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Questions about new townhouses, drive-thru restaurant at S.S. forum

 


A new city website, accessible on computers and mobile devices, that allows users to view public safety data, building code violations, city facility information, and more on an interactive map, was the sole presentation at the Feb. 14. meeting of the South Side Planning Forum.

The presenter was Geoffrey Arnold of the city’s Department of Innovation and Performance.

Called the Burgh’s Eye View, it includes data on: 311 requests, crime incidents, arrests, non-traffic citations, building code violations, and city facilities. The data is for the city’s 90 recognized neighborhoods. More categories are planned.

In addition to viewing data, users may submit 311 requests from the site.

The website, data.pittsburghpa.gov, is accessible on computers and mobile devices. Once on the website, users should click on the Burgh’s Eye View logo on the right sidebar.

To a question of how data ends up on Burgh’s Eye View, Mr. Arnold said it is through a partnership with the University of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County called the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center. The data is updated daily.

In her report of the Development Review Committee (DRC), chair Tracy Myers said there is a proposal to demolish St. Matthew’s on 19th St. There has been a for sale sign on the property for a long time, she said.

The matter has not yet come before the DRC. She said the developer hopes to buy the building, demolish it, and build seven townhouses.

Forum chair Hugh Brannan said the developer has reached out to community groups, and is anxious to begin a conversation.

To a question about preserving the building, Ms. Myers said it is not a historic landmark. She said not all buildings are worth preserving.

“Progress sometimes means creative destruction,” she said.

She said the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation would have declared it a landmark if they felt it was unique.

The DRC can provide feedback on design. But it is not on the South Side Neighborhood Plan’s “do not tear down” list, she said.

Thom Barry, of the South Side Chamber of Commerce, called it “shocking” anyone would want to take down the building. He said it would take the neighborhood to be “up in arms” to stop the demolition.

Ms. Myers said the design will be “carefully evaluated” by the DRC and the city.

On another matter, Ms. Myers said there will be a Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing at 10:30 a.m. on March 2 on a proposed fast food restaurant with drive-thru at 2417 E. Carson St.

The property owner is the Veterans Leadership Program of Western PA Inc.

A fast food restaurant is not permitted in the local neighborhood commercial (LNC) zoning district. Drive-thru use in an LNC district is a special exception.

Ms. Myers said a fast food restaurant is not the highest and best use for that plot of land.

Next, regarding the South Side Neighborhood Plan, ninth update, Ms. Myers said regular reviews will be conducted. At three and nine months, the plan will be looked at to see how organizations are doing with their responsibilities.

She also reported that she developed a formal application form for organizations seeking to become forum members. The matter was spurred by the recent plan update which included recommendations that Duquesne University and the South Side Bar & Restaurant Association (SSB&RA) become members of the planning forum. Duquesne would be non-voting, while the SSB&RA would be a voting member.

She said she hopes to have both on board as forum members in March.

In announcements, the annual South Side Soup Contest, scheduled for Feb. 18, was sold out of its 1250 general admission tickets. About 60 of 100 VIP tickets were sold as of Feb. 14.

Proceeds support the South Side community programs and initiatives of the Brashear Association and the South Side Welcome Center.

Mr. Barry said in January, the Welcome Center had 30 volunteers for 248 volunteer hours worked, and 219 visitors.

The Chamber will be holding a luncheon at noon on March 8 at The Urban Tap, 1209 East Carson St. Mike Carroll and Dan Yablonsky of BikePGH will talk about the May 28 OpenStreets event on the South Side, and about BikePGH. Businesses are urged to become involved, such as in offering sidewalk specials and dining.

State Rep. Jake Wheatley will host the annual small business day in Harrisburg on March 20 beginning at 11:15 a.m.

Inclusive Innovation Week in the city will be held March 31 to April 7. It is designed to provide a city-wide opportunity to participate in innovation in the city. Groups should submit their event by March 1. The website is innovationroadmap.pittsburghpa.gov .

The next forum meeting will be on March 14.

 

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