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Development of Westinghouse Research Site on Hold

Forest Hills Council felt like it was rushed to make a decision on the site.

Forest Hills Borough Council voted to not to send a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development as requested by a developer who wants to put 100 rental units on the site of the former Westinghouse Research facility.

By sending the letter, which would ask for up to $1 million in grants from the state to develop the industrial site, the borough would be tied to any development plans the owner, CBS, or its developer, has for the site.

It was the lack of plans a Maryland developer gave to some council members that caused the motion to fail 6-1.

“This thing was basically shoved down our throats,” council President Frank Porco said. "I think we should have a seat at the table to decide what goes in.”

Porco reiterated how council needs to be very careful when making decisions on what should happen to the long-abandoned site, located at the intersection of Avenue F and West Street.

Besides the fact that councilmen Porco, William Tomasic and William Burleigh expressed their concerns about having more residential rental units come to Forest Hills, it ultimately was a rush by Silverson and Associates to have council act on such a large project in such a short amount of time.

The developer held a meeting this week for some council members. Tomasic said the meeting went haphazardly, with developers reluctant to say what exactly will be built on the site where people once split atoms.

A fact-sheet about the development was not available, and the developers didn’t have anything in writing for council members, Tomasic said.

“The last thing we need is more rental units in Forest Hills,” he said.

A motion to table the motion was made by Devon Woods but failed. Instead, all but Steve Karas voted to not act on the request.

The finance committee will draft a letter to CBS and its developers asking them to be much more clear as to what exactly will be built at the site.

Patricia E. Boyd September 20, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Is there any environmental analysis data on this site? Radioactive debris?
Stephanie Kennedy September 20, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Thank you, Council. The developer needs to submit completely honest information for plans and implementation of the proposed project. How will the developer highlight the historically, significant "atom smasher"? To Council: What are the actual statistics of crime rate of property owners/visitors, renters/visitors, and residents/visitors in the last ten years to present?

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