The Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing for this project was Thursday, June 23. LU submitted a joint letter with LC, outlining the concerns raised by residents during the previous meeting. LU did not take a position on the project.
9th Ward Block Watch Meeting, 6.21.2016
Hatfield Row – 4820 Hatfield
-Robert Smith, Red Swing Group
-Pam, Coldwell Banker
-Kim Ionadi, Red Swing Group
-Austin Smith, Red Swing Group
Showed 1923 map from University of Pittsburgh database
-houses likely built 1890
-Lanahan family owned parcel
-6 units historically in the lot, then there was a fire that leveled 6 buildings 15 or 20 years ago
-Red Swing proposal: 5 units with brick exterior, wooden garage doors, inlaid front doorways, 3 bedrooms, each unit has its own garage. Landing extends above roof.
-Rooftop deck is an upgrade; rooftop access will not be visible from street face.
-Standard amenity: off-kitchen deck behind each home, 2nd floor.
-Privacy fencing behind each home separating it from sidewalk along Blackberry.
-Developers would support RPP if other residents were in support (but no parking variances requested.)
-Austin met with city planning department already regarding stormwater planning; based on square footage of site, it does not trigger city’s requirement for a storm water management plan. Met with Josh Lippert to confirm plans; no pre-treatment system required.
Timeline: breaking ground in fall, construction well into 2017.
Planning to pre-market in late summer.
Will give phone number for construction concerns; use a website forum for regular updates.
Q & A
Each resident had the opportunity to ask one question and a follow up question, then ask additional questions at the end of the meeting once everyone had a chance to speak. Matt, Arun, and Austin are members of the presenting team, and the other names and addresses are provided where the resident shared them, to show their relationship to the project in question.
Andrew Chrzan. 4811 Hatfield – 5 foot variance is being requested on front setback. Have you considered a plan that would have same setback as rest of the street?
Arun: land was expensive so we wanted to include as much housing as possible. Didn’t want homes to be overly narrow. We wouldn’t have planned these without a garage due to buyer demand.
Follow up: why should your development be granted this setback? There is a lot of industrial traffic on Hatfield which strains the narrow streets.
Matt: Hatfield is actually a fairly wide right of way for this part of LV, sidewalk is 8-10 feet wide. At least half the houses on the street have zero foot setback. ZBA will adjudicate appropriate exceptions. Nothing will encroach on sidewalk from these. Houses will align with the house next door.
Dave Chrzan: owns a home on Blackberry Way and owns a property on Hatfield. Requesting 5 homes on site would result in very high density. According to code there is only room for 3 houses on the property. Why are you trying to cram 5 in the lot rather than 3? Total of 970sq ft being requested for setbacks.
Arun: 5 is conducive historically and fits contextually. 16 foot width is common for rowhouses in this style and setting.
Matt: Houses on Hatfield before were 13 foot. On-street parking or garages: either way a car will be taking up a space on the street.
Nan Dowiak, 48th Street. Concerned about curb cuts. Permanently taking a parking space. Isolates people to have an in-house garage which discourages interaction with neighbors. Would prefer a car to be parked on the site rather than a garage.
Matt: From an urbanist viewpoint, agree with assessment about garages. But there is no other solution according to city code for providing on-site parking. The only place one could bring a car onto the property is from Hatfield Street. They have made the design as engaging as possible to encourage interaction with neighbors.
Becky Jackson 4823 Blackberry: Disappointing that the design made the assumption that developer would get the setback. We have code that exists for a reason, to reduce extreme density. It’s presumptive design that you purchased the property requesting it.
Follow up 1: concerned about water on Blackberry Way; already basement flooding and this construction would make that worse.
Follow up 2: second floor decks – remove privacy from the Blackberry Way houses.
Matt: They approached design as best-case scenario; they will redesign if they have to without setbacks, but tried to get what is appropriate for the setting. Zero setback against school building request is supported – property owner wrote letter of support agreeing to this setback.
Austin: stormwater issue – Right now the rain water from the lot soaks into ground – once development is complete, it will fall from roof into rain gutter then pipes, tie into 15-inch pipe on Blackberry Way. Pipe will be videoed during the construction process; if it’s defective, PWSA must replace it. So it could potentially improve the situation.
Matt: second-floor decks – We could come to a design conclusion for appropriate screening; those residents would not want to be looking at Blackberry deck either.
Josh Bayer: Piping will be through the PWSA street line – sanitary and storm together? Isn’t there a requirement to put them both in the same sewers?
Austin: Connection is done in Right of Way, easement 5 feet before pipe. Where PWSA only has one pipe in the street for sanitary and sewer, they would have to connect them separately.
Phoebe, 4745 Hatfield: Will the Hatfield Street sidewalk be reconstructed during the process? Are there stormwater abatement plans that are part of that? Is there a possibility that combined sewer overflow problems would occur based on these changes? Considering pervious pavement?
Austin: Those problems are possible with or without this development. Sidewalk is being replaced in-kind, still impermeable. Pervious could create new issues of basement flooding. 70-80% of water will be taken in by pipes. Inlets should be added by PWSA, and residents can request that separately.
4814 Hatfield owners: Didn’t get any info about a zero foot variance prior to this meeting. Don’t they have to prove a hardship for variance?
Matt: When you have an adjacent setback, precedence is that requests typically do get approved. Front setback proposed – in line with the front face of their house.
Dave Chrzan: The zoning code provides for 5 feet on the sides. Overall reduced number of rowhouses would eliminate need for these setbacks. Oppose parking proposal.
Matt: Setbacks are contextual – reduced setback based on lot width; building against zero setback structures is an exception. Anyone could propose a legal curb cut to their property if they wanted to build a garage. This is a process through the Department of Public Works; who will just review the safety standard.