Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

JOINT LAND USE IS COG PLAN'S MAIN THREAD Series: METROVISIONS

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

JOINT LAND USE IS COG PLAN'S MAIN THREAD Series: METROVISIONS

Article excerpt

The concept of merging some or all of the municipalities of Allegheny County has never caught on, but it's never gone away, either.

In one corner of the county, 12 municipalities near the confluence of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers have dipped a toe into the long-running discussion.

The Twin Rivers Council of Governments has produced a joint land- use plan and has revived a regional planning commission.

"I think it's a perfect example of cooperation," said Rosemary Bradley, executive director of the Twin Rivers COG. "Everybody wants to see everybody be successful."

The 180-page plan covers the Allegheny County municipalities of Elizabeth Borough, Elizabeth Township, Forward, Glassport, Liberty, Lincoln, McKeesport, Port Vue, Versailles, South Versailles, West Mifflin and White Oak, along with Madison and West Newton in Westmoreland County.

If the plan is a first step toward a merger of municipal governments, it is only a baby step, at most.

Each municipality will maintain its own zoning ordinance and zoning map.

But as participants in a joint plan, each municipality will not have to provide for every type of land use within its borders.

In other words, rural Elizabeth Township will not have to designate an area for industrial plants, because several other municipalities in the plan have land zoned for industrial uses.

The plan, produced at a cost of $75,000, has separate chapters for housing, economic development and transportation.

While it does not expressly advocate a complete consolidation of the dozen municipalities, it does recommend that the COG's members explore the idea of merging their police departments.

The plan has not been universally embraced.

The city council in McKeesport, the second most populous municipality in the COG, voted against accepting the plan earlier this month. …

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