A tale of two townships
Like every other municipality in Pennsylvania, Peters Township and South Fayette Township are working on new comprehensive plans, following the results of the 2010 Census. The plans address changes in demographics, including zoning ordinances. That’s perhaps the only similarity between the township leaders’ views on their comprehensive plans.
Peters Township has hired Grant Shiring, land use planner, to head their comprehensive plan. The township also hired a professional consultant team at a cost of $157,000 for the 14 months it will take to complete the project. Shiring is providing additional support to the consultant team, while leading the township’s efforts in formulating the comprehensive plan.
Seminars have been announced to address the area’s growth, allowing residents to have their voices heard. Shiring takes these seminars so seriously that he called them “the most important event of the [comprehensive plan] project.” A full-color brochure on the seminars depicts a field and woods, as well as recent developments inside (and outside of) the township, which we take to mean that the township not only welcomes future growth, but will do all that it can to attract new residents and businesses to the area.
South Fayette, on the other hand, doesn’t seem too thrilled about the prospect of economic development. Surveys were sent to only about a third of township residents, and of those, only 11.8 percent were returned. Residents have criticized township officials as pushing for a plan that would severely limit economic development, particularly in the Southern Beltway corridor. Residents are also opposed to the Rural Conservation district in the plan, which calls for two blocks of land along the southwest border of the township to be designated as “Rural Conservation,” and a small parcel of land west of the township would be “Rural Residential,” prompting those who attended the Jan. 9 public hearing on the plan to state that the township is more concerned about residential development than economic development.
Populations will continue to grow, making additional residential development in any area necessary. But, if residential development is taking place, commercial development needs to take place, too. Additional shopping centers, gas stations, libraries, hospitals, et cetera, et cetera will become necessary. Traffic surveys and road expansion will be part of that.
Peters Township seems to be all in when it comes to its future and the very real possibility of growth. We hope that South Fayette will be, too. Not only do residents need these plans in place, but the local economies do, too.