Peters Township Zoning Hearing Board denied St. Clair Health’s appeal of a pair of decisions Tuesday night, but the health-care company plans to ask the court to settle the matter.
In December, the township filed a notice of violation regarding the use of the driveway at St. Clair’s outpatient center at 3928 Washington Road. With a bank being proposed on an adjacent property, it is the zoning board’s position that St. Clair must allow the bank to use its driveway.
That is based on the following portion of Section 440-503 of the Peters Township Code: “Adjacent commercial properties shall provide a joint or cross-access driveway to allow circulation between sites wherever feasible along roadways classified as major collectors or arteries.”
The zoning board also denied a building permit, which St. Clair says was sought to renovate internal portions of the building.
The board voted 3-1 to deny both appeals. Board Chair Francis Milfeit was not present at the meeting. Vice Chair Dale Griffith, Seshal Belldina and Keith Higgins voted to deny the appeals. Kathryn Clark voted in St. Clair’s favor.
Following the meeting, board members declined to comment on their votes, citing the potential of future appeals.
On Wednesday, St. Clair announced its intention to do just that.
“St. Clair Health respectfully disagrees with the 3-1 majority decision of the Peters Township Zoning Hearing Board related to its Outpatient Center located at 3928 Washington Road. We continue to believe the Township’s position that St. Clair should be compelled to grant an easement to a bank that is proposing to build a branch location on an adjoining parcel is unsupported by the facts and the law,” reads an emailed statement from St. Clair. “Moreover, it jeopardizes patient safety, which is St. Clair’s highest priority. Therefore, we will appeal the decision to the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County. St. Clair expresses its appreciation to the nearly 4,000 patients who agreed with our position and communicated their concerns to Peters Township.
A St. Clair spokesperson confirmed they will be appealing both decisions.
Prior to the Feb. 15 hearing on the appeals, St. Clair set up an online petition on change.org that amassed more than 3,800 signatures. It encouraged residents to attend the meeting, which was continued for a month after a large crowed turned out.
“More than eight years after the outpatient center was built, Peters Township is attempting to force St. Clair Health to allow our driveway to be used by a bank that is proposing to build a branch location on an adjoining parcel. This would not only substantially increase traffic at an already busy intersection, but also jeopardize the safety of patients who use the Peters Township Outpatient Center by placing vehicular traffic very near many frail, elderly, pregnant, and distracted members of our community who use the outpatient center daily,” the petition reads.
The zoning hearing board meets 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at the Peters Township Municipal Building.