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Sewickley Zoning Board to Hear Presbyterian Church Appeal

The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the municipal building.

Sewickley's Zoning Hearing Board will hold a public hearing tonight to consider an appeal from the  regarding plans involving the pink house property.

Michael Parrish, attorney representing the church, filed an appeal to the zoning officer's decision last month, also requesting relief from the borough ordinance.

The hearing begins at 7:30 p.m. in the municipal building.

Church officials are hoping to proceed with plans to unify two residential-zoned lots between Beaver and Thorn streets for the purpose of either renovating the pink house at 202 Beaver St. or building a new youth center at the site, according to a notice of appeal.

Nancy Watts, zoning and code enforcement officer, said the youth center and parking lot are both “accessory uses,” and must be unified on the same lot as the “principal structure,” which is the church. Watts told the planning commission last month that the church has to unify all three lots.

Parrish, however, said the youth center is a place of assembly and should be classified as a principal use, too.

The zoning board can issue a variance and provide the church additional relief for setbacks, lot lines and other requirements that would put existing structures in violation by unifying lots.

Plans for the youth center cannot proceed until the lots are properly unified. The church submitted two proposals to the borough that involve renovating the existing structure or demolishing the house and building new as an alternative option.

Following a public outcry to save the pink house, the church governing board agreed to preserve the mid-1800s home for a youth and education center. Church officials say the final plan depends on borough approvals.

The Plans

In addition to a youth center, plans include demolishing the existing White House and relocating the playground on church property over to the youth house. A parking lot with a total of 48 parking spaces has been proposed along with walkway lighting, two rain gardens to deal with stormwater runoff and additional landscaping buffers. 

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