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Bedner's Farm: 'It Is Going To Be Developed'

Heartland Homes President Marty Gillespie told residents at the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Department Wednesday night that the Bedner's Farm property 'is going to be developed,' but 'the question is what's the best way?'

The team behind the proposed Bedner Farm development held a public informational meeting at the on Wednesday night.

More than 50 Bridgeville residents and at least one resident attended the meeting.

"What I want to point out is that it is going to be developed. The question is what's the best way?" said Marty Gillespie, president of Heartland Homes.

He went on to tell residents that a Bower Hill Road connection, , is not going to be made.

"We've had numerous meetings with Upper St. Clair Township and it's just not going to happen," he said.

Gillespie said the land along Bower Hill Road have slopes with more than a 40 percent grade. In the Upper St. Clair ordinance, he said, a street is not allowed to have more than a 12 percent grade.

"We're not going to be able to put a road over the cliff," he said. "We're not going to ask Upper St. Clair to rewrite their ordinance."

Disturbing hills with more than a 40 percent grade can cause landslides, he said.

"We're not going to accept that liability," Gillespie said. "Upper St. Clair wouldn't accept the street.

"On top of that we don't own the land by or ."

And Gillespie made clear the developers had absolutely no intention of buying any additional land along Bower Hill Road.

"Then I assume any of the modifications that Heartland Homes wants to do with lot sizes and all of that are null and void because you want to follow the Upper St. Clair ordinances and guidelines, right?" said Cathy Manalo of Upper St. Clair.

"No, that's incorrect," Gillespie said.

"So what you get modifications for what you want to get modifications for, but you don't want modifications for what you don't want modifications for," Manalo said.

Gillespie said the developers are ready to move forward with one of two plans. The first involves creating a new main entrance on Cook School Road across from Waterford Court and having Scarlett Drive as the second entrance. The second plan would incorporate a third entrance on Main Street.

"The Main Street connection is not our prerogative," Gillespie said. "It's not because we really want it (a Main Street connection)."

Gillespie implied it was more about Upper St. Clair's desire to have a route for traffic to get to and from Bower Hill Road, including emergency vehicles.

Residents asked what would happen if Bridgeville made Main Street a one-way road, or simply put up a jersey barrier.

Manager Lori Collins said she has clearly expressed Bridgeville's negative view on the Main Street connection to Upper St. Clair officials. However, she said, Bridgeville must be ready for any repercussions if Bridgeville chooses to prevent a Main Street connection to be made.

"How much money will it cost and can we afford that," she said, implying there could be a lawsuit. "If Bridgeville Council takes the stance not to open Main Street, improvements in other areas of the borough may have to stop. You've got people in different neighborhoods that have different opinions."

Chuck Wooster, of David E. Wooster and Associates, Inc., presented the traffic study performed in July 2011 for the developer at the meeting.

Despite the crowd's objection to conducting a traffic study in the middle of vacation season and when there was no school, Wooster said doing a study in July meant about five percent more traffic on the roads than an average day.

He said the study was reviewed and approved by Upper St. Clair's traffic engineer at Trans Associates, essentially a competitor of David E. Wooster and Associates, Inc.

The study examined traffic one hour during morning rush hour and one hour during evening rush hour. He said the study showed there would be 27 vehicles entering and 80 vehicles leaving the neighborhood during one hour of morning rush hour and 89 vehicles entering and 52 vehicles exiting during one hour of the evening rush hour.

"Not everyone goes to work and comes home in the same hour," Wooster said.

If built, about 30 percent of the neighborhood traffic would use the Main Street connection. A Main Street connection, he said, would put less demand on Ridge Road.

He said the Bedner Farm neighborhood traffic would double traffic in the area—an increase from one car every two minutes to one car every one minute—which is still not a lot of traffic.

However, Wooster did repeat several times that a traffic signal is needed at the intersection of McLaughlin Run and Bower Hill Roads and has been needed for quite some time.

Bridgeville residents at the meeting said the residential roads like Main Street, Ridge Road and Mill Street aren't in good enough shape to be able to handle the additional traffic.

"On Main Street, there are 43 single-family homes and one group home, no sidewalks and on-street parking. On Mill Street, there are 49 single-family homes," said Cee Cee McNulty of Bridgeville.

Bridgeville residents also expressed concerns about flooding. Kim Gales, the engineer representing the developer, assured them that the Upper St. Clair ordinance has changed since the flooding occurred during the Fox Chase neighborhood developments.

Ultimately, the Upper St. Clair commissioners will decide whether there will be a Main Street connection or not. The public hearing will continue at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 5 at the off of Mayview Road.

Heartland Homes and J.T. Thomas Homes are proposing to build 136 single-family homes on the Bedner Farm estate in the price ranges of $300,000 to $1 million.

Do you think there should be a Main Street connection or not? Tell us in the comments.

Duquesnekid a.k.a. "The Dude" February 23, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Absolutely Not. If the land at that potential opening at Main St. is owned by Bridgeville how is it up to Upper Saint Clair to decide?
Nancy Page February 24, 2012 at 03:29 PM
What a beautiful farm this is. So peaceful to see. So sad that there is such angst. If only it was put into farm preservation. It could them be enjoyed by many and bring great joy. Shame on those who can only think of $$$ and the cost of development to the environment and neighbors means nothing.
Mrs. McNulty February 29, 2012 at 04:41 PM
The developer is not willing to purchase more land along Bower Hill Rd to facilitate a connector road and stated at the Bridgeville meeting that USC will not allow allow a road to be built from Bedner Farm to Bower Hill Rd due to the hillside slope. At the last USC meeting the board told the developer to re-visit a connector road to Bower Hill. So, who is telling the truth? Is USC against building access roads for their residents on Cook School Rd? Why is it that all of the intersections leading out of the Cook School corridor have been listed for years as failing without USC taking action to correct the traffic situation. And why where Bridgeville residents told USC threatened to sue Bridgeville Borough if the end of Main Street is made into a park? Does USC really just want the tax dollars from the new homes without building proper connector roads? Do the USC residents realize their township wants even more traffic to enter and exit the Cook School area via the narrow streets of Bridgeville?
Bob Fryer May 28, 2013 at 03:11 PM
From :Bob Fryer, May 28, 2013 The residents and business owners in Bridgeville have suffered enough as a result of the huge, 40 year old traffic problem here, that has greatly obstructed the number of new tax rtevenue producing businesses moving into the commuity over that period of time, WHICH HAS GREATLY INCREASED THE TAX BURDEN ON THE RESIDENTS and THE SUCCESS AND PROFITS OF THE PRESENT BUSINESS OWNERS ! There is a far better alternate entrance and exit to the proposed Bedner development, other than Main Street thru Bridgeville, that has been carved out of the hill side between Bower Hill Road and the Bedner Farm plateau over the last 1000 years, by the stream directly behind the present Bedner Farm Market ! This access route therefore WOULD NOT VIOLATE THE UPPER ST. CLAIR TOWNSHIP RESTRICTION CONCERNING "TOO STEEP" ROADWAY GRADES ! The problem really is that the developer does not want to spend the extra funds building it, and would instead prefer to burden the residents of Bridgeville with even MORE TRAFFIC CONGESTION ! Incidentally, the proposed Main Street exit route from the Bedner development thru Bridgveille creates a clearly dangerous situationat the Bower Hill Road intersection ! I think if any lawsuits are viable, it would be one in which Bridgeville residents are the Plaintiffs and the Bedner Farm developer and Upper St. Clair township are the Defendants ! Bob Fryer, former Chairman of the Bridgeville Planning Commission.

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