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Commission Tables Vote on New Daycare Center

The Goddard School would like to expand to Upper St. Clair.

The Upper St. Clair Planning Commission last week voted to table the vote on a proposed zoning amendment to revise the definition of a daycare center.

The Goddard School would like to demolish the existing house at 1630 North Highland Rd. and build a daycare center.

The problem? The property is .994 acres and the existing law in Upper St. Clair requires 1 acre of land for a daycare center.

The landowner, Alex Bunson, will meet with township staff in the next month. The planning commission is expected to again take up the issue on Jan. 17.

The proposed new daycare center sits next to the existing KinderCare of Mt. Lebanon on North Highland Road.

Bob Santo, owner of the Goddard School in Peters Township, told planning commissioners in October that—if approved—the Goddard School in Upper St. Clair would likely have programs for infants through kindergarten.

Jim December 28, 2012 at 11:08 PM
The county assessment website shows that Mr Bunson's 2 parcels total 46413 square feet which when I went to school is more than an acre! acre equals 43560 sq. feet. Would the neighbor's properties be impacted any more by the Goddard School than by the Kindercare next door?? Sounds like someone is jealous that someone else is going to improve their property and make a buck or two! Maybe they feel entitled and think Mr. Bunson should "share" !
USC for me December 28, 2012 at 11:24 PM
It seems to me that there is no surprise here, the requirement is one acre. It isn't a one acre parcel. No one is trying to hold up anything, maybe someone is trying to avoid the rules that prohibit a daycare on a less than one acre property. I would think that would be the first regualtion you check on if considering a build. Frankly the loss of the beauty and history of the building is more concerning to me, but I understand that generally that is not regulated in USC but hope that somehow it could be saved or incorporated into future plans.
USC for me December 28, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Jim, you seem very familiar with the situation. Could you please share the addresses of the parcels? Do you know where the difference comes from? I think this could easily be resolved if you could explain where the difference comes from. I did think it was amusing that you implied that "sharing" was to be made fun of when we are talking about a day care.
Francis Kilinsky December 29, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Jim - Do a little homework before you make a stupid post. The Kindercare is in Mt. Lebanon and not in Upper St. Clair. The powers to be in Mt. Lebanon excluded any input from the surrounding property owners who lived in Upper St. Clair before they approved the building of Kindercare. As to your comment about "make a buck or two" Virginia Delmas and Alexander Bunson sold the property on which Kindercare sits for $1,000,000 on 7/22/08 to AEI Accredited Investor Fund VI LP. Virginia Delmas and Alexander Bunson jointly purchased the property on 12/30/94 for $160,000 which equates to a profit of $840,000 which in my book is more than a buck or two. To make matters even worse for the taxpayers of Allegheny County the Court Ordered Reassesment Value of that land which sold for $1,000,000 is $657,700. And on top of that the building value decreased from $1,729,900 to $1,088,800. Kindercare will be paying less property tax in 2013 than it paid in 2012.
Jim December 29, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Francis, Do you do nothing all day except post on the USC Patch?? Evidently you do because you have an opinion on almost every subject and comment quite regularly. And if someone doesn't think like you, you attack them and call them names and say that they are stupid. You are a real piece of work!! I am sure Oren would agree!! I did my homework, evidently you didn't COMPREHEND what you read on the website. The TWO parcels that Alex Bunson owns-1 by himself and one with Virginia equal more than an acre. This is enough for the daycare. The neighbors shouldn't have much input on what someone does with their property as long as it meets the zoning requirements. I think a new building (the proposed school) would benefit the neighbors - Real Estate Taxes, jobs, a place for the children. and it would look a lot better than a old yellow house and a vacant lot. Spending $160,000 and selling for $1,00,000 14 YEARS LATER IS A SMART MOVE. I GUESS YOU ARE JEALOUS THAT YOU AREN'T THAT SMART. YOU MUST NOT BE ABLE TO READ THE ASSESSMENT WEBSITE CORRECTLY-- THE KINDERCARE PARCEL IS $ 1,746,500 Current Full Market Value Court Ordered Reassessed Full Market Value Land Value $657,700 Land Value $657,700 Building Value $1,088,800 Building Value $1,088,800 Total Value $1,746,500 Total Value $1,746,500 SEE THE NEXT POST FRANNIE...
Jim December 29, 2012 at 01:32 AM
If you look a little closer Francis, you will find that the School District appealed the 2012 assessment which was 1,900,000. AND IT WAS LOWERED !! Do you really think that that building is worth $1,729,000 ?? Obviously it wasn't because it was lowered and the LAND value was raised. The School district appealed the 2012 assessment - maybe they thought it was too high? JUST KIDDING ! But seriously, the land at $657,000 is $326,402 per acre which is still considerably higher than it should be. Well Fran, it is time to go so you have a great evening keep commenting on every patch and newspaper article you read.
Francis Kilinsky December 29, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Jim - You sound like a shill for Bunson. By the way, the neighbors are entitled to input on what is proposed to be built on property abuting theirs if it infringes on their enjoyment of their property and would also result in the devaluation of their property.
