Rt. 31 West Corridor Planning Final Study

Project Overview

This project is a land use study of the approximately ten (10) mile S.R. 31 highway corridor (see attached map) leading from Somerset Borough to the Somerset County\ Westmoreland County boundary. The study will examine the potential for residential, commercial, and other development in the corridor, and develop strategies to minimize or avoid any associated negative effects. The focus area of the study will be those properties having frontage along Rt. 31.

Route 31 is a major gateway to a number of villages and visitor’s attractions in the western part of Somerset County. Some of these attractions include Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Hidden Valley Four Seasons Resort, Laurel Hill State Park, Kooser State Park, Laurel Ridge State Park, and others. The corridor is a mostly rural landscape characterized by farms and small villages, with a few businesses clustered near the villages and highway intersections.

Based upon experiences in Pennsylvania and other states, uncontrolled growth and development can occur in gateway highway corridors leading to major tourism destinations. An unattractive sprawling development pattern has already occurred along S.R. 31 and S.R. 711 in Donegal Township, Westmoreland County, another gateway to the ski resorts and state parks. Very often, this uncontrolled development can detract from the visitor experience, create transportation-related problems, and negatively affect the unique landscape in the surrounding areas.

There is concern among County officials and the two municipalities located along the corridor - Somerset Township and Jefferson Township, about the potential for an unattractive pattern of continuous commercial and residential development that may occur along the corridor in the very near future. The rural landscape will change along with the planned extension of sanitary sewer service in the corridor, as well as planned new major developments. Recently, both Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Hidden Valley Four Seasons Resort have announced expansion plans,. Similar patterns of development have already begun to occur along the highway near Somerset Borough (see photo above), and County and township officials would like to avoid repeating a similar pattern throughout the entire corridor. Compounding the problem is that there are no land use regulations other than Somerset County’s Subdivision and Land Development Regulations in the corridor.

Neither Somerset Township nor Jefferson Township currently have the administrative, technical, and financial resources necessary to address planning and related issues, and have requested the County’s assistance. The townships met with County representatives to discuss the corridor issue, and because of the meeting, the two municipalities requested that the County seek funding for a comprehensive land use study of the highway corridor as a multi-municipal effort. This study would serve as a blueprint for future action.

Rt. 31 Corridor Zoning Ordinance
- Article 1-4
- Article 15
- Article 16
- Article 17
- Article 5
- Rt 31 West Corridor Zoning

Appendices
- Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3
Appendix 4
Appendix 5

Sections
- Table of Contents
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- Design Guide

Maps
Map 1.1 Corridor Study Area
Map 2.1 Existing Land Use
Map 2.2 Major Trip Generators
Map 2.3 Buncher Company Properties
Map 2.4a Roadway
- Map 2.4b Roadway
Map 2.4c Roadway
Map 2.4d Roadway
Map 2.4e Roadway
Map 2.5 Census
Map 2.6 Natural Features
Map 2.7 Agricultural Resources
Map 2.8 Map2.8_Infrastucture.pdf
Map 3.1a_Development Scenarion
Map 3.1b_Development Scenario 1A
Map 3.1c_Development Scenario 1B
Map 3.1d_Development Scenario 2A
Map 3.1e_Development Scenario 2B
Map 3.1a_Development Scenario 3
Map 5.1 Priority Projects

Simulations
Visual Simulation 1
Visual Simulation 2a
Visual Simulation 2b

Final Guidelines
Design Guidelines

County Annex Office Building
300 North Center Avenue
Somerset, PA 15501
Somerset County Courthouse
111 East Union St.
Somerset, PA 15501