Planning Commission OKs pump station, tentatively

The city Planning Commission on Tuesday conditionally approved the Altoona Water Authority’s land development application for a pump station on land in front of HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Altoona.

The conditions include the authority’s making an arrangement with the rehabilitation hospital for access using the hospital’s entrance drive off Valley View Boulevard – or failing that, obtaining a boulevard highway permit from PennDOT.

That would be expensive, because it would probably require reconfiguring the intersection with 22nd Street across both Valley View and Pleasant Valley boulevards – they merge just north of 22nd Street – so a new entrance to the property lines up with them, according to Planning Director Lee Slusser.

The requirement for such a reconfiguration may have been an obstacle to fulfillment of a proposal by property owner Greg Morris years ago to build a Colonial Courtyard personal care home on the 2.65-acre property, from which the authority is subdividing 0.19 acres.

The authority will grade the remainder of the property, according to Don Verobish, who presented the authority case to the commission.

That 2.4-acre remainder will be available for future development, although it will remain vacant for now, according to a document from the Blair County Commission, provided by the city commission.

The commission agreed to waive land development requirements for curbing, sidewalks and landscaping for the authority project, which will generate only the periodic visits of authority personnel.

The authority plans to build the pump station to mimic the look of the rehab hospital, according to Verobish.

The building will be 1,295 square feet.

It will only rise 10 feet above ground, according to Verobish.

“Most people will drive by and not realize it’s there,” said commission member Randy Isenberg.

The authority hopes to begin construction on the pump station in June, according to Verobish.

The authority is building the pump station because it will allow for a more cost-effective project.

Otherwise, the authority would need to rely on gravity, which would require installing a new sewer line as deep as 30 feet around Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School.

The authority is undertaking the $6.5-million supplementary line project under orders from the state Department of Environmental Protection to alleviate wet-weather overflows.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.