Recap from Housing For All: Community Feedback & Call to Action

Lawrenceville United, Lawrenceville Corporation, Councilwoman Deb Gross, and the Department of City Planning held the third and final “Housing For All” community meeting on Monday, November 5th from 6-8 p.m. at Goodwill of Southwestern PA’s Workforce Development Center. The meeting focused on the proposed Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD) for Lawrenceville that would implement inclusionary zoning across the neighborhood. Please see below for materials and notes from the meeting:

Please follow the links below for recaps of the previous two meetings:

Next steps:

  • Sign the petition to support the Lawrenceville Inclusionary Zoning IPOD and share it with your neighbors!
  • Speak an upcoming City Council standing meeting to voice your support for inclusionary zoning! Contact info@LUnited.org or 412-802-7220 for more information.

Recap from Housing For All: Inclusionary Zoning as a Tool to Preserve Affordability

The second of three “Housing For All” community meetings was held on Wednesday, October 17th at 6 p.m. at Goodwill of Southwestern PA’s Workforce Development Center. The meeting focused on Inclusionary Zoning as a tool to preserve affordability. Please see below for materials and notes from the meeting:

  • Presentation from Lawrenceville United & Lawrenceville Corporation
  • Video introducing Inclusionary Housing
  • Presentation from Department of City Planning
  • Meeting notes from Q&A + break-out groups
  • Follow up questions that were submitted are currently being answered and will be posted here when complete.

The third community meeting, Housing For All: Community Feedback and Call to Action, will take place on Monday, November 5th from 6-8 p.m. at Goodwill’s Workforce Development Center (118 52nd Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201). The building is fully accessible. Dinner provided. Childcare available by advance request to LU at 412-802-7220.

For a recap of the first meeting held on 9/28/2018, Housing For All: The State of Housing & Displacement in Lawrenceville, please click here.

Recap from Housing for All: The State of Housing in Lawrenceville

Many thanks to the Office of Councilwoman Deb Gross, Lawrenceville Corporation and the Department of City Planning for partnering on this effort.  The hosting partners provided updates on the state of housing in Lawrenceville, displacement, and what’s being done about it. Thank you to all of the attendees who shared their stories and experiences.

Be sure to check out Lawrenceville United’s Presentation here: The State of Housing in Lawrenceville

We also have the notes that reflect the stories and experiences shared by the session attendees: Housing for All Group Notes

The next event in the Housing for All series happens on October 17, 2018 from 6-8 p.m. at Goodwill’s Workforce Development Center at 118 52nd Street – Inclusionary Zoning: a tool to preserve affordability  

Joint Statement Regarding Holy Family Site

June 20, 2018

Joint Statement Regarding Holy Family Site

Lawrenceville United and Lawrenceville Corporation are pleased that 44th and Summit Development LLC has voluntarily withdrawn the demolition permit application for the Holy Family church, filed on May 29, 2018. Completed in 1940 to serve the growing Polish immigrant population in the Lawrenceville area, the church is a contributing building to Lawrenceville’s current nomination to the National Registry of Historic Places and one of the neighborhood’s most iconic buildings.

Lawrenceville United’s (LU) mission is to improve and protect the quality of life for all Lawrenceville residents. Lawrenceville Corporation (LC) serves as the catalyst and conduit for responsible growth and reinvestment in the Lawrenceville community. Together, LU and LC steward development in the neighborhood, ensuring that individual projects comport with neighborhood plans and values, and contribute to the authenticity of the neighborhood. As a part of this effort, our organizations created a community process that provides a forum where new development projects can be discussed, vetted, and measured against community plans and priorities.

Several years ago, LU and LC worked with the property owners on a robust community process for their proposed redevelopment of the former Holy Family Church and School for residential housing. This community process included large community meetings as well as smaller focus-group sessions with residents from different impact areas. Hundreds of residents participated in the process. In response to articulated concerns, the owners revised their plans to reduce the overall unit count while increasing the parking. Notably, the adaptive re-use of the historic church structure was central to the plans. LU and LC publicly supported these revised plans. Documents from this community process are available on LU’s website at www.LUnited.org.

Our organizations were hit unexpectedly with the recent demolition permit application without advance notice, and we viewed the proposed demolition as a serious deviation from the agreements and commitments made by the property owner. In response, the LC and LU co-submitted a nomination to the City’s Historic Review Commission for historic listing of the Holy Family Church.  Prepared by Preservation Pittsburgh with support from the Lawrenceville Historic Society, the nomination ensures that—for the near term—any and all proposed exterior alterations of the church must be reviewed and approved by the Historic Review Commission before they take place.

