HERMITAGE, PA. Planners oppose request to develop land along freeway

A public hearing on the zoning plan is planned for Nov. 20 in city hall.
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- Hermitage Planning Commission says the city shouldn't rezone 14.6 acres of office building district and residential land to central commercial to allow for retail development along the Shenango Valley Freeway.
The commission voted Monday to recommend rejection of the rezoning request filed by Heritage Development Co. of Moreland Hills, Ohio.
Commission members feel there is already sufficient undeveloped and underdeveloped central commercial land in the city and more isn't needed, said Marcia Hirschmann, city director of planning and zoning.
The recommendation now goes to the city board of commissioners, which must make the final decision.
The city commissioners will hold a public hearing on the matter at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20.
The request: Heritage presented the rezoning request to the city in September, asking that the land near the southwest corner of the Shenango Valley Freeway and state Route 18 be rezoned for commercial use.
Company spokesmen have told the city that Heritage has no specific tenants in mind for the site.
The company has offered to provide a 180-foot wide buffer zone along Morefield Road and a 50-foot buffer along Koonce Road to separate those residential areas from the project site.
Heritage has also promised not to have any access driveways off Morefield Road but to limit all driveways to the freeway and Route 18.
Those promises have appeased some homeowners in the area, but others still oppose the proposed project, saying it will create more traffic, cause noise and light pollution, raise safety concerns and generally damage the quality of life in their residential neighborhoods.
Two other developers have tried to get the same property rezoned for commercial use in the past, one in 1995 and the other in 1999, and both failed in the face of overwhelming residential opposition.

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