landslide. Mr. Ogg requested drainage to storm sewer to prevent flooding. Mr. Ross will contact the contractor. Mr. Cheberenchick added that Nick Cheberenchick wants the dirt removed from his property.
George Orr, 791 Killarney Drive - stated that nothing is being done regarding water discharge onto his property from two homes under construction on Kerry Hill. Mr. Ross stated the owners at 800 and 802 have agreed to place diffusers onto their drain pipes, however the borough cannot force homeowners to install diffusers. Mr. Ross will contact the Kerry Hill homeowners to request the installation.
Mr. Orr stated the contractor for the gas company has not completed restoration and removed asphalt and concrete on Killarney Drive after their installation of a gas line this summer. Mr. Ross will examine the construction site.
Mr. Orr requested a stop sign at Janet and McCully Road. Mr. Zezulewicz described the borough's traffic study process and Penndot's limitations on placement of signs.
Vincent Weiss, 1400 Sixth Street - described problems with traffic and a school bus stop on Sixth Street and discussed sanitary sewer backups in his basement in the past. Mr. Zezulewicz discussed the borough's efforts on McRoberts Road to eliminate storm and surface water from the sanitary sewer system. If neighboring roof drains are connected to the sanitary sewer system, the Clean Water Act mandates corrections. Mr. Weiss stated the sewers are not large enough to accommodate the volume of water; and during heavy rains his driveway sump pump discharges sewage water onto the street. Additional dye testing in the area will be scheduled.
Mr. Zezulewicz officially closed the public portion of the meeting.
Bid Openings: - Nothing to report.
Public Hearings: - Mr. Ross presented and read Ordinance 842 amending the zoning map from R-1 single family residential to R-3 high density residential on the DiCello Plan of Lots for 3.6 acres bordering Broadway Street, May Street and the Whitehall border. Mr. Zezulewicz opened the public hearing on Ordinance 842.
The following Castle Shannon and Whitehall residents spoke in opposition to the rezoning. Their concerns were the width of the street with increased traffic, additional sewage flow into a system with existing flooding problems, the change and disturbance to a quiet established neighborhood, the possibility of an additional cut through road to Whitehall or Sixth Street, the maintenance of the creek to prevent flooding, the environmental impact to the area and their wish to retain the integrity of the neighborhood and serenity and view of the woods.
Kelly Walton, 3005 May Street Extension
Albert Jalso, 3026 May Street Extension
James Boyle, 3024 May Street Extension
William Brown, 3020 May Street Extension
Bernie Lynch, 5080 Earlsdale Road
Joseph Lawlor, 2996 May Street Extension
Bradley Holzworth, 2901 May Street Extension
Amy Sandhagen, 5094 Earlsdale Road
Samuel Walton, 3005 May Street Extension
Robert Palonis, 5066 Earlsdale Road
Ray Dadig, 5133 Earlsdale Drive
Donna Recktenwald, 5074 Earlsdale Road
Kerri McAleavey, 2902 May Street Extension
Fred Surmick, 3001 Broadway Avenue
Nancy Hager, 2905 May Street
Doris Ogg, 5110 Earlsdale Road
Paul Renne, 96 Skyvue Drive
Dorothy Hollingsworth, 2901 Broadway Street
Mr. Zezulewicz officially closed the public hearing on Ordinance 842. Mr. Zezulewicz and Mayor Baumgarten discussed storm water infiltration into the sanitary sewer system and stated that under normal rains, the overflow problem does not exist. During excessive rains, surface water and roof drains overload the sanitary sewer system. Mayor Baumgarten reported the borough will be spending millions of dollars to televise and repair sanitary sewer lines pursuant to the Administrative Consent Order through the Department of Environmental Protection. Mr. Ross stated that a storm water management plan is required for any building project.
Residents stated that complete plans should be submitted before the rezoning is approved. Mr. Zezulewicz explained that the townhouse site plan has not been approved by the planning commission. Very basic preliminary plans have been submitted. Borough council will vote on whether to accept the planning commission's recommendation to rezone the area in hopes that the property would be developed according to a possible project.
