Ronald J. Pardini has been following the same routine for 44 years: drinking his morning coffee while hammering out the day's agenda with his team of more than two dozen municipal police officers.
By the end of the month, the longtime chief of the Upper St. Clair police department will have to find a new routine.
Chief Pardini, 75, received a standing ovation that lasted several minutes Monday night when he was recognized by commissioners and state Sen. Matt Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon, for his years of service. Mr. Pardini will retire June 24.
He was given a commendation from commission Chairman Robert Orchowski, who said Chief Pardini "personifies Upper St. Clair, as being the best you can be."
Hired as a patrolman in January 1969, Chief Pardini was promoted to head the 27-member department in January 1986. He insisted on providing as much training as possible to his officers, along with maintaining professional standards at all times.
The result, Mr. Orchowski said, was making the township "one of the safest communities not only in Allegheny County, but in the state."
A representative from Mr. Smith's office also presented Chief Pardini with a proclamation from the Senate for his "tireless devotion to duty." Mr. Smith couldn't attend because he is in Harrisburg while the Senate is in session.
Commissioners said they haven't yet decided how they will fill the vacancy and said they wanted to concentrate on Chief Pardini's accomplishments.
"He's always going to be with us in spirit, for all that he's done for this community," Mr. Orchowski said.
Also Monday, commissioners continued a three-part public hearing into a request by Residential Development &Construction Inc. of Bridgeville to build a new apartment complex on Boyce Plaza Road.
The company wants to begin construction this year of Torrente Luxury Apartments, nine buildings with a total of 220 one- and two-bedroom units. The one-bedroom units would be about 850 square feet with two-bedroom units as large as 1,145 square feet.
The site would include a park, trails, benches and a clubhouse and would be marketed to single, young professionals with rental fees of between $1,200 and $1,800 per month.
It would also feature private garages, hardwood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.
"Our goal is to spoil our residents," said John R. Deklewa, president of RDC.
The planning commission in March recommended approval for the project, with several conditions, and the developer is asking for permission to install 1.7 parking spaces per unit, rather than two parking spaces, as required.
The developer has purchased the property and has financing in place for the project, a representative said.
A preliminary traffic study of the area shows a need for a left-turning lane on Boyce Plaza and eventually a traffic light, based on residential development projections.
RDC has said it would contribute about $214,000 to the township -- the cost of a new traffic signal -- which could be used for the purchase of a signal or for other improvements in the Boyce Road corridor. Traffic engineer Chuck Wooster said a light at the development probably wouldn't help traffic much, until a serious congestion issue at the corner of Boyce and Mayview roads is resolved.
Two previous owners of the site have already installed much of the stormwater and sewage system, said engineer Kim Gales, though their plans for residential developments didn't come to fruition.
Mr. Deklewa said his company is building a similar development in Murrysville, with units being rented even before the project is completed.
Commissioners will continue debating the issue and gathering input at the third and final part of the hearing, set for 7:30 p.m. July 1.
Also next month, commissioners are expected to continue discussions into whether lights should be installed on athletic fields in Boyce Mayview Park. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the meeting to make their positions known.
Two township athletic associations are asking for permission to install temporary lights, and eventually permanent lighting.
Annette Shimer, representing Upper St. Clair Citizens for Land Stewardship, reminded commissioners to consider the impact on neighboring residents and wildlife in the area.
"How much is it worth to hear owls calling, insects sounding on a late summer's night, to see herons crossing the sky, or a meteor shower?" she said. "Allow our residents to experience the subtleties of silence and of darkness so they may understand how precious and increasingly rare they are today."
Janice Crompton: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-851-1867.