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Dormont to Move Forward with Cochran Plan

Dormont Council voted to move forward with a business plan for West Liberty Avenue, but the plan still is not final.

Dormont Council voted Tuesday to move forward with a business plan for West Liberty Avenue proposed by representatives in February.

Council voted 4-3 to move forward with its third option for working with #1 Cochran's plan, which includes completing a land swap with the automotive company and implementing a TIF district in the borough.

Councilmen John Maggio and Eugene Barilla, and councilwoman Laurie Malka voted "no" to moving forward with that option, citing concerns over parking issues that could arise or be made worse while construction at the Cochran Nissan site is in progress.

Borough solicitor John Rushford said council's vote is simply a vote to move forward—not a vote on a final plan.

The next step is for the borough and #1 Cochran to form a letter of intent—a legal agreement—outlining the details of how to follow through with the project.

"(The agreement) creates a framework from which a lot of other activity will be taking place between the borough and Cochran," Rushford said. "It needs to be put into legally binding language."

The agreement will be available for public review before a final vote is made, and changes to the agreement can be made as needed.

The plan proposed by #1 Cochran, as well as the three options the borough formed for working with the automotive company, are outlined .

After the meeting, council President Bill McCartney said the borough plans to do a comprehensive parking study, which will include surveying business owners for their parking needs. Those needs will be included in discussions with #1 Cochran, he said.

If the third option is carried out, the TIF district could generate $100,000 or more per year for the borough. TIF funds could be used to make improvements to both sides of West Liberty Avenue. New parking lots also would be created.

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Ed M September 05, 2012 at 11:04 AM
I read all the options. The new borough manager is recommending option #3. What is the difference in the number of parking spots in the two areas? And since Cochran wants what we have, why shouldn't they pay off the debt?
DSA September 05, 2012 at 12:41 PM
They should have to pay off the debt - you're right Ed. but their is a lack of backbone on council and 1 member with her husband making decisions for her. Get used to that and i don't have to remind you where it led last time. money for the borough is good but not if it means putting people out of business.
ella September 05, 2012 at 01:03 PM
It's funny--when I started looking for homes in the area, I was very attracted to Dormont with its fantastic architectural character. The council members, unfortunately, caused me to settle elsewhere. It seems that any time there is an opportunity to improve their borough, they shoot it down for all sorts of petty reasons. If a successful business like #1 Cochran is asking to expand in your community, wouldn't you want that? Think about the new employment opportunities, taxes, etc. I just can't live in a borough that doesn't look out for the best interest of its residents.
Ed M September 05, 2012 at 03:30 PM
You make a good point ella but parking is a real issue that needs to be considered in cases like this.
Dormonster September 05, 2012 at 11:41 PM
At least it is not a vote on a final plan. That is pretty much the only positive thing that I can see in this article. Maybe the council will wake up soon. Very disappointing...
dormonter September 06, 2012 at 06:29 AM
Thanks to the boro mgr for his cogent analysis of the proposals and for publishing them online. We need to think long-term improvement, not temporary inconvenience.
DSA September 06, 2012 at 12:36 PM
dormonter what would you say to the owner who goes out of business during this temporary inconvenience? your own short-sightedness is the same problem 4 people on council suffer. nobody is saying long-term improvement isn't necessary. we're just caving to cochran and not thinking big-picture.
Ed M September 06, 2012 at 02:36 PM
DSA, If an owner goes out of business because a handful of parking spots were lost for a short period of time I would say there are other reasons why that owner went out of business.
DSA September 06, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Ed you must never have owned a business.
Ed M September 07, 2012 at 05:11 PM
DSA, Actually I have. My point is if a business can't survive for a temporary period of decreased parking spaces, there was something else going on other than parking.
dormonter September 09, 2012 at 02:55 AM
I agree with Ed. And it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Perhaps parking can be limited in certain spots to a half-hour or an hour and strictly enforced. There will still be parking available. People who aren't able to walk a block already would need someone to drop them off. And perhaps the business owners can have creative construction time promotions. I see plenty of drunks perfectly capable of stumbling jaywalking across W. Lib in the dark. If these are the folks that you're worried about I think they can stumble a bit farther.
DormontMOM September 18, 2012 at 02:55 PM
There is a parking lot on Peermont Avenue at the Methodist church, most people who frequent the businesses can walk from here. There is also a vacant business where the beer distributor closed perhaps Cochran can rent that space for West Liberty business parking during construction. There are options, and any new revenue into the boro is what our boro needs. Do I like looking at car lots in my neighborhood no, but they clean their sidewalks and well lit at night. They bring people into the community who may stop at a local diner or pizza shop, so they bring money into the Community. Let's be honest, West Liberty is known for CAR DEARLSHIPS, it is what it is.
Drew Lehman September 18, 2012 at 03:31 PM
The parking issue in my opinion could be made better by bringing the parking over to the side of West Liberty that utilizes it the most. Crossing West Liberty in the daytime is an adventure. If the parking lot is moved to the corner of Biltmore and West Liberty it may actually be more convenient. Cochran should be a good neighbor in this whole transaction if not by choice then by force.
Ed M September 18, 2012 at 06:48 PM
That old beer distributor is in Mt. Lebanon and that piece of property is two parcels and is valued at $1.4 MM.
The Big Ragu November 20, 2012 at 03:44 PM
The bottom line is that there is no reason Dormont should sell the lot to Cochran. The lot is heavily used by patrons and employees of businesses that account for at-least 120 jobs within three blocks. Dealerships don't bring people to a community - dealerships are a destination and have low low traffic. AND Cochran will most likely experience a reduction in the number of employees as a result of consolidating the facilities. Ask yourself the question; why would Dormont go out of it's way to accomodate this businessman at the expense of it's residents and numerous business owners??? Doesn't smell right. Why was the lot built in the first place? Obviously, there is a need. Also - after this fiasco, do you really think Dormont is going to follow-through with the replacement parking lots? They have no obligation to do so. If Cochran needs to expand again, they will always have a "friend" in the Borough. I would like to see how they handle the bond!
The Big Ragu November 20, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Ella - There will be very little net gain. They pay no merchantile tax - that's why they like Dormont. They save hundreds on each car. The public lot is usually full and generates revenue and the businesses across the street will be left hanging... Dealerships are proven low-traffic businesses - you will lose consumer activity in the area - i know this from experience.

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