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Hill CDC Public Statement

Lower Hill District Preliminary Land Development Plan

January 2, 2015

 

            The Hill CDC and key Hill District stakeholders have been working for the past two years to finalize an historic agreement that protects the community’s interest as the Lower Hill District 28-acre site is redeveloped.  The 28 acre site is public land and owned by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Sports and Exhibition Authority (SEA). In September of 2014, the Pittsburgh Penguins, City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and Hill District community represented by the Lower Hill District Working Group/Hill CDC signed an agreement.  The agreement is entitled Community Collaboration and Implementation Plan (CCIP).  (The CCIP can be found at  http://www.hilldistrict.org/ccip).

 

            With the Penguins now moving through the  regulatory process to gain approval of their Preliminary Land Development Plan (PLDP) and Specially Planned District (SPD) for the 28-acre Lower Hill District site, the Lower Hill District Working Group / Hill CDC  asked the Penguins to explicitly acknowledge their obligations under the CCIP, and to incorporate the compliance with the CCIP into the approval process, just as the Penguins had agreed to incorporate the recommendations of the traffic study and geotechnical studies into their approvals.

 

            The Penguins declined our request, and would not agree to abide by the conditions of the CCIP as part of their Preliminary Land Development Plan.  The Penguins also flatly refused to consider a separate agreement with the Lower Hill District Working Group / Hill CDC which would acknowledge the Penguins’ obligations under the CCIP.

 

            We have significant concerns that the Planning Commission’s failure to include the CCIP as a condition of approval creates a significant risk to the two years of work that took place to create the CCIP. The CCIP agreement sets the benchmarks for the Lower Hill District site’s socio-economic goals, and, therefore, its terms must be incorporated at every stage of the development. 

 

            The Hill CDC’s concerns with the Planning Commission’s actions are not limited to matters involving the CCIP.  The Planning Commission also approved 100% parking exemption on the site, significant building heights and conditioned their approval on an SP Zoning Ordinance that has not yet been adopted. The Planning Commission also gave the Penguins an unlimited time for the Penguins to file an appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision, but did not afford the same rights to the Lower Hill Working Group and Hill CDC.

 

            The Hill CDC strongly supports the Lower Hill’s redevelopment, and is pleased to hear that United States Steel will be a key anchor tenant on the site.  United States Steel’s decision to locate their new world headquarters in the Lower Hill District is further evidence that the Lower Hill District is a world-class development site.  It is critical, however, that the Penguins honor their written agreement and therefore ensure that this once-in-a-generation development opportunity also benefits and honors the broader neighborhood in which it sits.  We believe that all of this can be accomplished very quickly and, in particular, through the new SP Zoning Legislation that is being considered by the City. We remain committed to working with all interested parties to make an appropriate development plan a success for all.

 

www.hilldistrict.org | 412-765-1820 | info@hilldistrict.org

Serving the Greater Hill District of Pittsburgh, PA