Lawrenceville United hosts Board elections each year to ensure that the Board of Directors of the organization is elected by the current membership and truly representing the priorities and needs of the community. LU has staggered elections, which includes at-large seats and by-ward seats, to ensure all areas of Lawrenceville are represented.
This year Lawrenceville United announced an open call for interested members to become a part of our Board of Directors. We hosted a Board Open House at our offices, where interested members were able to attend to learn more about the organization and being on the Board. Interested candidates submitted their applications, and LU’s Governance Committee reviewed those applications against our by-laws and conflict of interest policies to create a nomination slate for this year’s Board elections. Below you will find information on those candidates as well as a ballot that can be completed online, or download a hard copy and returned to LU in order to cast your vote. Candidates will be on hand at the General Membership Meeting on June 23, 2015 to introduce themselves. More information on our General Membership Meeting can be found here. Ballots can be submitted through the form below, in person at LU by June 30, 2015, or submitted at the Membership Meeting on June 23, 2015. The candidates elected will join our current members at the July 1st Board of Directors meeting. For a list of the current Board of Directors, click here.
2015 Board of Director Candidates:
As part of our application, candidates answered a series of questions. Full applications will be available by Tuesday, June 23rd. Complete bios are available (click each name for the link). We included their residency, occupation, and their response to what would they like to work on within the community below:
Tim Lavoie: Upper/10th, Assistant Public Defender, “I’d like to help with Responsible Growth issues to keep the neighborhood character and charm as it grows economically.”
Becky Thatcher: Central/9th, Business Development and Research Manager, “In a dream world, I would like to reactivate Lawrenceville’s riverfront and its accessibility for the community. Given some of the political and large-scale perimeters that come with that sort of initiative, I would also like to work short-term on better education, infrastructure, and relations between pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles.”
Cory Ricci: Upper/10th, Attorney, “I would like to continue to work in neighborhood beautification because it can lead to improvement in all aspects of the neighborhood.
Molly Szramowski: Upper/ 10th, Physician Assistant, “Monitoring the constant growth and development in the neighborhood to hopefully keep it in line with the best interests of residents.” (current board member)
Tony Ceoffe: Lower/6th, Site Manager, City of Pittsburgh Housing Authority, “Affordability in the housing market, public safety concerns, and responsible hospitality issues.” (current board member)
Steve Sokoloski: Central/9th, Regional Account Executive, “Affordable housing options, because I’ve seen too many of my own neighbors forced to relocate due to increased costs of housing in Lawrenceville.” (current board member)
Susan VanAlstine: Lower/6th, IT Professional, “Ensuring quality of life as we grow and making sure everyone has a chance to be heard.” (current board member)
Dora Walmsley: Upper/10th, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council/Outreach Coordinator, “Bringing our minority population into the fold. There is really no representation of these communities in our organization. Their needs, wishes, etc, are unknown to community planners.” (current board member)
LU issued an open call for interested members who were interested in serving on the Board of Directors. Those interested members appear on the ballot below. All current general members of Lawrenceville United who are at least 18 years old are permitted to vote in this election. 2014 dues must be paid in order to be considered a “current” general member (renew membership of sign-up here). You have three opportunities to vote:
You can complete your ballot at the General Membership Meeting on June 23rd.
You can complete the hard copy of the ballot and drop it off or mail it to Lawrenceville United so it is received by June 30th.
You can complete the online ballot below before June 30th.
All General Members in good standing (residents who are current on their membership dues) are allowed to vote in our annual board elections. Please review the candidates below and vote for no more than 8. Any ballot with more than 8 votes selected will not be counted.
The Zoning Hearing for this project will be held at 9:40AM on Thursday, July 25. The presentation shared at the February community meeting is available here: presentation.
A meeting was held on February 24 to discuss the new construction residential development of the lot/garden at 47th and Plummer. The developer, Randy Morris of Lowla LLC, attended with architect Andrew Moss of Moss Architects. The plans are still being finalized, and no zoning applications have been submitted yet.
Initial plans include:
-6 for-sale units with single-car garages on the ground floor and a shared driveway/courtyard behind them
-A single entryway to the courtyard and rear parking on Lycurgus Way
– There will be no new curb cuts made on 47th or Plummer as part of the development
-Units will be 2-3 bedrooms, each between 1700-2100 sq ft
-All units will face 47th Street
-To mitigate stormwater issues, pervious pavers will be used and 5 new trees will be planted in front of the townhouses. Tree pits and other landscaping will be used to catch stormwater.
