Learn more about the Zoning Code proposals
Maps depicting the current and proposed zoning are provided below and the proposed zoning text can be found online: http://pittsburghpa.gov/dcp/dcp-hearing-notices.html. The proposal will be the subject of a community meeting on August 29, 2017 where staff will explain the proposal, answer questions, and take comments. All community members and property owners are invited to attend. The public meeting will be:
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
NeighborWorks Meeting Room
710 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
The proposal will be the subject of a public hearing before the Pittsburgh City Planning Commission on September 12, 2017 starting at 2:00 PM. Based on the proposal and citizen input, Planning Commission will take action on the proposed zoning changes and make a recommendation to City Council. The Planning Commission requests citizen testimony, either in the form of oral testimony at the hearing or in writing using the enclosed response form. The public hearing will be:
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Starting at 2:00 PM
Civic Building, First Floor Hearing Room
200 Ross Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
If you have any questions about the zoning or how to participate in the process, please call the project manager, Derek Dauphin, at (412) 255-4897 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Testimony presented by individuals will be limited to three minutes per person. Testimony presented by a spokesperson representing an organization or a group of people will be limited to five minutes per person. Those intending to testify on behalf of an organization/group shall provide a “letter of authorization” from the appropriate duly appointed officers before testifying. Prepared comments or reports in printed form may be presented to the commission to support testimony or in lieu of testimony. Testimony should not be read from a prepared statement, but may be generalized or summarized as testimony with the prepared statement handed to the commission for their review.
Why do we need zoning amendments?
The purpose of the new zoning is to address issues identified by the community and through staff analyses during the Uptown / West Oakland EcoInnovation District Plan process:
- Small parcels, low building height limits and requirements for large amounts of parking combine to make it difficult to construct a new building leaving many undeveloped lots or surface parking where existing buildings were demolished. The combination of surface parking and vacant lots throughout the district is one of the main reasons residents, employees and students report feeling unsafe in the district, particularly at night.
- The loss of row houses, apartment buildings and commercial/industrial buildings results in many gravel or grass vacant lots and the current zoning doesn’t allow for adaptive reuse of structures, and in many cases, would not allow the prior structure to be rebuilt.
The proposed Uptown Public Realm District (UPR) aims to address these issues, to reduce unnecessary barriers to new residential and commercial development, to incorporate the goals of the EcoInnovation District Plan, and to establish conditions conducive to growing the business incubator and innovation functions of the district.
The UPR will replace the existing zoning in Uptown with two subdistricts, each with their own Development Standards, Parking Standards and Uses. The new zoning also establishes a height bonus system to encourage developers to respond to community needs in their projects.
What are the Uptown Public Realm subdistricts?
The new code condenses and simplifies the existing eight zoning districts in the area into two subdistricts: the Mixed-Use Core and the Residential Core. The boundaries drawn for these subdistricts are based on detailed conversations with the community about desired uses and density.
- The Mixed-Use Core is focused near the PPG Paints Arena along Fifth and Forbes, up to Dinwiddie Street where the community identified the need for a gateway to the neighborhood and the opportunity for more density. These locations are where residents felt denser mixed-use development would benefit the community as a whole.
- The Residential Core covers the neighborhood that is currently made up of single family homes, apartment buildings with ground floor shops, and small scale industrial/manufacturing facilities. Generally, the community liked the existing mix of uses and the scale of buildings, and recognized that the existing separation of uses block-by-block was inhibiting infill development.
No changes are proposed to the Educational / Medical / Institutional (EMI) district that covers Duquesne University and UPMC Mercy Hospital, and most of the areas currently zoned Hillside (H) District. The existing zoning and proposed new subdistricts are identified on the maps on the following page. The proposed zoning text for both subdistricts can be found at: http://pittsburghpa.gov/dcp/dcp-hearing-notices.html.
What is the Performance Points System?
In addition to the new zoning classifications, the City is proposing a new bonus system that would be available to development in the Uptown Public Realm District. These amendments to Chapter 915 would establish a menu of height bonuses that new buildings or renovations can use if they satisfy community goals identified during this planning process, including:
- Reducing energy consumption through efficient building design
- Generating electricity on-site renewably or connecting to district energy systems
- Creating new affordable housing units in mixed income projects
- Treating stormwater through green infrastructure
- Reusing existing buildings or encouraging new development compatible with existing structures
Bonus points are awarded when a project meets a goal, with more points awarded for projects that have bigger impacts in the district. The bonus system is highly flexible and can be utilized by a wide variety of development projects. The more the system is used, the more the community will see new development that embodies its goals as identified in the Uptown / West Oakland EcoInnovation District Plan. Community members will still have their opportunity to comment on projects when they are reviewed by the Planning Commission.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a number of reasons you may have received multiple notices related to this project. Property owners were noticed if they own property within the area to be rezoned to the Uptown Public Realm District (UPR) and/or if they own property outside this area if the property is within 150 feet of the new UPR. There is a gray box at the top of the front page of the notice that states whether your property is in our outside the rezoned area. If you own properties in and adjacent to this area, you should receive two notices. Additionally, the City uses addresses from the Allegheny County Office of Property Assessment which includes duplicates that could result in the same address receiving multiple notices. Aside from the text in the gray box on the first page of the notice, the content is identical across notices.
View a copy of the zoning ordinance on the City of Pittsburgh official website: http://pittsburghpa.gov/dcp/dcp-zoning-dev-review.html
A copy of the zoning ordinance is also available for inspection at the Department of City Planning, Land Use Control Division, 200 Ross Street, 3rd Floor.
Yes. If you currently have a Certificate of Occupancy on file for the current use of your property, you do not need to do anything as a result of the zoning change. For example, a two dwelling-unit building presently located in a zone that allows a two-unit occupancy, but is being rezoned to a single-unit classification would not need a new certificate. That two-unit building becomes non-conforming and can remain two units.
If you own a single-family home, the zoning change will not affect your property because you home is permitted in all residential zoning districts. A Certification of Occupancy is not required for single-family homes. Call the Bureau of Building Inspection File Room at 412-255-2195.
You must file for a Certificate of Occupancy at the Department of City Planning, Land Use Control Division (200 Ross Street, 3rd Floor or call 412-255-2231). This will then allow the continuation of your use of the property, which will be known as a “legal non-conforming use” if the zoning changes.
All uses other than single-family residential must have a Certificate of Occupancy.