Jim December 29, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Francis, Such a short reply, I quess because my facts are correct so who makes stupid posts now?? Not a shill at all. Unlike you who thinks the "haves" should share everything with the "have nots" (you) I see nothing wrong with a smart business person taking chances and being successful. Obviously Mr Bunson is smart and successful and you are just jealous of success- I can see it in all of your posts about businesses or politics or whatever. The intelligent people who have written the USC zoning codes over the years know all about property enjoyment and devaluation, that is why it is so difficult to do anything in USC. If the proposal meets the code then let him build it. Maybe you live behind there and are jealous that they don't need your property for the project... Remember nice new buildings generate a lot more TAXES and JOBS. More taxes to give more and more to the "have nots". But that is what you and your "messiah" want.
Francis Kilinsky December 29, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Jim - I just checked LawyerRatingZ for Alexander Bunson's ratings. These ratings are based on a best score of 5 (range: 1-5). Lawyers are rated on knowledge, communication, tenacity, work quality and value. Bunson received a 2 in knowledge, 1 in communication, 1 in tenacity, 1 in work quality and 1 in value for an average overall rating of 1.2. The rater's comments were, "If you need an attorney to represent you in an important matter look elsewhere."
Jim December 29, 2012 at 04:51 AM
there you go again just like a democrat when the subject matter gets too tough, and you realize you are outmatched, you change the subject. The discussion was about a proposal to build a building in Upper St Clair, not about how good the property owner is in his profession. You pissed and moaned about the effect on the neighborhood, and the real estate taxes of the adjoining property and the size of the lot just like you do about many of the other proposed projects in the area. Mr. Bunson is obviously very good at buying and selling real estate, and you must be JEALOUS!! You will never be successful if you don't take chances so quit the WalMart greeter job and go do something !!!!
M L spazok December 29, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Happy New Year! Yes, I definitely feel the neighboorhood impact must be of vital concern by the twp fathers. the current bldg sad to say it is in grave disrepair from the outside. that being said, I hate over development such as RTE 19 and Fort Couch. Glad my house is not in that perimeter. thanks to everyone for your insight.
Roger December 29, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Francis, my question was simple: Compliance or not? The answer has nothing to do with my full name, or my relationship with Mr. Bunson.
USC for me December 29, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Hi ML....could you explain the grave disrepair comment? The Pictures on Patch don't seem to reflect any disrepair. I have driven by there a few times recently and looked at the building and it seemed fine to me. In fact I thought it looked rather charming, and the coat of arms of Pennsylvania is quite impressive...wasn't this Senator Fulton's house?
Bob Santo December 29, 2012 at 03:24 PM
The two properties combined are .994 acres, not .944 acres. For a community that has not had a preschool/daycare proposed since this ordinance was written in the 1970s this is your chance to get an professional preschool in your own township. The school fits with all of the prescribed setbacks on that parcel, seems silly that for .006 acres that this project would be halted. The current ordinance is too strict, and needs slightly relaxed to allow residents a choice (without driving outside of USC) that is not a church-based daycare.
Francis Kilinsky December 29, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I just read the related topic "The Goddard School, 825 E. McMurray Road, Venetia, PA 15367." That school had 1 review written by Natalie Stevens. She gave it a 1 star rating where the best score is 5. Her comment was, "Zero start is more appropriate." Now why would anyone want to send their child to Goddard School after reading that review?
Francis Kilinsky December 29, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Bob - The residents can take their children to the Goddard School at 825 E. McMurray Road, Venetia, PA although after looking at the 1 star rating given it by Natalie Stevens who said "Zero star is more appropriate" I would have second thoughts about sending my children there!
Bob Santo December 29, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I'm not sure who Natalie Stevens is. We have never had a customer by that name, or even someone who visited for all that matter. Our school just won the Circle of Excellence Award, we are licensed by the PA Department of Education, and we are accredited by Middle States Association, who also accredited the USC high school. My guess is Natalie Stevens is a made up name by a competitor that is feeling the pain of our success.
Francis Kilinsky December 29, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Bob - the current ordinance is not too strict. It is reasonable and you are only attacking it because you want to expand you business. Upper St. Clair and the surrounding communities survived quite well without a professional(?) preschool and can continue to do so.
USC for me December 29, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Hi Bob, Congratulations on the award.Though I would take issue with the idea that existing preschools in the township are implied to not be professional. I know of a number of outstanding preschools in our community. Also it certainly is good to see the local churches taking interest in our youth and supporting our community, and our community supporting them in return. Are there any one acre parcels available in the township or could more property be acquired at the current location? It is too bad if the township sprung this on you at the last minute, usually I find them to be very upfront about such regulations. One would hope that this would be very clear in the process that one acre was needed
