South Fayette approves zoning changes for Bursca property
The South Fayette commissioners approved an ordinance that would allow for the rezoning of the Bursca Frontgate property that abuts Freedom Drive South from business to commercial.
The vote during the township’s May 10 meeting comes after a request from developer Jim Scalo to postpone the board’s decision until after he was able to address residents’ concerns.
Scalo told the board and concerned residents living on Freedom Drive South that he has been in talks with a grocery store for the property, but that no official plans for the site development have been made. Residents addressed Scalo and the commissioners with concerns regarding light pollution, traffic congestion and the potential sounds and smells that commercial development can bring.
The board approved the ordinance with a 2-1 vote, with Commissioner Jessica Cardillo voting against the motion and Commissioner Lisa Maslosh and board President Joseph Horowitz absent. The vote represented a majority of the quorum at the meeting.
“All we ask is you hold Mr. Scalo responsible for what he promised the residents of the neighborhood,” Gary Fromholzer, a resident of Freedom Drive who has been actively addressing the board at meetings. “Just hold him to his word.”
In a meeting with residents, Scalo assured them that he would work closely with the neighborhood to address their concerns and that he want to build in the best interest of the area.
The commissioners also heard comments last night from Mark Godfrey, a representative of the Oak Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, regarding the replacement of the social hall that he says the township is preventing.
Godfrey claims that the board approved demolition of the building, which had structural issues, and to have it rebuilt at the August 2016 meeting. He says now that the township is preventing the new building from going up, for reasons he said have not been explained.
“Now for some unknown reason, since August, the commissioners will not let us put the building up,” Godfrey told the board. “It is sitting in storage. It’s done. It’s complete. And we’re paying for storage on this building. We don’t know why. Nobody will answer us.”
Godfrey said the storage has already cost the fire department $15,000 in lost rentals, by his closest estimation. And without the social hall, he says the fire department is unable to perform its function as an emergency shelter.
“We are a certified Allegheny County emergency relief shelter,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to do that when there’s no building there.”
The absence of the social hall does not impact the fire department’s ability to respond to fires, however. The board offered no comment to Godfrey’s concerns.