In November 2016, Upper St. Clair commissioners granted final approval to Tuscany Pointe, a planned residential development with the address listed as 1500 McLaughlin Run Road.
On Monday, the board denied developer Jeffrey Thomas’ request for a two-year extension of the approval. Robert Orchowski was the lone commissioner to vote in favor.
The request was scheduled for a March 1 vote, but action was tabled until the board’s April regular meeting.
During the March meeting, attorney Maureen Sweeney, representing Thomas, said the COVID-19 pandemic caused all construction to be put on hold, with a resulting negative effect on finances. The extension was requested, she said, for the developer to gather resources to move forward with the project.
Thomas, who owns the 20-acre site zoned for multifamily residential on which Tuscany Pointe is proposed, told commissioners factors such as inefficiencies in taking workers’ temperatures and enforcing the wearing of masks contributed to slowing the project.
Also in March, several residents of neighborhoods overlooking the Thomas property spoke against granting an extension to develop the property, which is zoned to allow for multifamily dwellings.
Dmitri Shiry of Wellington Drive referenced a community impact letter sent to township officials in February and signed by 63 residents opposing the extension. He pointed out that since its final approval, nothing has been done to advance the project.
Deepwood Drive resident David Rowles, who identified himself as president of Wyngate Homeowners Association, said residents have been voicing their concerns for nearly six years about the development’s possible impact on the values of properties in its proximity. He cited the potential for landslides, flooding, traffic congestion and noise, along with the presence of outdoor lighting, garbage dumpsters and air-condenser units.
Thomas said a large ravine is between the surrounding residents and the Tuscany Pointe site, and plans call for a fence around the buildings with quality landscaping.
He also was involved in the development of the adjacent Wellington Woods neighborhood, where Douglas Florey moved to a Wellington Drive residence in August.
“Granting Mr. Thomas a two-year extension puts us and our neighbors in a state of limbo. We would love to renovate our deck, redo our bathroom and kitchen. Unfortunately, all of those projects look out to the parcel of land in question and would be negatively impacted by the addition of apartment buildings,” Florey said at the commissioners’ April meeting. “Sinking tens of thousands of dollars into a deck or a kitchen or a bath overlooking a commercial housing site doesn’t sound like a wise investment.”
Tuscany Pointe originally was presented as a 144-unit apartment complex. The Upper St. Clair Planning Commission recommended approval of the plan in 2015, and the board of commissioners granted tentative and final approvals the following year.