South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

South Side plan update almost completed

 


The next steps for the South Side Neighborhood Plan was a focus of the Sept. 13 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum.

There were no presentations. There was also no report of the Development Review Committee (DRC) as chair Tracy Myers said no meeting was held in August.

Regarding the neighborhood plan, the newest update was presented by the Neighborhood Plan Revision Committee chair Ms. Myers at the July 26 meeting of the planning forum.

 The plan provides the policy framework for the community’s desires and concerns, and is designed to guide the neighborhood and city in making decisions. Originally adopted in 1990, it is updated every two years.

 Last’s month presentation concluded with a charge that forum member organizations report back on whether they are ready to adopt the document.

 On Sept. 13, Ms. Myers said all member organizations approved the updated plan with some minor refinements. She said the committee would consider incorporating some, after which the document will be returned to the organizations for their websites.

 She said she wants the plan “to really be a living document” to guide the neighborhood, reflect what organizations are doing, and express what the neighborhood thinks is important.

 Starting in January, there will be reviews every three months. In the first and third quarters, organizations will review their activities as described in the plan. The reviews in months 6 and 12 will also include a review of the policies column.

Ms. Myers said the idea is that the plan will always be referred to as organizations work together for the betterment of the neighborhood.

She also said the committee will work with Ashley Holloway, City Planning’s neighborhood planner, to see if the plan’s format is appropriate as the city plans to adopt a plan format for all neighborhoods.

To an attendee’s question about informing residents about what is going on in the neighborhood, Ms. Myers said the committee will put thought into how to educate and inform the community, and how to make the plan work for more people.

In new business, forum chair Hugh Brannan said the application of the South Side Bar and Restaurant Association (SSB&RA) to become an organizational member of the planning forum is in process, and that forum members will be kept informed when the formal request is submitted.

The inclusion of the organization in the forum was “strongly” recommended in the draft “South Side Neighborhood Plan, Ninth Update” which was presented at the July 26 forum meeting.

John DeMauro, of the SSB&RA, who attended the meeting, said at that time the organization planned to begin the application process to becoming a member.

 In other news, Tri-Entertainment, which owns Mario’s and Blue Lou’s, held a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 at Mario’s, 1514 East Carson St., to discuss its pending zoning application for expansion into the third floor of each location.

Mr. Brannan called it “a positive step” businesses are coming forward and initiating a community meeting.

In other new business, Barbara Rudiak, of the South Side Community Council, said an underage dance club attempted to open, but was shut down by the city recently as its occupancy permit is for a restaurant use.

 Ms. Rudiak said none of the business’s advertisements she saw mentioned anything about being a restaurant.

 Attorneys for Mother Fletcher’s, 2200 East Carson St., filed a civil complaint in federal court.

United States District Judge Nora Fischer ruled Mother Fletcher’s motion for a temporary restraining order was denied and a due process complaint was dismissed.

The business, which is a franchise, may reapply through the Zoning Board to operate as an under-21 nightclub.

Mr. Brannan said following the judge’s decision, the operators might be invited to a forum meeting to discuss their plans.

 In her update, Candice Gonzalez, of the South Side Chamber of Commerce, reported Chamber volunteers totaled 11 in August for 123 volunteer hours. There were 276 visitors last month to the Welcome Center, 1100 East Carson St.

Year-to-date, there have been 173 Chamber volunteers for 1,440 volunteer hours, most of which involves picking up litter. The Welcome Center has had 2,962 visitors so far this year.

The Welcome Center also serves as a drop-off site for Penn’s Corner, which delivers fresh fruit and vegetables which customers pay for in advance. In August, 38 boxes of fresh food were delivered. So far this year, 245 boxes of fresh farm food were delivered to the Welcome Center for pick-up.

Ms. Gonzalez also reported 64 golfers participated in the Chamber—SSB&RA golf tournament on Aug. 8 at the South Hills Country Club. The first place team was First National Bank.

On Aug. 29, a South Side APP launch happy hour, hosted by Dollar Bank, drew 45 guests. The application is free to users and $60 annually for advertisers.

From 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 28, a Chamber happy hour will be held at the Silver Eye Center for Photography, 1015 East Carson St., to support purchasing computers for Pittsburgh Phillips K-5 Elementary School students.

She also reported the Chamber board of directors’ election would be held on a date to be determined in October.

In other news, Mary Ellen Solomon, Duquesne University’s director of government affairs for the past four years, said the new semester began, which brought complaints about students from a few residents who then contacted the university. Those complaints were addressed, she said.

 For issues with students, contact Tim Lewis, director of commuter affairs, at 412-396-6660, or lewis@duq.edu.

 She also said a fall networking event will be scheduled for students, residents, and businesses to interact.

New students residing in South Side will be sent a guide to living in the neighborhood, and information on services like trash pick-up. Students will also be informed about local events, such as StepTrek, and about organizations like the South Side Community Council.

Next, forum member Rev. Kathy Hamilton-Vargo said when driving at night on the Birmingham Bridge, which is undergoing construction, there are no lights to see turns and pedestrians. She said a temporary light is needed. Planning forum members suggested she contact PennDOT.

In closing, Mr. Brannan said the Brashear Association will hold its 99th Annual awards luncheon, Bravo! Brashear, at noon on Oct. 27 at the LeMont Restaurant. The principal sponsor will be UPMC Mercy.

 The next forum meeting will be on Oct. 11.

 

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