Mr. Zezulewicz discussed the Castle Ridge apartment project and stated the same concerns were expressed by the residents on Baldwin Avenue, i.e. flooding, traffic, etc. The borough professionals insured that the plan designs addressed the flooding and traffic concerns.
Mayor Baumgarten commented that council represents approximately 9,000 residents and many neighborhoods. Tax revenues have been reduced due to reassessments, Act 77 reductions for senior citizens, and the Homestead Act. Any addition to the tax base should be considered.
Mr. Zezulewicz addressed the road width concern and stated that May Street Extension is 1.5 feet narrower than McRoberts Road, which has truck, bus and heavy traffic. The development plans do not include any new roadways that connect to Whitehall or City of Pittsburgh property. Mr. Ross stated a traffic study will be completed at the time of the site plan to determine if road improvements are needed.
Mr. Zezulewicz sympathized with the residents and stated that when he purchased his home on McRoberts Road, the back yard area was all woods; however Whitehall built townhouses adjacent to his property. Mr. Zezulewicz stated the main issue is increased tax revenue versus neighborhood privacy.
Matthew Greiner, Greicon Construction & Development Company - answered Mr. Zezulewicz's question regarding how the area is determined to be wetlands. An environmental engineer must be contacted and the area would be reported to DEP or EPA. The wetland portion of the area is not part of the project.
Mr. Zezulewicz questioned how the project would cause property devaluation. One resident replied that he values his property by the integrity of the neighborhood. Real estate property values have increased, however if the townhouses are left to deteriorate or do not sell at market price, the adjacent properties could be devaluated. Mr. Ross described the Shannon Heights project. The purchaser owns the structure and the subdivided lot, and a homeowners association maintains the common areas. A feasibility study is completed to insure the marketability of the homes.
Mr. Muller stated that May Street Extension does not have fire hydrants. The fire marshall would have to insure compliance to the fire code.
Mr. Zezulewicz questioned Chief Lane regarding the issue of vehicles ignoring the stop sign and increased traffic on Sixth Street. Chief Lane responded the police department will continue to monitor traffic and discussed other areas of the borough with similar violations.
Mr. Ross presented the Planning Commission minutes of September 20, 2004 that approved the rezoning from R1 to R3. Mr. Zezulewicz listed council's options:
1) accept or not accept the planning commission's recommendations;
2) adopt or decline the ordinance; or
3) table the motion.
Arthur Smith, counsel and co-managing member for Greicon Construction and Development - stated they are sensitive to the public's comments and asked permission to express comments and answer questions. Mr. Smith introduced Mark Lesnick, Greicon's consultant, and Matthew Griener, co-managing member of Greicon. Mr. Lesnick presented the preliminary site plan and discussed the acreage and placement of townhouse units. DEP and storm water management mandates will be followed. Mining studies and geotechnical work will be conducted for stabilization. Sanitary sewer will be connected to ALCOSAN. Soil erosion control permit will be obtained. Mr. Smith stated that every local, county and state regulation will be followed and gave a brief description of the company and its current projects. Based on the current millage, the development should conservatively net $76,000 per year in borough, school and wage taxes on twenty dwellings. Griecon would be bonded for damage to roads for eighteen months from construction completion. Mr. Smith gave a lengthy discussion on due diligence of the construction company and lending company for the project.
Mr. Zezulewicz stated the issue is tax revenue versus privacy and asked council to indicate whether each member wished to vote or table the rezoning. Mr. Kirk made a motion to vote on the rezoning; no second was obtained. Mr. Cheberenchick motioned to table the rezoning issue until further information is obtained; Mr. Carlucci seconded; Mr. Kirk voted no; all in favor; motion carried.
Council discussed meeting with the developer at a public meeting to answer questions and obtain information before the next public hearing on the rezoning issue.
