JEFFERSON HILLS, Pa. (KDKA) — A group of more than 100 homeowners in Jefferson Hills want to block UPMC from building a new hospital in the neighborhood.
The group plans to raise new concerns at an upcoming zoning hearing board meeting on June 11.
KDKA reached out to UPMC for comment on the proposed hospital plans and received this response:
“UPMC is thriving as the region’s dominant and most-preferred provider and we will ensure that our patients, insurance plan members and employees have full and convenient access to UPMC’s world-class care near where they live and work.”
Residents tell KDKA that they first learned of the borough allegedly issuing a zoning permit to UPMC nearly 24 months ago. Neighbors say they attended borough council meetings for months, yet received no answers or clarification to their questions.
The residents banded together and hired an attorney as well as created a petition at SayNoToUPMCSouth.com. The petition has gathered more than 500 signatures to date.
“It’s hard,” said Stephanie Sovak, a neighbor in the area. “You feel like you’re fighting a giant. I feel like, you know, I’m not going to win this.”
“We can’t get away from it. This is our home,” said Melissa Sovak, who also lives in the neighborhood.
The Sovaks say they moved to Jefferson Hills for the peaceful, quiet neighborhood.
“That’s just not going to be the case if UPMC comes here,” said Sovak. “The traffic, the lighting, the noise, the helicopters coming in and out. It’s just going to be a complete change to the characteristics of this neighborhood.”
The land sits less than two miles away from Allegheny Health Network’s Jefferson Hospital. It’s a proposed 200 thousand square foot, 63-bed facility that could sit in the land between the edge of the Practice T driving range and Elliot Road.
The concerned residents say they are not against UPMC building a hospital in the area, but don’t believe the space behind their homes is best suited- or big enough- for the development.
One neighbor, Len Mesina, suggested a space along Rt. 51 or near the former Century 3 Mall.
“All of the amenities are there at Century 3,” said Mesina. “They have the red lights and they have the parking lots. They would be welcomed there. They’re not welcome here. Go to Century 3.”