New Castle News

January 31, 2013

Wilmington Road gets more commercial zoning

Nancy Lowry
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — A 19-acre chunk of Wilmington Road is now zoned for commercial use.

The Neshannock Township supervisors approved the rezoning this week.

However, the change to the zoning map does not authorize developers to proceed with plans to create a medical care facility at 3020 Wilmington Road. The project first must receive conditional use approval from the supervisors.

Following a public hearing Tuesday, the supervisors unanimously approved the requested change, converting the property from a combination of commercial and R-1 residential to C-2 highway commercial.

The change was requested by Landsman Development Corp. of Rochester, N.Y., doing business as Community Practice Development II.

The partnership plans to develop approximately 19 acres by constructing a two-story, skilled nursing facility and in-patient rehab center with 80 to 85 beds, creating 150 jobs. An additional 200 jobs are anticipated through the construction phase of the project. Plans include an assisted living facility at the site later.

The property, owned by James P. Heidish of Arlington, Va., is surrounded on two sides by Castleview Memorial Gardens cemetery, a veterinary clinic to the north and two insurance companies across Wilmington Road, according to attorney Jonathan Solomon, representing the property owner and Nick Sica, a partner in Landsman Development. It is not spot zoning, he said.

Landsman has been in business for 40 years, Solomon noted, and developed Mayzon Health Center, a four-story facility behind a building owned by Dr. Elbert Acosta on Wilmington Road.

He pointed out the topography of the area is unique and the property could not be easily developed for residential use.

Sica said the area has been identified as a community in need of a specialized, skilled nursing care facility, such as he offers. “We are responsible developers,” he said.

“We believe this is the best, reasonable use of the property,” Solomon said, adding it will not interfere with residents’ enjoyment of their property.

However, seven township residents urged the supervisors to consider property values.

Harold Velie and Gordon Mooney, both of Eldogor Lane, asked for screening to block their view of the development.

Mooney added that other, flatter property exists in the township which would seem “more suitable and more accessible” for the project.

Suzanne Rearick of Sunset Drive and Fred Tanner of Wilmington Road expressed concern the development would create more traffic.

Linda Wagner, also of Eldogor Lane, urged the supervisors to respect current zoning because residents had purchased their homes with the expectation that would continue.

Karen and James Madison of Sunset Drive said they had bought their property “because it is private.”

James Madison added he has paved and maintained his unordained street for 20 years.

“Zoning is no contract, no promise that it will be there forever,” Solomon said, noting it develops as communities grow.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)