South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Tom Smith
South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor 

Mt. Oliver approves liquor license transfer for a new restaurant on Brownsville Road


Last updated 7/29/2020 at 9:13pm

A Mt. Oliver resident questioned why the borough paved and is now enforcing paid parking on a privately owned lot behind the Brownsville Road business District.

The July public meeting of the Mt. Oliver Borough Council was moved to the Mt. Oliver Fire Hall so social distancing could be observed.

To begin the meeting, the council approved a series of motions 7-0, among them were: Payment of $15,307 to Soli Construction for the 2019 Walnut Parking Lot Project; Accepting the resignation of police officers Nathan Swierkosz and Stephen Beers and the reinstatement of Officer Patrick Lucas; Authorizing the sale of a 2009 Crown Victoria; and, Adopting a Parking Permit Policy.

The Borough Council also authorized a payment in the amount of $155,929 to A. Folino Construction for the 2020 Paving Program. The paving program included: the Middle Way Parking Lot; Walnut Street Parking Lot; the Borough's parking lot; along with paving on Goldbach, Middle Way, Charles and John streets.

A contract was awarded to Lisanti Painting for $74,000 for decorative street lighting painting. The decorative light poles along Brownsville Road would be painted from Arlington Avenue to Margaret Street.

Prior to the Council meeting, there was a public hearing also in the fire hall concerning the transfer of a liquor license to Ormsby LLC for 225 Brownsville Road, The Bakery Society Pittsburgh building, for a restaurant and wine bar. The restaurant liquor license transfer from Monroeville was approved by council 7-0.

The council also approved a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with Action Housing concerning the former Mt. Oliver School Building on Hays Avenue. Action Housing has agreed to pay a lump sum each year to the borough in an amount equal to what the property taxes would be for that year. According to the agreement, the payment amount may increase if the tax amount would have also increased.

In the public hearing portion of the meeting, a Mt. Oliver resident complained he received a letter saying that those who wanted to continue to park in the Middle Way parking lot would have to pay for parking. He said the lot was privately owned, but the borough paid to have it resurfaced with tax dollars so there shouldn't be a charge for borough residents to park there.

He said he has been parking his vehicles in the lot for 15 years because he can't park in front of his house because of all the U-Haul trucks and vehicles without registration or inspection.

Borough Manager Rick Hopkinson said although the land where the lot sits is privately owned down to Middle Way and agreement has been in place with the property owners since the 1960s. He said the Borough Council at the time thought it was important to have parking for the business district. The agreement calls for the borough to maintain the lot and split any parking income generated by the lot to be split with the property owners 50/50.

The agreement with the five property owners splits their share depending on each parcel's width on their deed. Mr. Hopkinson estimated the parking lot would generate $30,000-$35,000 in revenue each year and the borough would receive half of that amount.

He estimated the cost to pave the lot would be recouped in five years and that the paving could last as much as 20 years. Although they haven't been enforcing the paid parking in the lot in recent years, he said the plan to resurface the lot has been in the works for several years and a new agreement, under the original terms, was reached with the property owners in 2017.

Another resident complained that a piece of borough property in the alley behind her house was overgrown and people were urinating there and "bringing girls down there."

Mr. Hopkinson said the borough's public works department is maintaining 70 vacant properties once a month, although the lot being complained about was not one of them.

"We can only do what we can do," he said. "I try to solve problems as quickly as I can given the legal process."

Council President Amber McGough said public works needs to make sure they rotate the properties on the maintenance list so all the properties needing attention are being cut and cleaned.

Mr. Hopkinson said they rotate the properties on the list by district and additional properties are added.

A St. Joseph Street resident came to the meeting to complain about the garbage coming from a neighboring property.

"I had to buy a grabber to pick up the garbage to keep my property nice," she said.

She had complaints about garbage not being placed out for collection and with a neighbor's overgrowth coming into her yard and sewers.

Mr. Hopkinson said he would be done the next day to check out the situation.


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