USC gives proposed apartment complex the green light

Published Jul 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm (Updated Jul 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm)

Upper St. Clair Township Commissioners gave tentative approval July 1 for a plan to construct a 220-unit apartment complex off of Boyce Plaza Road.

Commissioners voted 6-0, with Commissioner Donald Rectenwald recusing himself from the matter due to a business conflict, to approve the plan known as Torrente at Upper St. Clair.

Developers Boyce Plaza Apartments L.P. nearly doubled the amount of money they had proposed to contribute to the township to add a traffic light and improve the intersection of Boyce Plaza Road and Boyce Road. Developers had been offering the cost of the traffic light alone, or about $214,000.

The final approval from the commissioners stipulates a $400,000 contribution.

Mark Magalotti, of the township’s traffic engineers Trans Associates, told commissioners July 1 that he estimated the total cost to roadway improvements, including the traffic light for the intersection, will be $693,986. He said that includes $479,000 for improvements to the roadway that adds a left-turn lane, as well as $214,986 for the new traffic light.

To make up the difference between the cost of improvements to the intersection and the contribution by the developers of the apartment complex, he proposed a chart showing possible costs that could be paid by current occupants of commercial properties on Boyce Plaza Road. The chart divided up the cost by percentage, based on the number of peak hour car trips generated by each property.

Scott Brilhart, director of community development for the township, said July 1 that a possible model for seeking funding for the intersection improvements was used by the township in getting a traffic light at Abbyville Road and Route 19. The township met with the various property owners and the traffic engineer and went over the benefits of improving the intersection.

Brilhart added that they could also apply for grants and help from PennDOT.

Matthew Serakowski, township manager, said it would be the township’s goal to have the improvements made to the intersection of Boyce Plaza Road and Boyce Road by the time the apartment complex was expected to be completed in 2015 – construction is expected to commence on the apartment complex this year.

As part of the tentative approval for the Torrente plan, Commissioners are allowing them to construct only 1.6 parking spaces per unit, instead of the two spaces per unit called for in township ordinances. The approval stipulates that if it becomes apparent that the additional spaces are needed, they will be required to be constructed by the developer.

At the initial public hearing on May 6, Kim Gales of J.R. Gales and Associates said the proposal is for four buildings with 30 units each, and five buildings with 20 units each.

She said the development is also proposed to have a clubhouse near the entrance to the complex, as well as trails, benches and a park area near Chartiers Creek, which abuts the property.

In other business July 1, commissioners granted approval for a liquor license transfer to the proposed Whole Foods Market at 1800 Washington Road from the Green Castle Cafe in Braddock, Pa.

Representatives from Whole Foods said a restaurant is planned within the store, which will seat 75 people inside and 70 people outside the store. They said a pub area is also planned, which will seat about 30 people. The store plans to offer mixed drinks, wine, draft beer and bottled beer. Representatives said the store has a 100 percent carding policy, so that anyone wishing to purchase alcoholic beverages will be required to present a valid photo identification.

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