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Businesses fear getting kicked out after Pittsburgh-area community rezones

McCandless business owners fear property owner is kicking them out after rezoning
McCandless business owners fear property owner is kicking them out after rezoning 02:35

MCCANDLESS, Pa. (KDKA) -- There are concerns that a property owner is kicking out longtime businesses in McCandless to make way for a new housing and retail development. Business owners say that's what they fear after the land was recently rezoned.

Several businesses just outside of North Park say they were blindsided by this announcement and now they wonder what their future is going to be.

Dwight Yingling's family has run a bait and bike shop just outside of North Park for decades.

"It started in the 30s when they were building the park," Yingling said. 

"It was a family business for a long time." 

But recently Yingling says the town of McCandless rezoned the property his business is on and didn't bother telling them. The reason according to Yinglilng: "Old people die off, young people take over and all they see is green." 

Yingling tells KDKA-TV the real estate his shop is on as well as a driving range, miniature golf course, pizza shop, batting cages and several other businesses is being shopped around by the family that owns the land. Yingling says as he understands it, the plan is to build apartments and retail on the property. 

"We tried to get a re-do on the lease but they pretty much said, 'don't worry, we won't throw you out,'" he said. 

"Everything already passed McCandless, which was, as far as I'm concerned, it was snuck in." 

KDKA-TV contacted the property's co-owner, Mike Irwin, who said McCandless rezoned the area recently, McCandless has sent him various potential developers' names. There's no formal agreement on a sale of any type but it's not to say it won't be sold. And they've talked to the business owners at great length and they'll be the first to know if something happens. 

"I haven't been given any notice, nobody told me yet," Yingling said. 

Julie Gatti is a long-time customer of Yingling's shop who said the park would lose its feel if new stuff came in. 

"If they put more apartments in here, it's like what they're doing down on McKnight, they're cramming them in. The traffic is going to be crazy, so I'm not looking forward to that," Gatti said. 

So for the time being, Yingling and his fellow business owners say they're waiting and hoping. 

"Yeah, yeah. Haven't slept very well. Don't know what I'm gonna do," Yingling says.

In a statement to KDKA-TV, McCandless confirmed it has changed the zoning in that area, allowing for a mix of residential and smaller commercial development, but it hasn't received any applications or serious inquiries about the property. 

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