Civil Service Commission: - Nothing to report.
Real Estate Tax Collectors Report: - Nothing to report.
Council Committee Reports:
Building and Grounds: - Nothing to report.
Finance: - Nothing to report.
Library: - Nothing to report.
Planning and Codes: - Mr. Ross continues to explore every avenue for the Middle Home residents. Mr. Hartswick and Mr. Ross will meet with borough engineers and Baker Engineering for geological study.
Public Safety: - Chief Lane stated the Civil Service Commission has the list of police candidates. Ms. O'Malley noted fifty-two candidates were tested through the SHACOG Joint Police Testing Program on October 30th.
Chief Lane reported that the borough and county are prepared to change from the South Hills Regional Dispatch Center on January 1st to the Allegheny County Dispatch Center. All CAD information has been updated and submitted with emergency numbers and information.
Mr. Zezulewicz questioned back up problems with Mt. Lebanon. Chief Lane reported that Mt. Lebanon did not respond to a domestic report in Baldwin Township. Sergeant Lane made an arrest for Bethel Park and requested dispatch to notify Bethel Park of the arrest. Dispatch instructed Sergeant Lane to switch channels. Mr. Zezulewicz noted that these incidents prove that the South Hills Regional Dispatch Center has inefficiencies. Chief Lane added the Castle Shannon business list was never updated through SHRDC. Mr. Cheberenchick noted that MRTSA will be utilizing the county dispatch system also, however the fire department has decided to remain with SHRDC.
Public Works: - Nothing to report.
Editorial Board: - The winter newsletter is at the printers.
MRTSA: - Nothing to report.
Allegheny County Boroughs Association - Nothing to report.
Allegheny League of Municipalities: - Nothing to report.
South Hills Area Council of Governments: - Ms. O'Malley attended the November meeting. SHACOG Joint Police testing was discussed. Members also discussed the redistribution of community development block grant funds, however the federal government requirements prohibit that action.
Police Pension: - The agenda contained the October investment analysis.
Earned Income Tax Collector's Report: - Nothing to report.
Engineer's Report: - Nothing to report.
Manager's Report: - Mr. Hartswick presented partial payment number two for the McCully Road Sanitary Sewer Contract No. 04-S1 for $11,193.25. Ms. O'Malley motioned to approve the payment for forwarding to SHACOG; Ms. Kovach seconded; all in favor; motion carried.
Mr. Hartswick requested council ratify the manager's approval of change order number one for the 2004 Road Improvement Program Contract No. 04-R02 with a decrease in the project cost of $17,000.29. Mr. Carlucci motioned to ratify the change order; Ms. Kovach seconded; all in favor; motion carried.
- Mayor Baumgarten proclaimed November 20, 2004 as Saint Anne Parish Day. Saint Anne Parish celebrated their one hundred-fifteenth anniversary and Saint Anne School celebrated their one hundred-tenth anniversary, and one hundred anniversary of the Sisters of Divine Providence.
Mayor Baumgarten proposed the borough provide free parking for business customers in the downtown area from December 20, 2004 to January 1, 2005. Ms. O'Malley made the motion; Mr. Kirk seconded; Ms. Kovach abstained; all in favor; motion carried.
Mayor Baumgarten commented on council's decision to table the motion for Ordinance 842 and added the residents and developers deserve an answer from council soon.
Planning Commission: - Nothing to report.
Solicitor: - Mr. Biondo advised that the public hearing for Ordinance 842 will require re-advertising. Mr. Hartswick will contact Collier Township regarding Greicon's current development. Mr. Zezulewicz suggested inviting the developers to a public meeting for information purposes only, and advertising the public hearing for January 24, 2005. Mr. Biondo and Mr. Zezulewicz debated whether residents should be notified of the developers' invitation to attend a public meeting for informational purposes.
Keystone Oaks : - Nothing to report.
Zoning Hearing Board: - Nothing to report.
Other Business: - Nothing to report.