Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Mt. Lebanon commissioners have agreed to postpone rezoning a former school and group home for development because dozens of residents from neighboring Brookline want to weigh in on the project’s potential effect on their neighborhood.
Green Development Inc. and Oxford Development are seeking multi-family mixed residential zoning for the eight-acre site of the former DePaul School for Hearing and Speech. The developers would build 60 townhouses and 60 apartments for senior citizens.
People packed the commission’s chambers on Tuesday, worried that the development would create traffic, crime and utility problems that could spill across Dorchester Avenue and the Mt. Lebanon border into the Pittsburgh neighborhood.
The property, vacant since The Bradley Center moved out in 2007, sits on a hill above McNeilly Road on the Mt. Lebanon side and Dorchester Avenue on the Brookline side. Another corner abuts Dormont.
“If it doesn’t turn out the way you think it’s going to turn out, it’s only going to affect a handful of Mt. Lebanon residents,” said Brookline resident Dan Dugan. “It may be in your township, but it’s our neighborhood.”
Downtown-based Oxford Development proposed using federal tax credit programs to build subsidized apartments for seniors. Project Manager Ben Kelley said the tax credits mean age restrictions and background checks for residents for 15 to 30 years, but many neighbors think subsidized apartments would bring crime to the area.
“The person applying for the apartment might be a senior citizen, but who are they bringing with them?” said neighbor Maria Bellamy.
Others worry about traffic on Dorchester and Castlegate avenues, runoff from site development, the possibility of mine subsidence, or that other uses could come with rezoning.
Commissioners said rezoning starts the planning for a development, but they decided to table the request. People living within 200 feet of the property and those who spoke at the meeting will be notified of meetings about the project, said Mt. Lebanon planner Keith McGill.
Matthew Santoni is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.