The Citizens of McCandless group is determining what to do next in its efforts to block a proposed Walmart Super Center on Blazier Drive following the rejection of its appeal before a panel of Commonwealth Court judges.
Members of the local organization, which was formed in 2014 to stop the development, were disappointed but not surprised by the ruling.
“Our attorney is looking over everything,” said Rita Martin, one of the founding members of the group, adding that the decision won’t curtail the group’s efforts.
The court upheld the January 2015 decision of Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Joseph M. James, ruling the proposed site is not too small for the store and that it complies with parking and stormwater control requirements of the zoning code.
The appeals court also determined Judge James did not err in denying the citizens’ request to present more evidence at the lower court hearing. McCandless council approved plans for the store in July 2014.
fJudge Robert Simpson wrote the opinion, filed Feb. 18, which was a decision by a three-judge panel of the full state court. Senior Judge James Colins and Judge Bonnie Leadbetter also reviewed the case.
The citizens group issued a statement: “We were not permitted to introduce any new evidence in the Common Pleas Court. We continue to insist that the site is too small for such a large footprint and we contend that Wal-Mart’s plan fails to comply with the McCandless zoning code.”
“It’s just not a good thing for the residential area that it’s near,” Ms. Martin said. “We are going to continue to voice our opposition.”
The group contends the proposed Wal-Mart is too close to North Park and the Pine Creek watershed. Ms. Martin said the 6,000 cars a day, which, according to her research, is the average number expected for a super store would be too much traffic and create a safety hazard.
The group also contends that McCandless has adequate retail and what the town needs is more green spaces, a fitness trail, a community center and a regulation-size baseball field.
At town council Monday night, few members of the public attended and only two spoke.
Mark Donatelli said since the store would be so close to North Park Lake and the Pine Creek watershed, Wal-Mart would be responsible for water-control measures such as constructing a catch basin, using porous bricks around the building, and installing a green roof.
One woman asked if Wal-Mart was planning to excavate and whether it would be responsible for remediating any contaminated soil.
Toby Cordek, McCandless manager, said such requirements would be under the auspices of the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Kim Zachary, one of the recently elected council members supported by the Citizens of McCandless, asked if the town could request that the DEP report information on the matter. She suggested sending the DEP a letter explaining the town’s concerns about contamination.
Rita Michel, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.