Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Icy Cool Response Sport Court Proposal Angers Neighbors

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Icy Cool Response Sport Court Proposal Angers Neighbors

Article excerpt

Plans for a backyard athletic court have caused a rift among neighbors in Upper St. Clair, where some residents are saying "enough is enough."

Officials from the township zoning hearing board are expected to take more testimony and vote Wednesday on whether David and Kelly Rohrich are allowed to build a 4,136-square-foot sport court in their Salem Drive backyard.

A handful of neighbors attended an earlier zoning hearing board meeting, saying they were concerned about increased traffic, safety issues and a reduction in their property values as a result of what one resident said has been "almost constant construction for the past six years."

The 1.76-acre property includes a three-story garage, swimming pool, two-story pool house, a freestanding turret, sheds and other outbuildings, said Lee Tilghman, who lives next door.

The Rohrichs bought the home in October 2009 for $885,000, according to Allegheny County tax records.

Plans call for the new court to be 94 feet by 44 feet - or about one-fourth the size of a National Hockey League-sanctioned rink.

During testimony taken Aug. 26, Mrs. Rohrich said the court would be used for hockey in the winter and for other activities, such as basketball, in warmer weather.

"We'll freeze it in the winter; it's not permanent," Mrs. Rohrich told zoning hearing board members. "It's just like any other structure that quite a few people around [Upper] St. Clair put up temporarily in the wintertime. The ice structure will not be permanent."

The court would be surrounded by clear plastic walls. Excavation has already been completed at the site, along with stormwater drains that encircle the court.

The Rohrichs could not be reached for comment. Mr. Rohrich owns Rohrich Automotive Group, and Mrs. Rohrich is president and co-founder of the nonprofit group Operation Backpack Children's Foundation.

The Tilghmans said they wouldn't allow their 14-month-old son to play in their yard, about 58 feet from the proposed court site, because they fear he could be struck by an errant hockey puck or ball.

They and other residents attended a township commissioners meeting last week to express their frustrations. …

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