HCB Foundry gives South Strabane an offer they could not refuse

Natalie Reid Miller
Observer Reporter

A developer that recently filed a lawsuit against South Strabane extended an olive branch Tuesday, ultimately ceasing litigation against the township.

Jonathan Kamen, an attorney representing HCB Foundry, told supervisors his client would rather “put money toward the township instead of legal fees.”

In order to end the land-use appeal, filed Aug. 15 in Washington County Court, supervisors approved a waiver request from HCB to develop a mid-rise apartment complex on a 12-acre pad in the Old Mill retail site.

As part of the agreement, HCB agreed to a traffic mitigation fee of $100,000 to make improvements at the intersection of Berry and Manifold roads, an access point for the complex. The company also agreed to dedicate a portion of the first floor to community space and develop a green space adjacent to the building for apartment residents.

Supervisors denied the waiver July 20 on the basis the zoning ordinance requires the first floor of such a development be used for office or retail space. HCB requested that condition be waived because the difference in elevation from existing Old Mill retail space to the apartment development would make viable retail a challenge.

The traffic mitigation fee, to be paid when the first building permit is issued, addressed supervisors’ and township residents’ concerns about the troublesome intersection, which has a steep approach from Berry to Manifold. Traffic engineer Michael Haberman said the solution is to build up 230 feet of Berry to make it even with Manifold.

The developer originally was denied a variance from the township’s zoning hearing board and later secured a recommendation from the planning commission. The site is in the C-2 commercial district.

Kamen said the complex will feature one- and two-bedroom upscale apartments.