Comprehensive Plan must address needs of all South Fayette residentsPublished Jan 7, 2013 at 11:52 am (Updated Jan 7, 2013 at 11:52 am)
It seems that with all the renewed attention being given to the Southern Beltway Project again from our local legislators, Rep. Jesse White, Sen. Tim Solobay and others, you think you would hear something from the local officials from South Fayette Township.
South Fayette will receive a full interchange within their boundaries, with direct access to Routes I-79, Route 22 & 30, and then onto the airport and other major interstate routes connecting to West Virginia and Ohio. As stated in recent news articles and press releases, this Beltway Project has been in the planning process for many years, and with the cooperation and insight of many local landowners/developers and elected officials, it finally has a clear and present future. South Fayette will be the beneficiary of an interchange near its western border just as it received an interchange 45+ years ago when I-79 cut a corridor through our township. Who would have known then what the Bridgeville/South Fayette Interchange would mean to the area? It spurred much needed economic development despite objections by some residents and officials at the time.
Look south along the I-79 corridor and it is evident to the average person what the Southpointe Interchange has created in terms of economic development for Cecil Township. Road projects not only create construction jobs while they are being built, but sustain construction jobs long after they are completed, with continued build-out of areas surrounding interchanges and major highway corridors.
At this point, any local municipality, especially considering our current economy, would give anything to have not only a major highway corridor passing within their borders, but also a full interchange, with access to thousands of acres of vast, mostly undeveloped property. What does South Fayette do? They want to adopt a new Comprehensive Plan that would severely limit any type of development in the western half of the township.
Yes, the same area which will be the site of a full interchange along the much needed Southern Beltway. In August 2008, while local developers and elected officials were continually putting pressure on the Turnpike Commission to bring this project to fruition, South Fayette elected official, Mr. Deron Gabriel, is quoted as saying, “The Southern Beltway will create better access to the airport and we’re in the middle of trying to create a better commercial development environment here. This beltway project could really open up the township for commercial opportunities and open up our tax base.” Given Mr. Gabriel’s previous quote, we are becoming extremely concerned as to what the township’s motive is for pushing a Comprehensive Plan that would severely limit development in this corridor.
Now is the time for local, regional and state officials to seize the opportunity being afforded our area and capitalize on the future economic benefits that many other municipalities are already receiving. Our local government, along with many others, is feeling the affects of the economic downturn. It appears that South Fayette Township is looking for revenues to help with much needed capital improvements/expenditures for public works, police department and numerous much needed road improvement projects. With some common sense thinking, there are many ways to generate tax revenues for the township and school district alike. Why, at this time, would you want to put a Comprehensive Plan in place that will guide the township’s future and would severely limit or eliminate commercial development in areas of the proposed beltway corridor?
If this Comprehensive Plan is to be used as a guide to our future, and bring real benefits to our local taxing bodies, then it appears much more work is needed to achieve the best results. Let’s put together a Comprehensive Plan that addresses the needs of all the residents and property owners and give everyone an opportunity to prosper along with our economic growth, whether it comes from commercial development, development of natural resources, retail development or residential development. Opportunity is knocking. Let’s answer the door before it leaves, and we will all wonder what happened.
John Alan Kosky