Upper St. Clair commissioners hear wave of flooding issues

Published Aug 5, 2014 at 9:30 am (Updated Aug 5, 2014 at 10:30 am)

The Upper St. Clair board of commissioners regular meeting on August 4 was almost entirely about stormwater.

Two projects which have been held in their current state for months finally received preliminary approval following a torrent of questions from homeowners and attorneys representing adjacent properties to the proposed developments.

Developers looking to split up six acres into five residential housing units along Shenandoah Drive got pre-approval for their plan after engineers submitted plans updated stormwater pipe infrastructure. The board voted unanimously after the developers presented plans to install two 48-inch pipes along Shenandoah Drive that they said would capture a majority of rainwater. The final plan is to be submitted Aug. 7.

In other business, the board voted 6-1 to approve amended final approval for the owners of Ardolino’s Pizza and their plan to build a new restaurant along Maple Drive off of Boyce Road. Commissioner Nicholas Seitanakis abstained and has recused himself for all future considerations of the proposal because he is an employee of the law firm representing Ardolino’s. The board’s approval came after a series of questions from attorney Sandy B. Garfinkel, representing the tenants at St. Clair Plaza adjacent to Ardolino’s.

“Flooding in May and July 2013 is a concern here. The stormwater plan for this development was made in January 2012 and hasn’t been changed. We have concerns that the plan, with a new impervious surface (parking lot), the plan is not adequate to prevent excessive water from flowing onto my clients’ properties,” he said. “We had nearly a half million dollars in damages last year.”

Addressing each development project, commissioner Russell Del Re said he knows everyone’s frustrations, but development can only make things better, not worse, for stormwater management.

“Nature is going to take over at some point – come hell or high water. Last year, we had nearly two inches of rain in an hour in July. I was flooded. Residents who were never flooded before were washed out. We can do all we can do as a township, but if it’s that much, any system is not going to handle that.”

The board also approved updated language to the flood ordinance as required by FEMA before a September deadline.

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