South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

South Side updated on Works, proposed housing on the Slopes

 


A 25-minute meeting of the South Side Planning Forum on April 12 featured updates on on-going issues and news of upcoming events.

While there were no presentations, audience member Zone 3 Police Commander Karen Dixon reported briefly that the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the South Side “went well,” and she is already thinking of ways to do better next year.

There was only one physical arrest during the event.

She told forum members to let her know of any concerns.

Next, in his report of the Development Review Committee (DRC), Peter Kreuthmeier said the Soffer Organization is still seeking a tenant for ground-floor retail in the parking garage for the City Apartments building being erected on the SouthSide Works.

PetValu hopes to open in May in the former Nine West store in the SouthSide Works.

The marina will be adding two more slips this year; when completed, the marina will be able to dock about 300 boats.

Regarding 125-127 Brosville St., the DRC learned of the four-townhouse project less than two weeks before it went to Zoning on April 7. The townhouses, which would share an elevator, will be located on four sites that previously supported four individual homes in typical South Side Slopes style.

The shared elevator makes it a multi-family building, which is not permitted in hillside zoning, and therefore requires a use variance.

Concerns raised at the April 7 zoning hearing include that the site appears to be on a steep slope overlay, which triggers a Planning Commission hearing; impact on views from Saint Michael St .; and site stability.

The Zoning Board has 45 days from the hearing to rule on the variance.

The South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association’s (SSSNA) Zoning, Housing, and City Services Committee feels the building is inappropriate to the site and lacks context.

Mr. Kreuthmeier and DRC chair Tracy Myers planned to meet with that committee on April 18 to discuss the creation of development guidelines for the Slopes, which the DRC would use in reviewing proposals that come before it.

After the DRC report, forum Chair Hugh Brannan said Ms. Myers could not attend that evening’s forum meeting, which is preceded by a neighborhood plan committee meeting she conducts. He said she planned to reschedule the latter.

In New Business, consensus among forum organizations was reached on sending a letter to city council President Bruce Kraus requesting additional action and clarification from city officials regarding the proposed parking enhancement district (PED).

The PED legislation would extend paid street parking in some areas until midnight. As proposed, the South Side Flats would serve as a pilot area, with the extra funds financing expanded police and public safety services on East Carson St.

The letter, sent to Mr. Kraus on March 10, calls for: an open community meeting to provide input on hours of enforcement and how the change should be communicated to the public; data from the past year on the number of officers assigned to South Side; and the city’s projections for revenue created by the PED and the projected number of officers assigned/funded under this plan.

Mr. Brannan said no formal response has yet been received from Mr. Kraus.

However, he called the councilman that day, and was told a response to the letter “is in process.”

In other news, Barbara Rudiak, of the South Side Community Council (SSCC), said a South Side church crawl on April 10 drew about 400 participants, or the same number as last year.

She also reported the SSCC planning committee met twice to plan the formation of a public safety/code compliance initiative in the South Side similar to Oakland’s Oakwatch.

The latter works to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood by enforcing codes on negligent property owners, housing and parking violations, disruptive behavior, underage drinking, and more.

The SSCC parking task force also met twice on parking solutions, and is working with the mayor’s office and Mr. Kraus’ office on the matter.

The plan is for community input, with recommendations forwarded to the mayor’s office.

The Historic South Side Home Tour of homes on the Flats and Slopes will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 14. Tickets are $14 until April 30; $18 May 1-13; and $20 on the tour day. Children under 12 are not permitted.

Check-in at UPMC Mercy South Side Outpatient Center.

Next, Thom Barry, of the South Side Chamber of Commerce, said organization volunteer hours from January to March totaled 691.

The 2016 Summer Golf Classic, sponsored by the Chamber and the South Side Bar and Restaurant Association, will be held on Aug. 8 at the South Hills Country Club. The event benefits the South Side Welcome Center -- which welcomed 1600 visitors from January to March -- and promotes public safety and responsible hospitality on the South Side.

For more information, email: info@southsidechamber.org , or call 412-431-3360.

Next, Dawn Lorincy, of the SSSNA, said Earth Day Cleanup in South Side Park will take place in the park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 23.

Mary Ellen Solomon, Duquesne University’s director of government relations, said students will be moving out of, and into, the neighborhood as Commencement is May 6.

The Brashear Association’s annual new artist art show, featuring the work of Pittsburgh Phillips K-5 students, will be held on May 5, 3:00-5:30 p.m., at Carnegie Library, South Side.

The next forum meeting will be on May 10.

 

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