NEW CASTLE Developer requests lifting restrictions

The county humane society wants to renew a 50-year lease for property it rents from the city for its shelter.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A contractor wants to put a home on land that the city has been trying to develop for years, but he needs a few restrictions lifted before work can begin.
Tom Tinstman of Tinstman Construction asked council members at Tuesday's caucus to amend covenant restrictions on 10 lots on Rose Avenue.
The property is owned by the city, but it once was the site of Rose Avenue Elementary School. City officials acquired the land and demolished the school. They have been trying to develop it for the past several years.
Reason for covenants: Council members said they created covenants to encourage the construction of single-family homes similar to those already in that area.
Tinstman said some of the requirements, however, would make it impossible for him to sell a home in the neighborhood price range.
He estimated the first home, a split-level structure with a two-car garage, would sell anywhere from $75,000 to $85,000.
Tinstman said his proposed changes include altering standards for bricklines, driveway width and other things.
"When you are building and you have to spend a few dollars here and a few dollars there, it adds up," he said.
Mayor Timothy Fulkerson encouraged council to consider the covenant changes.
"We have been looking for someone to build up there, and the price range he is in is good. We can get more people to move into the city," Fulkerson said.
Buying other lots: Tinstman also asked that he have the first chance to buy the other nine vacant lots on the street for future development.
Fulkerson said the 10 lots are each being sold for $4,200. The mayor explained that city officials set that price to recoup the $42,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding they spent demolishing the elementary school.
Council members expect to look at Tinstman's changes to the city covenants sometime later this month and make a decision.
Another plot: In other business, another plot of city-owned land will be considered by city council.
Lawrence County Humane Society has asked that the city renew a 50-year lease for its property on Pearson Mill Road. The lease expires on Dec. 31, said James Manolis, city solicitor.
The humane society has paid the city $1 per year for the property, he said.

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