44th and Summit Development LLC withdrew their demolition application on Friday, June 16th and released a statement indicating that they are committed to working with the community to formulate a new path forward. LU and LC appreciate this orientation and remain fully supportive of responsible redevelopment on the property that aligns with community priorities.  The continued dilapidation of a vacant and blighted 1.5-acre site in the heart of Central Lawrenceville is not beneficial to neighbors or the community at-large. We look forward to working in good faith and in earnest with 44th and Summit Development and other partners on a community-supported plan for redevelopment of the site that includes the preservation of the sanctuary.

We thank Mayor William Peduto, Councilwoman Deb Gross, Preservation Pittsburgh, Lawrenceville Historical Society, and Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation for their support in preserving this historic church.

Inclusionary Zoning Explained

As Lawrenceville’s housing market has exploded, one of Lawrenceville United’s top priorities for the neighborhood is preserving affordable housing. One tool LU has advocated for is Inclusionary Zoning (IZ). For more information on Inclusionary Zoning, please see the brief on IZ below. To download as a printable document, please click here.

 

Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) Explained

 

What is Inclusionary Zoning? The simplest explanation for inclusionary zoning programs is that they either incentivize or mandate developers to include affordable units as part of new housing developments of a certain size. For instance, if a developer were to build a housing project of 250 units, under IZ the developer might be required to sell or rent 15% of those units (37 units) to lower-income residents.

  • 886 jurisdictions have inclusionary housing programs across the U.S., reporting over 170,000 units created.
  • IZ programs are highly customizable to fit the particular needs of different communities. Some programs are required, some are voluntary. Some focus on creating low-income housing, others focus on more middle-income housing. Other key considerations include what unit size IZ becomes triggered, what percentage of affordable units are required, the duration of affordability, whether it’s applied to rental housing or for sale, and how to offset the cost of creating affordable units to developers so that new housing developments are still feasible.

 

What are the benefits? Inclusionary zoning is a proven tool for creating new affordable housing at a time when many communities desperately need it and public funding for housing has been declining for decades. By leveraging the private market, IZ is one of the few ways to create new housing for low-income families without significant public subsidy. It can also help prevent or mitigate gentrification and displacement when housing prices and land values increase in a community. Studies have also shown that it is an effective tool for locating affordable housing in higher-income neighborhoods and areas with better performing schools.

  • In Montgomery County, MD and Southern CA, half of all affordable housing production is created by IZ.

 

Why is it needed? In Lawrenceville, over 600 housing units have been created in the past couple years, yet almost none of them have been for the working class families that have been the roots of Lawrenceville for generations. At the same time, the appreciation of housing costs has led to displacement of low-income families. With large parcels still developable, IZ has the potential to harness development in the neighborhood to ensure that housing options are available for all income levels and so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of a neighborhood that residents have worked to make safer and less blighted, with improving schools and better access to transportation and local jobs.

  • Over half of Lawrenceville’s Housing Choice Voucher units (120 low-income families) were lost between 2011 and 2016.
  • An IZ policy would have created 84 new units of affordable housing with Lawrenceville’s recent development.

 

What’s being done about IZ locally? In May 2016, the Affordable Housing Task Force identified IZ as one of its key recommendations to address the gap of over 17,000 affordable units in Pittsburgh. Mayor Peduto issued an Executive Order in February 2017 to create an Exploratory Committee that would further assess the feasibility and structure of an IZ program. Specific recommendations were released in November 2017 to City Council and the Mayor, and suggested mandatory inclusion of 10% affordable units city-wide in projects over 20 unit, with a by-right tax abatement offered. Councilwoman Gross sponsored amendments to the zoning text for Urban Industrial in December 2017 that requires 30% affordability in projects over 20 units. LU is currently about to launch a community process in Lawrenceville to pilot IZ that could serve as a model for other neighborhoods or a city-wide policy.

 

 

Additional Resources

Update on Lawrenceville Nomination to the National Registry of Historic Places

Representatives from Michael Baker International, the City of Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office attended the 10th Ward Block Watch on 2/13/2018 to provide an update on efforts to nominate Lawrenceville to the National Registry of Historic Places through the National Park Service. For more information, please see the presentation below. Presentations will also be provided at the 9th Ward Block Watch on 2/20/2018 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Lyceum, and at the 6th Ward Block Watch on 2/26/2018 at 7 p.m. at St. Augustine’s Church, Lower Room.