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Committee Kickoff Sparks Future Growth of Peters

Idyllic landscape, rural character, home building boom. Chosen community leaders plan to engage with the public on what's next for Peters Township.

Members of a convened Tuesday night at for the first of many meetings focused on the future of PT.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Planning Director Ed Zuk, regarding the initial meeting—part of a 14-month process.

By law, the municipality is required to update its plan every 10 years—according to the PA Municipalities Planning Code (PA MPC). 

Previously, eight Steering Committee members were chosen following an interview process, as well as two appointees from township departments.

Hired consultants and township officials led the conversation Tuesday with an overview of what a comprehensive plan is; why it’s important; their current approach; the vision and goals from the current (2001) plan; a list of issues and accomplishments; a project schedule; and strategy for engaging the community—which includes utilizing Patch.

So what it is YOUR vision for Peters? That’s exactly what committee members intend to decipher and discuss.

Committee members Bill Merrell; Marie Legowik, planning commission appointee; Tony Benintend; Lucy Shoupp; Dale Griffith; Robert Lewis, council appointee; and Lisa Browell, shared their experiences and backgrounds—a true melting pot, perfect for the collaborative effort.

Members Frank Yocca, Rocco Magrino and Howard Hlwati were absent.

Merrell, a school board member and lifetime Peters Indian, said he’s happy to take part in such a “fascinating process.” As did Legowik, a former Mt. Lebanon resident who speaks five languages and has lived throughout Europe.

Benintend, also a former Mt. Lebanonite, has a background in heavy construction. Shoupp, the former vice president of , has called Peters home for 25 years and said she looks forward to giving back to the community.

Forty-two-year resident Griffith said he’s looking forward to providing an outlook, and Lewis, council president, discussed his background in general contracting and his extensive knowledge of the area’s typography.

Browell, an associate broker with Century 21 who’s lived in the township for 20 years, called her niche: she’s typically the first point of contact for prospective buyers.

So what do THEY want to see?

  • A post office/zip code fix—the township has seven zip codes and the Canonsburg confusion would need remedied.
  • Commerce—where can you buy a necktie in Peters?
  • Not another bank or drugstore.
  • Connectivity—a strengthened sense of community, whether it be via beautifying the and simply connecting it to, say, on Valley Brook Road.
  • Maybe a transit service—Lewis estimated nearly a third of the community travels to Pittsburgh and back each day. (T services stop at Library and South Hills Village.)
  • An upgrade to the Route 19 corridor.
  • Making neighborhoods more interactive with a central place for gathering, which many already have.
  • Improved traffic circulation and road access—just to name a few.

Land Use Planner Grant Shiring addressed accomplishments from the current plan drafted in 2001, one of which is happening now—the . 

Shiring said the township succeeded in the building of start-up, multi-family homes, the implementation of a traffic impact fee and the completion of McMurray Towne Center—a project he said has potential for improvement. 

The evolution of and the construction of the Community Recreation Center were touted as part of the triumphant efforts, too.

And, of course the renown .

A key topic at Tuesday’s meeting was rural character—how does the township keep its idyllic landscape and continue to develop?

Some important issues noted from 2001 were increased traffic congestion, loss of active farm space, the need for more pedestrian access, lack of a formalized town center, lack of commerce in the eastern part of Peters and limited amount of diverse housing.

The consultants, including representatives from Grand Rapids, MI, Baltimore, MD and Covington, KY, with the committee’s input, plan to survey residents soon.

To engage the public, a series of workshops will be held. Social media, focus groups and product designs will also bring this project to life and into residents’ homes.

It should be noted, the comprehensive plan is not a legally binding document—the ultimate goal is for it to lead to updates in the zoning code, which will lead to changes. 

Questions? Contact Grant Shiring at 724-942-5005 or landuseplanner@peterstownship.com.

So how would you define Peters? What do you want to see? How does the school district come into play? Your involvement is valued. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

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Anthony Brown July 18, 2012 at 02:55 PM
PLEASE look at finding a way to start connecting / sidewalking the rt 19 corridor. I see highlights above that seem to allude to that potential - and it is sorely needed. With 2 of the members above noted as former Mt. Lebanon residents- this priority would seem to be clear. I am impressed every time that i pass through Mt Lebanon with the inter connectivity of the commerce and the foot traffic of the citizenry. This encourages health, communication and business- with a true neighborhood feel. Beats the heck out of strip mall islands that are individual destinations. Also- if we could find a way to connect that traffic to the Arrowood/Montour trail- BONUS. Hopefully the trail connector at Valleybrook Rd will be a consideration when that intersection is re engineered. A good place to start would be the new hospital complex across from Donaldsons Crossroads. If we could have done this 10 years ago (with all the new and remodel projects that have occurred the past decade) we would be a long way down this path- pun intended. .
PA Mom July 18, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Wait, the Center Church plan was drafted over a decade ago and is just now, in 2012, being implemented? It seems to me that the traffic pattern in that area has changed significantly within the past ten years. Sorry if I am misreading that.
Roger July 19, 2012 at 11:54 PM
We moved here nearly 38 years ago. I think Valley Brook Rd (between Rt 19 and Dairy Bar) is about the same now as 38 years ago, but with a much heavier traffic load. Frankly, I am amazed at the lack of more accidents with the traffic and road condition. I think there is going to be more needs for condensed housing, with plans such as Prestonwood. The population is aging, and people want to move from their single-family dwellings, two stories, to one-floor living, and without having to maintain a house. People will have to move from Peters to find these kinds of living arrangements. Can we say "stop" to more recreational facilities, please?
Cash August 21, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Can we not increase millage to fund this! How about reassesing the existing homes. There are thousands of residents living in $400,000 to 500,000 homes paying $2,000 a year in taxes while new homeowners that have built homes in the last 7 years pay $9,000. Raising taxes has to stop..have everyone pay their fair share !

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