Happenings meeting: What are the next steps for Inclusionary Zoning in Lawrenceville?

A robust community process was held in the fall of 2018 that included multiple well-attended community meetings discussing the state of housing in Lawrenceville and the prospect of inclusionary zoning as a way to ensure affordability as the neighborhood grows. (For all the presentations and notes from that process, click here.)

After resounding testimony at City Council public hearings and the Planning Commission by many scores Lawrenceville residents and supportive housing justice advocates from across Pittsburgh, City Council unanimously approved the Inclusionary Zoning Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD-6) and the Mayor signed the ordinance on July 25th of 2019.

What difference has inclusionary zoning made for Lawrenceville so far? And what’s next? Please join us for an update on inclusionary zoning to preserve affordable housing in Lawrenceville, and hear about possible next steps to take action! Contact us at info@lunited.org or call us at 412-802-7220 to RSVP and receive the Zoom info to join the video meeting or call in by phone on December 15th between 6:30-8pm.

Update on 27 51st Street (Sears Outlet)

Spear Street Capital (the owner/developer of the site) will be having a Zoning Board hearing on Thursday 2/6 at 9 a.m. at 200 Ross Street in the first floor conference room. This project is under the relatively new Riverfront (RIV) zone, and they are seeking relief from the zoning code for the following:

 

  • Exceeding the maximum number of surface parking spaces (75 permitted and 520 requested)
  • Exceeding the maximum number of parking between a building and the river (15 permitted and 96 requested)

Note: they are not seeking a variance to exceed the maximum number of parking spots allowed under the RIV zoning. The variances are for the way these parking spots are oriented (i.e. in a surface lot, as opposed to a structured parking facility, and the number between the building and the river).

 

LU, together with LC and Riverlife, has been negotiating with Spear Street since the community meeting in October to address concerns that were brought up and create community benefits. The plans and commitments have changed since the community meeting, so please see attached for the following from the developer:

 

  1. Revised site plan
  2. Tree plan for the site
  3. Renderings of the riverfront amenity space (which will be open to the public)
  4. Full zoning package
  5. Summary of improvements
  6. Traffic impact study
To quickly summarize some of the commitments that Spear Street has made:

 

  • Constructing a 1.7 acre green space along the river open to public with a 10′ wide riverfront trail for biking/walking, and 32 public bike parking spaces (and a public bike repair station).
  • Addition of a Healthy Ride station on 51st Street.
  • Planting 349 trees on site, including 60 trees of specific species requested by us that are shown to most reduce particulate matter air pollution, 1,550 shrubs and 3,000 perennials/grasses.
  • Contributing a minimum of $75,000 towards community benefits, including a new bus shelter & pedestrian safety improvements at 51st & Butler.
  • Commitment to hire Minority & Women Business Enterprises.
  • Commitment to join the Pittsburgh 2030 District, which supports building owners to strive toward 50% reductions in energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by 2030.
  • As part of effort to reduce vehicle trips to the site: providing 150 bike parking spaces with showers and lockers, requiring future tenants to be JobPerks employers, providing carpool parking spaces in priority areas of the lot, and designating a Transportation Demand Management coordinator that will report on progress.
LU plans to attend the Zoning hearing on Thursday. If you have any questions or input, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 412-802-7220 or email me at Dave@LUnited.org.