New owner to update Shoppes at Northway in Ross

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After months of rumors about the future of the Shoppes at Northway, the new owner of the former Northway Mall will announce plans for the future of the area's first indoor mall at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 in the mall's commons area on McKnight Road.

Ross Commissioner Peter Ferraro made the announcement Monday night about one of the township's most famous commercial structures, which was erected in the 1960s, but has fallen on hard times and has lost some of its major and longtime tenants, such as Borders and Ritz Camera.

Mr. Ferraro said the owner told him that there are "no firm contracts in place," but will involve re-establishing and relocating some of the current tenants and could involve professional offices, another restaurant or another grocery store.

There are currently two restaurants and an Aldi grocery store on the property.

"Everything is hypothetical," he said. "Nothing is concrete. They don't have signed contracts. Everything looks good on paper."

LRC Realty Inc., Levey's real estate arm, purchased the former Northway Elementary School, which is adjacent to the mall, for $2.46 million in June from the North Hills School District. Mr. Ferraro said the school property will be part of any development planned for the area.

"We're talking millions of dollars to the township," he said.

Mr. Ferraro asked that any residents who plan to attend the Dec. 5 meeting call the township to reserve a seat.

In a related action, commissioners Monday night approved a resolution announcing their intent to begin a study on transportation impact fees on new development.

The next step is for commissioners to appoint a seven-member advisory committee to study the issue. Three of the seven members must represent real estate agencies or developers, and the committee cannot contain officials or employees of the township, interim Manager Debby Grass said.

"You have some things that are coming to you, to the planning commission, for permits and applications. And, in order to have these fees in place, you have to have this before they come in," she said.

Ms. Grass said the township can charge interim fees during the study, but the fees must be placed in escrow and returned to developers if they don't adopt an ordinance within 18 months.

Most municipalities with such fees charge $1,500 to $1,800 per trip that is anticipated from the development, she added.

"Developers really do expect that there is going to be one," she said. "They consider it the cost of doing business."

Commissioner Lana Mazur said there are 24 acres of vacant land in her ward near Interstate 279. "I know they are all talking together about putting them together for a big development," she said.

In other action, commissioners hired Big Daddy Wildlife Removal for $250 a month to remove dead deer and other wildlife. The township's former animal control service, Triangle Pet, recently went out of business. Ross paid Triangle $950 a month.

"We don't have anybody to come out and handle these dead deer," Commissioner Dan DeMarco said. "There are some things that need to be done. It is a matter of health, safety and welfare of the community."

Big Daddy Wildlife Removal was established by Paul McIntyre, who managed Triangle Pet. Mr. McIntyre, however, has not yet obtained a state kennel license so he cannot handle dog complaints, Ms. Grass said, adding that they will have to call the state dog warden for those complaints.

Commissioners approved a one-year contract, with the right to cancel with 30 days' notice. The motion passed 8-to-1 with commissioner David Mikec dissenting.

Commissioners also authorized temporary supports for the second floor of the public works garage. The initial cost to rent the materials is $17,120, and the township will have to pay $135 a day to have the materials in place.

Public works superintendent Mike Funk said he cannot park any vehicles on the second floor. It is not a good idea to have salt trucks and plows sit outside during the winter because the slush could freeze under the truck, making it difficult to get the truck running.

Commissioners also introduced an ordinance to establish a no-parking zone on the length of Fairley Road.

Residents had complained about neighbors' vehicles blocking their mailboxes, and commissioners previously banned parking on a portion of the road. But the complaints persisted, so they will consider extending the ban to the entire road.

Robert Ansell, who lives on the road, protested the change, saying that his driveway can hold only two vehicles.

"Where is anybody going to park if they want to come and visit somebody?" he asked. "I don't think the township wants people parking on their yards."

Mr. Ansell said some residents have expanded their driveways and can park up to four cars. He said the street near his house is only 16.5 feet wide and should be 20 feet under the township's specifications.

"The right thing is to have the people put their driveway back to where it is supposed to be," he said. "I asked you to try to get a meeting together to try to resolve these issues."

businessnews - neigh_north

Sandy Trozzo, freelance writer:


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