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May 22, 2017

The following elected officials were present: M. Heckmann; T. Kirsch; N. Kovach; W. Oates; M. Randazzo; D. Swisher; M. Warhold; D. Baumgarten. Tax Collector S. Torris was absent. The following appointed officials were present: T Hartswick, Borough Manager; K. Truver, Police Chief; D. Biondo, Solicitor; P. Vietmeier, Codes Official; N. Mastandrea, Junior Council Member; J. Stanton, Borough Engineer. K. Simms Strnisa of Simms Strnisa Court Reporting was present to record the public hearing section of the meeting.

The minutes of the May 8, 2017 Council Meeting were presented. Mr. Kirsch motioned to approve the minutes; Ms. Randazzo seconded; all in favor; motion carried.

Public Comments:
Ms. Kovach officially opened the public comment section of the meeting. Being none, the public comment section was closed.

Bid Openings:
Nothing to report

Public Hearings:
Shannon Transit Village - The following representatives attended the hearing on behalf of the Shannon Transit Village developer: Don Smith, CBRE Director of Project Management; Pat Cooper, Gateway Engineers; Lauren Wright, Piper Architects; Chad Brinkley, CBRE; Lynn Colosi, consultant to JRA Development Group. Jim Aiello of JRA Developers was unable to attend.

Ms. Kovach opened the public hearing. Mr. Smith stated that this project began 15 years ago with Jim Aeillo of JRA Development Group, and CBRE became involved four years ago. Recently Morgan Properties Group, a very substantial residential developer and manager, joined the partnership. Shannon Transit Village seeks to consolidate parking on the Port Authority station at Castle Shannon Boulevard and Mt. Lebanon Boulevard into structured parking including a nine (9) story building with ground floor retail and 152 apartments on the upper floors. Mr. Cooper presented site drawings of the proposed design and separate 3 story parking deck with 375 spaces for transit parking and 188 additional surface spaces for transit parking. Mr. Wright described architectural design details and floor plans. Mr. Brinkley discussed proposed signage standards for the retail section.

Mr. Swisher questioned where the driveway would be located. Mr. Cooper stated it will be a signalized intersection across from Shop-n-Save. Mr. Swisher listed concerns about the parking, i.e. the distance from the building to the garage’s location and having no individually designated parking for residents. Mr. Heckmann questioned the structural detail for the parking deck, and Mr. Wright said the parking garage is a standard design with side coverages and a precast deck. Mr. Warhold noted that of the 375 spaces within the structured parking, 75% are covered. Mr. Oates and Mr. Cooper discussed access to the development from Mt. Lebanon Boulevard and Castle Shannon Boulevard. The following residents shared their concerns:

  • Brenda Maruhnich, 1069 Thornwood Drive – discussed concerns regarding sufficient parking and shared parking.

  • Trinette Kerns, 1037 Francis Drive – identified mobility concerns for handicapped and senior citizens

  • Russell McKibben, 1456 Highland Villa Drive – questioned who will monitor and enforce the parking. Mr. Smith answered the developer/owner would be responsible. Mr. McKibben also asked for coordination of CSRC’s streetscape plan and this project to include sidewalk replacement, and concluded that residential parking during the day will be uncovered.
Ms. Colosi stated that all parking on the site is intended to be cross use parking, and that is the concept of a transit oriented development. Port Authority required the developers to create a design that would not eliminate any parking spaces. All handicapped spaces for residents are located by the building entrance and all handicapped spaces in the parking garage are located directly next to the station. These meet ADA requirements.

A discussion continued on available parking. The parking garage will be gated and monitored during the weekdays and be open on weekends and evenings for residential or retail parking. During daylight weekday hours, the parking targeted for transit oriented development would be maxed out – all 563 spaces. In the present Port Authority lot, there are 504 spaces available. The remaining 187 spaces for the project are for retail/residential parking.

Mayor Baumgarten reiterated that the Shannon Transit Village has been in the planning stages for 15 years. There is approximately $12 million in public money invested in this project. Shannon Transit Village is a regional project and a prototype of this kind of development which could be used throughout western Pennsylvania. The project will create over 100 jobs during construction in addition to providing tax dollars to the county, borough and school district through real estate and earned income taxes. This project is a key to the revitalization of Castle Shannon’s downtown business district. Mayor Baumgarten emphasized that this project is extremely important to our community and surrounding communities. The project has the backing of Senator Fontana, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Dennis Davin (Pennsylvania State Department of Economic Development), and Governor Tom Wolfe.

