Sewickley Zoning Board Denies Request for 'Pink House' Parking Spaces
Granted approvals relate to parking, driveway widths and property setbacks.
The Sewickley zoning hearing board has granted The Presbyterian Church of Sewickley several permissions while denying a key request involving parking at the historic property known as the "Pink House."
The zoning board unanimously approved its decision last week related to the repurposing 202 Beaver St. into a youth education center, specifically denying requests for 48 parking spaces above the required 43-space minimum.
In rendering the decision, James Eichenlaub, zoning chairman, said the church did not attempt to use other allowable provisions in the ordinance, such as bicycle racks or compact car parking. He said this would help further reduce the number of required parking spaces and provide a greater buffer yard in the rear than what was proposed, a second variance request that was also denied.
The church proposed an 8.7-foot buffer with landscaped trees and lighting, but the board required a 13-foot buffer. The board felt that green space, near the First Church of Christ Scientist, could be used for parking.
"The property can accommodate the additional parking needed by using a portion of a side yard that is currently proposed to remain as open space," he said.
Five variances granted relate to front yard parking, driveway widths and property setbacks, including permission to allow a 16-foot driveway for turning radius rather than the required 12-feet.
After the zoning board's decision, Michael Parrish, attorney for the church, confirmed that the church's second, alternative application to build a new place of assembly continues to be an option.
The church submitted two applications, one proposing to repurpose and the other to demolish the house and rebuild a single-story youth fellowship center in its place. Last year, church leaders purchased the three-story house with the intent to demolish it and build new, but later voted to preserve the home with financial help from the Save the Pink House group.
Church leaders said the location of the house on the lot creates a zoning hardship and the variances are necessary. A hearing took place in February and included testimony from church leaders and neighbors while the second application was continued as option "B".
Eichenlaub said the church can choose to re-examine its first application and resubmit drawings for zoning or borough council's consideration, or move onto the second application.
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