Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ross officials give OK to HEARTH development...

After being sued in Federal court in regards to denying HEARTH'S affordable housing development last month, Ross Township commissioners approved the plans earlier this week to avoid the lawsuit. While it came to no surprise that HEARTH sued the township, this Tattler is surprised commissioners backed down so quickly.

From the Post-Gazette:

Ross commissioners have offered to settle a dispute with developers of an affordable housing plan proposed on Rodenbaugh Avenue.

Commissioners voted Monday night to approve the controversial project if the developers withdraw their federal lawsuit charging the township with housing discrimination.
As an added incentive, they offered to pay for paving a widened street where the developers seek to build 11 townhouse units.

From the McKnight Journal:

Ross commissioners approved the HEARTH at Benet Woods complex Monday night by a 5-2-1 vote.

Commissioners Dan DeMarco, Chris Eyster, Peter Ferraro, David Mikec and Grace Stanko voted in favor of the plan. Dan Kinross and Grant Montgomery dissented.

Commissioner Gerald O'Brien, who represents ward the complex will be erected in, abstained.

While O'Brien abstained most-likely because he did not vote on the original plan, he should've cast a vote because this is happening in his ward. If I lived in that area, I would be livid with O'Brien over this.

This is not the first time commissioners have opted against a development that would be approved through a settlement. A few years ago, a plan to build a women's fitness center at the corner of Thompson Run and Sangree Roads was originally denied. After a lawsuit was waged, a settlement was reached and today that eyesore sits in a primarily residential area.

While it would be nice for Ross Commissioners to stand up for their original votes, this Tattler believes there was no way Ross Township could be successful in court. While many of you may not agree with this Tattler about the prospects of the case, commissioners made the right choice on Monday because they avoided further legal expenses that would ultimately come out of the taxpayer's pocket.

Even though plans have now been approved, there are still ways to deal with this development as neighbors and township residents. I can't see this working out well for HEARTH without community support and hopefully they are wise enough to recognize that an olive branch must be put out to their neighbors.

Working to keep you posted...


Anonymous said...

Not only have the commissioner's caved in to a lawsuit, but they will give concessions. Ross taxpayers will pay to widen the street and pave it according to the McKnight Journal.
TERK also is given a free pass on not having to install a water quality inlet also according to the McKnight Journal.
I don't think any of us would except an Olive Branch.
If they cause trouble the police will be called.
If the land slides and or water run off damages properties, a lawyer will be called.
If one of the kids that will live in this developement are struck by a car because of the narrow street and no sidewalks, we will be there when there attorney comes around to tell them we warned them. We told you so.

Anonymous said...

I heard TREK in their lawsuit stated the commissioner's had undo pressure placed on them by the cumunity. Isn't it the right of citizens who vote for them to let their wishes be known as to how they want them to vote on a subject. I thought that was called democracy.
We called commissioners, did a petition drive of Ross residents, and showed up at the various meetings and spoke. How is that undo pressure. That is us exercising our rights.
Do you think this lawsuit filed by TREK caused undo pressure to influence the commissioners?
OH bye the way, Lisa Bennington never even sent a representative to any of the meetings. Matt Drodz was to busy to attend after the first meeting. Dan Onorato sent reps. to the first meeting at St. Benedicts, which was a laugh since they had already committed $640,000 to this project.

Anonymous said...

I heard it says in the lawsuit against Ross Township that there is a need for over 5,000 of the (affordable housing units) in the 14 north hills communities.
Communities stated where there is a need is Emsworth, Marshall, Kilbuck, Ross, Ohio Township, Westview, Bellvue, Ben Avon and the Heights, Avalon, McCandless, Franklin Park, Shaler, Reserve and Pine.
I guess Ross Township will be the first of these communities to have this affordable housing thanks to the commissiomer's.
I applaud HEARTH in such a worthy endeavor. I may need one of these places one day.

Stupid Ross Twp. Taxpayer said...

Attention all residents of the above listed communities. Ross Twp. commissioners have opened the door to all low income housing in your communities. I am sure it is just a matter of time before Trek Development will find property and get government money(our tax dollars) to build $160,000.00 Town Houses. Their rent will be less than we pay in real estate taxes per month. I guess it pays to screw up your life and then get to live in a expensive home for free.

Anonymous said...

If I were to buy a $170,000 town house, it would cost me about $1,700 a month for mortgage payment, taxes, utilities, and insurance to live in the house. They will pay allegedly $600 to $900 a month.
Our tax dollars are paying to build these and our tax dollars will be paying to keep them their. This is a cash cow that will never stop mooing.