Mr. Cooper asked for three items this evening from council. 1) approval of the site plan application; 2) approval of the subdivision application; and 3) approval of the conditional use application. Mr. Cooper discussed sections of the borough’s zoning ordinance relevant to the Shannon Transit Village project.

Mr. Vietmeier, Zoning Officer, made the following determinations and interpretations regarding the project:
  1. Section 305, Paragraph E, Subsection 1 – The zoning ordinance defines a medium rise building but does not provide for the locations and uses permitted. The proposed use(s) requested in the TOD district in a medium rise building are permitted.

  2. Section 305.D.4 – The proposal to use plantings that do not require regular watering meets the requirements of the zoning ordinance, so long as a detailed description of the planting and landscaping design are provided to the zoning officer, and materials are bonded for one year to ensure they thrive.

  3. Section 601.A.1 – Proposed handicap space configuration meets the zoning ordinance requirements. All handicap spaces must be constructed in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and regulations adopted pursuant to the ADA.

  4. Section 601.L – The shared parking analysis and calculation is acceptable and meets the requirements of the zoning ordinance notwithstanding Section 601.L.3.e.

  5. In 2013, the interpretation that parking spaces beneath the deck met the intent of enclosed parking with adequate walls and overhead coverage. There is no difference between the construction of the covered parking under the deck to a parking garage proposed in 2017 in the TOD district.
The developers are asking that council approve the conditional use application noting the following provisions of the zoning ordinance which he requested to be addressed and approved as follows:
  1. Section 502.4 requiring “parking spaces shall be located no more than three hundred (300) feet from the high-rise apartment’s primary entrance.” This is a medium-rise building, not a high-rise, and the ordinance does not specify that all parking spaces be located within 300 feet. The majority of the spaces designated for residential use are within 300 feet.
  2. Section 502.4.J. that slopes be “graded to a maximum of a three-foot horizontal to one-foot vertical (3:1) ratio. The waiver is requesting a 2:1 ratio for certain slopes. The current conditions on the site include 2:1 slopes, and the proposed development will maintain those slopes and will be subject to engineering approval.
Mayor Baumgarten stated that the goal is for the developer to meet all our ordinances and zoning requirements, obtain variances where needed, and obtain interpretation from the zoning officer on designated items. Parking will be an owner/tenant situation. Council must act on what is good for the entire community. Mr. Cassidy agreed with Mayor Baumgarten’s comments. Ms. Kovach closed the public hearing.
Ms. Randazzo motioned to approve the conditional use application; Mr. Warhold seconded. Ms. Kovach called for a roll call vote: Mr. Swisher – yes; Ms. Randazzo – yes; Mr. Heckmann – yes; Mr. Warhold – yes; Mr. Oates – yes, Mr. Kirsch – yes; Ms. Kovach – yes. Motion passed unanimously. Mr. Heckmann motioned to reapprove the previously submitted subdivision plan including the separate lots being leased for Shannon Transit Village; Mr. Swisher seconded. Ms. Kovach called for a roll call vote: Mr. Swisher – yes; Ms. Randazzo – yes; Mr. Heckmann – yes; Mr. Warhold – yes; Mr. Oates – yes, Mr. Kirsch – yes; Ms. Kovach – yes. Motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Stanton has reviewed the site plan. With the conditional use approval and report by Mr. Vietmeier, all zoning related items have been addressed. The floodplain analysis will be submitted. The grading permit will be a future application. The developer is in the process of getting utility company letters and will obtain a soil erosion and sedimentation control plan. Pending items include a highway occupancy permit, bonding and developer’s agreement, storm water management operation and maintenance agreement, storm water facility maintenance letter. Mr. Stanton recommends approval of the land development contingent on addressing the remaining items.

Mr. Heckmann motioned to approve the preliminary and final site plan subject to the stated interpretations of the zoning officer, approval of the distance of parking spaces from the primary entrance as submitted on the site plan, approval of the 2:1 ratio slope grade submitted on the site plan, and completion of items listed in Lennon, Smith, Souleret Engineering’s letters; Mr. Kirsch seconded. Ms. Kovach called for a roll call vote: Mr. Kirsch – yes; Mr. Oates – yes; Mr. Warhold – yes; Mr. Heckmann – yes; Ms. Randazzo – yes; Mr. Swisher – yes; Ms. Kovach – yes. Motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Warhold thanked the residents for attending and presenting their comments.