Francis Kilinsky December 29, 2012 at 04:56 PM
What is a "Circle of Excellence Award"? After reading Natalie Stevens' review of your operations I must ask - to whom and how much did you pay to obtain it?
Francis Kilinsky December 29, 2012 at 05:12 PM
USC for me - Bob Santo and Alexander Bunson could purchase the properties abuting the property at 1630 N. Highland Road but they want to do this on the cheap so Bunson can mazimize his profit on the sale of his property at 1630 N. Highland Road.
Bob Santo December 29, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Wow Francis, I'm not sure where your anger comes from. The Circle of Excellence Award is issued by Goddard to their very best franchisees across 7 different metrics. We had to be in the top 15% of each of those metrics to get the award. of the 450 franchisees, less than 20 got the award. One of those metrics is customer satisfaction, another is quality assurance. We would love for you to come to our school and take a tour. As I said before, we do not know who Natalie Stevens is. As you know, anyone can rate anything. Natalie Stevens left no review, just a score, another indication she is a fraud.
Jim December 29, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Francis is just to frustrated by anyone who is successful, look at how many people he has attacked in the last day on this subject. Bob, don't feel like it is just your proposed project, he pisses and moans about everything, just do a google search for Francis Kilinsky and patch and there are two pages of results. I am sure the Zoning Hearing Board would grant a variance for 262 square feet or .006 of an acre, Francis would be the only one there to object to it - but he might have to take a night off from Wal-mart to attend the meeting.
USC for me December 29, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Jim, I am not too sure about that variance...from what I have heard of the zoning board they tend to deal in square inches not square feet or portions of an acre. I have heard stories of a number of people having to make alternate plans due to various ordinances. These ordinances were in the spirit of maintaining the beauty that is Upper St. Clair, I wonder how those folks who had to change their plans would feel if someone got a variance when they did not? You have to remember that the township has a long history, and when it makes decisions it tries to look far into the future about the impact of those decisions. I think a number of people would wonder where the variance would end and would be concerned that it would be slippery slope.
Bob Santo December 30, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Hi USC for me, I'm sorry if you had interpreted my response as that we are the only professional preschool in the area. IMHO, I would stack our program up against anybody's. There is not a non-church based option in USC, and for those families that prefer the separation of "church and state", they are forced to go outside of USC to find it. I do not think it was USC's intent when they wrote the ordinance (in the 70's??) that the only preschools that would exist would be church based. But, because of the ordinance strictness, not one proposal has come forward in 40 years?? To me, that means the ordinance is constraining the ability to build and run a free-standing, private preschool.
Roger December 30, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Francis, there is undoubtedly a career for you in economic development and business management. You seem to have all the information for demographics of a business, how it should be managed, and any issues associated with real estate acquisition. Surely, there are many businesses in our area who would be very happy to employ you for your skills and experience in these areas. They would probably be willing to pay high fees for somebody with your insights into these kinds of matters. Bad decisions are costly, and you have shown readers of this thread how you could help a business owner to save these costs. I am sure you could be a valuable resource to the local business community.
Francis Kilinsky December 30, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Roger - Your very conservative estimation of my many abilities is spot on! If Alexander Bunson had the same abilities he would have exercised due diligence before purchasing the property at 1630 N. Highland Road. He would have discovered that during an intensive investigation of the Upper St. Clair zoning codes that neither a hotel or a day care center would be permissable on that property.
Duke December 30, 2012 at 04:34 PM
The Township of Upper St. Clair was founded in 1788 and in the 224 years of its existence has never had the need for a free-standing, private preschool.
SJB December 31, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Such a contentious subject, but here's my question - if privatized day care the desire for USC residents, what is the harm in driving another 100 feet to the Kindercare entrance? I understand its technically Mt. Lebanon, but again, since these options are not affiliated with the townships they reside in, I'm not sure I understand the hoopla.
KFP December 31, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Francis.......I live in USC and both of my children have attended Goddard School on McMurray Rd. Mr. Santos, his wife and their staff run a first-class child care and learning program. Based on my personal experiences with Goddard over a 3 year period with 2 children, I would give Goddard School top marks across the board. When my oldest started kindergarten at Streams this year, he went with a platform that I give alot of credit to Goddard for building. Notwithstanding the location, zoning, etc., if there is to be a new child care center built in USC, a Goddard School would be an asset to our Township.

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