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  #2461  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2019, 10:58 AM
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Jonboy1983 Jonboy1983 is offline
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Looks like three Oakland NIMBYs have banded together in an attempt to get a judge to overturn the ZBA approval of the new 10-story Walnut Capital office building in Oakland (PBT link - openable in incognito mode)

I'm really pessimistic about this. It seems that every time some randos willing to hire a lawyer appeal a ZBA approval, they win in court.

Realistically, what the city should do is a comprehensive rezoning/upzoning. We shouldn't rely upon these special variances to get the big projects done.
I forget if zoning updates are done every 5 or 10 years, but I agree. I know my township updated ours after about 6 or 7 years. That was a months-long process as there were many drastic changes that needed to be addressed.

Even when you just adopt a comprehensive plan, things change, and the zoning, land use, SALDO, etc all need to reflect that change. So yes, I agree that it's probably time Pittsburgh updates its zoning ordinance since things are drastically changing. Wasn't there an article recently in the Business Times about Oakland possibly going vertical, like really vertical (couldn't read the article since I don't have a subscription)? Me thinks zoning definitely needs to reflect that.
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  #2462  
Old Posted Yesterday, 2:04 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Originally Posted by Jonboy1983 View Post
I forget if zoning updates are done every 5 or 10 years, but I agree. I know my township updated ours after about 6 or 7 years. That was a months-long process as there were many drastic changes that needed to be addressed.

Even when you just adopt a comprehensive plan, things change, and the zoning, land use, SALDO, etc all need to reflect that change. So yes, I agree that it's probably time Pittsburgh updates its zoning ordinance since things are drastically changing. Wasn't there an article recently in the Business Times about Oakland possibly going vertical, like really vertical (couldn't read the article since I don't have a subscription)? Me thinks zoning definitely needs to reflect that.
The biggest changes in zoning in Pittsburgh in recent years have been the Uptown Public Realm and the new riverfront zoning. Both of them involve substantial up-zoning for height, reduction in parking minimums (by 50% in riverfront zones, down to no parking minimums in parts of Uptown).

Besides that, there hasn't been much. The new inclusionary zoning in Lawrenceville is arguably a big thing, but unlike other city's inclusionary zoning codes, it pointedly doesn't include any upzoning. There are incremental changes to the zoning maps which happen as one parcel at a time shifts (often due to the campuses of the universities growing and the EMI-zoned area having to expand). But I think it's been over a decade since the city attempted comprehensive rezones of individual neighborhoods.

At minimum, I feel like the city needs to do the following:

1. Revisit the Oakland Public Realm areas, and consider expanding them. I'd personally expand the public realm all the way through the area zoned RM-VH (the "apartment block" part of North Oakland).

2. Establish new "Public Realm" districts for the Baum-Centre Corridor and Downtown East Liberty.

That should cover the majority of areas where high-intensity development is taking place in the city. In the longer run I'd like to see a simplification of the exceedingly complex city zoning map. Realistically we're not going to eliminate areas zoned for single-family homes, but ideally everywhere else would become zoned for mixed-use at various density levels, barring a few areas still set aside for heavier industrial uses. Basically merging together all the areas now zoned RM, LNC, UNC, NDO, NDI, and most of UI together into one new zoning category.
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  #2463  
Old Posted Yesterday, 7:58 PM
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Jonboy1983 Jonboy1983 is offline
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
The biggest changes in zoning in Pittsburgh in recent years have been the Uptown Public Realm and the new riverfront zoning. Both of them involve substantial up-zoning for height, reduction in parking minimums (by 50% in riverfront zones, down to no parking minimums in parts of Uptown).

Besides that, there hasn't been much. The new inclusionary zoning in Lawrenceville is arguably a big thing, but unlike other city's inclusionary zoning codes, it pointedly doesn't include any upzoning. There are incremental changes to the zoning maps which happen as one parcel at a time shifts (often due to the campuses of the universities growing and the EMI-zoned area having to expand). But I think it's been over a decade since the city attempted comprehensive rezones of individual neighborhoods.

At minimum, I feel like the city needs to do the following:

1. Revisit the Oakland Public Realm areas, and consider expanding them. I'd personally expand the public realm all the way through the area zoned RM-VH (the "apartment block" part of North Oakland).

2. Establish new "Public Realm" districts for the Baum-Centre Corridor and Downtown East Liberty.

That should cover the majority of areas where high-intensity development is taking place in the city. In the longer run I'd like to see a simplification of the exceedingly complex city zoning map. Realistically we're not going to eliminate areas zoned for single-family homes, but ideally everywhere else would become zoned for mixed-use at various density levels, barring a few areas still set aside for heavier industrial uses. Basically merging together all the areas now zoned RM, LNC, UNC, NDO, NDI, and most of UI together into one new zoning category.
Regarding that mentioning of the rezoning of the Riverfront and other areas, I want to say that was fairly recent - I remember that being discussed at length on this forum either late last year or early this year.

I'd say you're on par with both of those points above. The city does need to do a more comprehensive rezoning of different areas. It seems as tho they've started with the Riverfront and other aforementioned areas, but I do agree that it needs to expand to Oakland/East Liberty, etc as well. These areas are changing drastically. Naturally, Baum-Center is going to be the main corridor linking Oakland and East Liberty, so that should definitely be rezoned accordingly.

RM, LNC, UNC, NDO, NDI, and UI are quite the number of different zoning districts and are quite confusing. Normally, communities categorize all zoning districts as commercial, (C1, C2, C3, etc) residential (R1/2/3), Industrial (I-1/2/3), and often have zoning overlays to indicate more specific types of uses or architecture (minimum height overlay, historical overlay, etc). This, to me anyway, keeps it simple. Then again, we are talking about a large city and not a borough or smaller city. Still, wouldn't hurt to re-categorize the zoning districts to make them simpler to comprehend.

Anyway, I came across this article regarding an update of sorts on the Brickworks in the Strip District. It looks like they're going before the Pgh Planning Commission tomorrow:

https://www.post-gazette.com/busines...s/201906170022
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