-2 of the 6 units will have a 4th floor, all will have roof decks
-Pricing: 2 bedrooms = mid to high 200s, mid 300s for 3 bedrooms
-The developers plan to submit their plans to zoning in the next couple of weeks for approval. Variance requests will include:
-possible variance on height above 40ft (potentially 42 ft)
-2 rear setbacks and side setbacks for all units
As plans are finalized, LU will share updates with those who attended the meeting in addition to regular updates in our newsletter/ on the website. To review a copy of the presentation from the meeting, or to be added to the contact list for this specific project, please contact LU.
Randy Morris, of LowLa LLC, is the owner of a lot at 47th and Plummer St. He is working with Moss Architects to design plans for 5 to 6 for-sale units on the property. The initial community meeting is planned for February 24 at 6pm at The Estelle S. Campbell Boys and Girls Club, 4600 Butler St. The owner, along with architects, will present the development plans to the community.
The community garden at 48th and Butler is looking for its next garden steward. Garden stewards are tasked with the responsibility of watering and maintaining local gardens for all to enjoy. It is a two to five hour per week time commitment and a perfect outlet for any avid gardener looking to give their green thumb a workout. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Posted in Community Comments Off on Garden Steward Opening
Beginning Wednesday June 17th, the Lawrenceville Community Organic Garden will be hosting a weekly dinner for all children ages 18 and under. Through an alliance with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Food Security Partnership and the United Way of Allegheny County, the Community Garden will be home to all manner of food and activities from 6-8 PM every Wednesday evening. Come join the fun!
The text of Lawrenceville United’s testimony that will be presented to the Zoning Board of Adjustments during the June 4, 2015 hearing is below. There is a link to the PDF of the letter at the bottom of the post. Please contact LU with any questions: (412)802-7220.
June 4, 2015
Attn: Zoning Board of Adjustments
200 Ross Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
RE: Zoning Case 138 of 2015 – Willow Street (parcel 49-A-320)
Dear Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) Members:
On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of Lawrenceville United, I write this letter in regards to the proposed
redevelopment of Willow St, parcel 49-A-320 by Fort Willow Developers LP.
Lawrenceville United’s mission is to improve and protect the quality of life for Lawrenceville residents through
community engagement and advocacy, community restoration and beautification, and community planning and
development. As part of our work, and in partnership with the Lawrenceville Corporation, we have created a community process that provides a forum where development plans and projects can be discussed, vetted, and measured against community plans and priorities. As part of this process, the local community organizations are able to identify priority issues that will help guide conversations with the developer through the planning and entitlement processes.
As part of our process, Lawrenceville United and Lawrenceville Corporation, convened two community meetings with interested stakeholders and impacted residents – in October, 2014 and in April, 2015. Alex Simakis, Dan Rothschild, and their team, presented their proposed redevelopment of this parcel. Lawrenceville United supports the redevelopment, of this parcel, and specifically the use, scale, and design as it aligns with aspects of current community plans, including the Green Boulevard Plan and the Allegheny Riverfront Vision. We appreciate Mr. Simakis’ willingness to work with the community and to provide additional information as requested in order for LU and LC to more efficiently and articulately address concerns and answer questions.
Although we support the project, we do support with the following conditions/ qualifications:
– Traffic Issues: This project will have an impact on the narrow and already overused residential streets that sit adjacent to the project, as well as the failing intersections that will serve this project: 40th/ Foster specifically. We hope that the City carefully reviews the traffic analysis and works with the development team and appropriate agencies to address current and anticipated traffic issues.
– Parking and Transportation: Acknowledging and appreciating that the developer is providing more parking than is required, we encourage the ZBA, City Planning, and development team to work with the community to find comprehensive solutions to existing and anticipated parking issues given the number of residential units proposed for this part of the neighborhood. We also ask that should the existing adjacent residential area apply for residential permit parking, that these residential units not be eligible for the program. The ZBA has added this as a condition in other RPP areas in the past.
– Affordability: Mr. Simakis does not plan to develop housing for individuals with low-moderate income levels as part of this phase of the project. We encourage Mr. Simakis to include mixed income housing in any future phases of this development project, and request that City Planning and ZBA acknowledge that the creation of affordable housing is the community’s top priority.
