Municipal Planner: Ian McMeans
efore any Mt. Lebanon development project larger than the building of a single-family home can begin, developers must secure approval from the planning office to ensure the project meets the requirements of the applicable ordinances.
The office is responsible for reviewing plans and shepherding developers through the initial stages of the planning process to ensure compliance with the zoning code.
The planner works closely with the municipal engineer, building inspection, economic development and commercial districts offices to review plans for development.
Once plans are submitted, they go before a five-member volunteer planning board that grants preliminary approval and recommends final approval to the Commission. Projects then must receive permits from the building inspector to begin construction. The office typically receives plans for a few large-scale projects and many smaller projects a year. It also oversees the moving of property lines and studies done to determine long-term goals for Mt. Lebanon’s future.
NEW A proposed residential project on Pennsylvania Boulevard is currently under review. The planning board recommended final approval for the Residences at Poplar project, which would construct five duplexes—10 total dwellings—on the dead-end portion of Pennsylvania Boulevard. As part of the land development plan, the developer will improve the roadway of Pennsylvania Boulevard to meet municipal standards from the intersection with Poplar Avenue to the dead end in front of the development. The next step in the process is for the project to appear before the Commission for a vote on final approval before submitting application for building permits.
NOTEWORTHY On the land development front, the Castlegate Green project is currently under construction. The property at 2904 Castlegate Avenue is being developed by The Community Builders, Inc., and will have 51 residential rental units and an on-site management office. The units will consist of both townhomes and garden apartment-style buildings. The development utilizes the “agrihood” concept with spaces for community gardens.
The Commission accepted the planning board’s recommendation for a plan to redevelop the site at 315 Cochran Road. First National Bank is developing the front half of the property, closest to Cochran Road, for a retail banking location. The rear half of the property will be converted to green space until a development plan is submitted for that area.
NEED TO KNOW The current focus of the planning office is updating the municipal comprehensive plan. A comprehensive plan sets the goals and objectives of the municipality for the next decade and provides a guide for long-term capital investments. The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code recommends that local governments update their comprehensive plans every 10 years. Mt. Lebanon’s 2013 Comprehensive Plan, Elevate Mt. Lebanon, was a tremendous success with 95 percent of the goals and objectives accomplished. The updated plan should be finalized by December 2023. There will be many opportunities throughout the rest of this year for the public to participate in the planning process. Visit AscendLebo.com for updates and opportunities for public input as we work on compiling the goals for our next comprehensive plan.