South Fayette approves new zoning district to apply to former Mayview site
The eventual development of the former Mayview State Hospital property has taken a step forward with the creation of a new South Fayette Township zoning designation.
Township commissioners on March 16 approved ordinances establishing a Neighborhood Design District, which provides for a mixture of residential and commercial uses, and amending the South Fayette zoning map to reclassify 81.331 acres along Mayview Road.
Commissioner Jessica Cardillo voted against both measures, which came at the request of developer Charter Homes and Neighborhoods of Lancaster. The company is proposing a mixed-use community called Hastings, to include about 620 dwelling units, according to information submitted to the township in 2015.
But, as township solicitor Jonathan Kamin pointed out, no one should look for construction to start anytime soon.
“I mean, we’re at the five-yard line, the other way. We have master plans, phasing plans, a lot of discussion to come in,” he said, noting about the zoning change: “All this does is set the rules within which, now, all of the development has to come through, and that’s a normal process that will play itself out over, my guess is, several years.”
The Hastings proposal has generated concern among South Fayette Township School District officials about the ramifications of an influx of students from the development. For example, an economic analysis prepared by the district estimates a $4 million shortfall in revenue generated by the development vs. additional expenses created.
By contrast, Econsult Solutions Inc., a Philadelphia economic development consultant, prepared a report for Charter Homes estimating a positive net impact of nearly $1.8 million.
To attempt to reconcile the disparity, the township hired Fourth Economy Consulting of the North Side to conduct an analysis, which puts the impact at $1.05 million in the black. The consultant applied information from both the school district and Econsult analyses, plus another report prepared on behalf of Newbury, another South Fayette mixed-use development.
“The approach we took was to use the existing estimates and create additional models for the impact, to provide a range of potential estimates where we would be able to look at different assumptions,” Jerry Paytas, Fourth Economy vice president of research and analytics, told commissioners in presenting the report.
“In making any sort of forecast or prediction for the future, your results are going to be highly dependent on what you’re assuming in terms of the revenue generated, the number of students and the cost per student,” he continued. “We thought if we have these four estimates, it will provide us a range, a boundary, in which we know the truth lies somewhere in there.”
William Newcomer, school board president, attended the commissioners’ meeting and expressed hope that school and township officials can work together to address future South Fayette development.
“It is more than just this plan,” he said about Hastings. “There are plans going in right and left in this community.”
The school district’s enrollment continues to grow by an average of 100 students annually and now stands at 3.054, according to Superintendent Billie Rondinelli. As a result, the district has undertaken several expansion projects, with the high school currently in the works.