– Construction: Mr. Simakis and his team will work with those most impacted to create a formal agreement related to construction impact and logistics (including but not limited to, limited hours of work and noise in the early morning and late evening hours, staging of construction equipment, street closures, noise, traffic patterns). LU will help to facilitate those conversations.
– Landscape Design: Lawrenceville is working to address low tree canopy and issues related to stormwater management. Mr. Simakis will work with the City’s Urban Forester and the community organizations to provide adequate greening, trees, and screening around the perimeter of the building, within any parking lots, and will also implement stormwater management practices.
– Public Space: In the community meetings, Mr. Simakis described a parklet along Willow Street, and a connection to the Riverfront through the original Bay 4, which would be open for public use. If possible, would like to formalize the commitment to keeping these amenities accessible to the public and greater community.
We thank Mr. Simakis and his team for his investment in the community, and for working with the community organizations and local residents to address concerns and questions, and expect the communication to continue as the project progresses. Thank you to the ZBA for your consideration, and we hope that you consider all of the requests and concerns raised by any other Lawrenceville residents.
“WE STAND WITH LU” UNITY RALLY TO BE HELD AT LAWRENCEVILLE UNITED
On Sunday, May 17th, Lawrenceville United’s (LU) truck was totaled in a blaze in the storage area behind the Lawrenceville United office. This incident was responded to by the Pittsburgh Fire Bureau and was under control before the fire spread to neighboring buildings, but the truck is a complete loss. An investigation is being conducted by the Pittsburgh Fire Bureau and Pittsburgh Police Bureau.
A “We Stand With LU” unity rally has been scheduled at Lawrenceville United’s office (4839 Butler St) on Tuesday, May 26th at 6:30pm. Lawrenceville United will be joined by elected officials, partnering organizations, business owners and other concerned residents. All Lawrenceville United supporters are encouraged to attend and stand united with their friends and neighbors as a sign of unity. If you have any information on this incident, please contact Zone Two Police at (412) 255-2827.
Lawrenceville United is an inclusive, resident-driven community–based non-profit organization focused on improving quality of life of Lawrenceville residents and stakeholders through community engagement and advocacy, community restoration and beautification, and community planning and development.
A meeting was held at the Boys and Girls Club on May 13th for Adam Kulik and Nicole Billitto to present their plans for The Gold Mark (formerly Salud). The Gold Mark is a proposed bar that will serve traditional and craft beer and cocktails ($3-$10) along with a limited food menu of classic bar food ($4-$10). There will be 15 seats at the bar, some high-top and bench seating in the back of the space and 2 café tables on the sidewalk. The goal is to create a safe, comfortable neighborhood bar atmosphere, and the target clientele is local residents aged 25+. Entertainment will include DJs on the weekends, and the owners plan to install soundproofing in order to lessen the noise in the area. Patrons will be encouraged to park on Butler Street, and a doorman will be present on weekends. Limited renovations on the space are slated to begin at the end of May, and the owners expect to open by August 1st. Residents in attendance raised concerns with existing conditions regarding nighttime parking and noise. LU will continue to work with LC to identify short and long term parking solutions, as well as work with business owners and public safety departments to address late night and early morning noise.
Below you will find a fact sheet with additional information about the project.
A meeting was held on May 6, 2015 at Constellation Coffee regarding Apteka. Apteka is a proposed affordable vegan/vegetarian restaurant at 4606 Penn Avenue led by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski. The single story building will have 32 tables and 10 bar seats, and the owners have filed for a liquor license. In addition to food (small plates $4-$6, large $7-$10), they plan to serve beer, wine and tradiational Polish cocktails. Outdoor, non-smoking, seating for 25 people will be available and ashtray stands will be available in front of the restaurant. Live entertainment, in the form of a DJ playing background music are part of the proposal. There will not be any bar signage, and some space for employee parking on Comrie Way. A full kitchen (with a hood) will be built out, and the electrical work will be redone. More information can be found in the posted fact sheets.
More than 15 countries were represented at this week’s Arsenal 360 Night, a celebration of the many cultural backgrounds of its students and their families. From pierogis to Somali Lahooh, families showcased their traditional foods while sampling many others. Students shared their cultures through singing, dancing, and storytelling. It was a great reminder of how Lawrenceville’s inclusive community makes it such a special place to live!