Public Hearing - Resolution #643 - Mr. Cassidy presented the resolution authorizing an application for traffic signal approval to Penndot for a new flashing beacon traffic signal at Mt. Lebanon Boulevard at Cooke Drive. Mr. Swisher motioned to adopt Resolution #643; Mr. Warhold seconded; all in favor; motion carried.

Civil Service Commission:
Nothing to report.

Real Estate Tax Collectors Report:
The agenda contained the April report: Collections - $1,625,910.97; Balance - $450,410.19.

Council Committee Reports:

Public Relations/Communications:
Nothing to report. Public Works - Building & Grounds:
Mr. Oates reported that public works has been cutting grass in the borough parks and properties identified with high grass code violations. In addition, the employees have been distributing mulch throughout the borough’s planting areas.

Four seasonal workers have started and are proving to be good employees.

Mr. Oates presented the Summer 2017 Road Material Tabulation bids received through SHACOG with a total price of $13,458.23.

Building and Grounds:
Ms. Kovach, Mr. Warhold and Lt. Lane visited the Memorial Parklet to seek space for a World War II memorial. Ms. Kovach would like to see additional benches installed next year.

Public Safety/Fire:
Chief Truver reported that the annual shredding event will be held on Saturday May 27th at the CSVFD from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The first two boxes are free, and thereafter the cost is $5 per box with funds donated to the Castle Shannon Revitalization Corporation.

Mr. Swisher approved the check registers for May 9th and May 18th.

Community Activities/Planning & Codes:
Mr. Warhold announced that the CSRC has received approval for a $50,000 Façade Grant. Interested business owners will have a 50/50 match for funding façade improvements such as windows, awnings, paint, etc.

Community Day will be on Sunday, May 28th. We were fortunate to have enough community minded residents volunteer for the event. A very diverse selection of music is planned: 2:00 p.m. School of Rock’s “Organized Confusion”; 3:30 p.m. – “Hit Play”; 5:30 p.m. – “Dobbs Sisters”; 7:30 p.m. – “Shari Richards”.

The Memorial Day Parade and ceremony will be held on May 29th beginning at 10:30 a.m. at St. Annes Church.

Summer recreation program applications are being accepted at the Castle Shannon Municipal Center. The program runs from June 19th to July 28th. Lunches will be provided by Keystone Oaks Summer Lunch Program at Hamilton Park, Alvern Gardens and the Community Library from Monday through Friday.

The Castle Shannon Revitalization Corporation will be hosting “Third Friday” events in June, July and August to promote the downtown area. Park Avenue will be closed to traffic and “Party on Park” will have themed events from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with live music and local business specials. June 16th will be “Bark on Park” with pets welcomed. July 21st will be “Bike on Park” with children invited to patriotically decorate their bikes for a bike parade.

August 18th a walking tour re-enactment of the Castle Shannon Bank Robbery of 1917 is being planned with vignettes at noted stops. The story would be a good documentary film, and the story is available on the borough website. More information will follow.

For National Library Week, Ms. Myrah and a staff member distributed 94 goody bags to riders at the transit stop.

Library staff is working on the summer reading program. The adult theme is “Build a Better World”.

Keystone Oaks Summer Program will provide lunches for children from June 12th to August 11th at the library.

The board is working on a tutoring policy.

Editorial Board:
Nothing to report.

The board meeting will be held this Thursday evening.

Municipal Associations:

Allegheny County Boroughs Association:
Quarterly meeting will be June 9th.

Allegheny League of Municipalities:
Nothing to report.

Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs:
Nothing to report.

South Hills Area Council of Governments:
Nothing to report.

Police Pension/Non-Uniformed Pension:
Nothing to report.

Junior Council Person:
Mr. Mastandrea is working on the SADD both for Community Day. Keystone Oaks High School held their prom on May 19th, and the last day of school will be June 9th.

Engineer's Report:
Nothing to report.

Manager's Report:
Nothing to report.

Mayor's Report:
Mayor Baumgarten will be attending the Keystone Oaks Senior Recognition dinner.

In addition, Mayor Baumgarten thanked the audience for their participation and comments.

Planning Commission:
Council received the minutes of the May 15, 2017 meeting and thanked Mr. McKibben for submitting them so promptly.

Solicitor's Report:
Nothing to report.

Keystone Oaks:
Nothing to report.

Zoning Hearing Board:
Nothing to report.

Mr. Kirsch stated he is looking forward to seeing Mayor Baumgarten “incarcerated” at the borough’s community day “jail” booth. Money raised for his release will be donated to the Castle Shannon Youth Association.


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