Decisions, decisions…

Please come to the membership meeting this month. There are several issues that the Civic Council needs to make a decision on, and the more input we have the more likely we are to make decisions that benefit the entire neighborhood. (Plus, honestly, we need a quorum to actually make a decision…and I begged the ZBA for an extension and we’ll look kind of goofy if we still can’t take a position.)

First up: The Stables building has been in front of the Historic Review Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustments this week. The Historic Review Commission has continued the decision to next month and asked the developer to address specific issues such as the proposed fourth story addition to the Stables, and design elements that more clearly differentiate the new addition from the historic building. AWCC has an option to make recommendations or raise concerns at next month’s hearing. The developers also managed to snag a spot on an incredibly crowded ZBA hearing agenda. (Apparently the next unscheduled openings are in April/May…I’m choosing to take that as a sign that there are lots of potentially interesting projects happening in the City, although I realize there are other possible interpretations.) However, because the hearing was scheduled after the developer’s presentation to the Membership, the ZBA agreed to give us 10 extra days to take a formal position and submit evidence. I want to make sure people are able to make an informed decision, so if there are specific pieces of information that people want to have in front of them at the meeting please send me a quick email at We will provide the most current plans available, although the density and height requests have not changed since the last presentation. (Please please help us get to quorum…my dignity thanks you.)

Light of Life will also be presenting a plan for a zoning variance. They are requesting to increase the height of the wall on the property on Ridge Avenue to better secure the property. They also have made some additional progress on a plan to overhaul how their services are distributed on the Northside. It’s still in the early stages but we expect them to return in the next few months asking for additional community input.

Also, the Pittsburgh Oldtimers are also going to be on hand to make a presentation to the neighbors.

Finally, I’d like your opinion on how we should make use of the crime reports that the Zone 1 police department has started producing at the NSLC safety committee’s request. I’m one of those people who avoids the evening news because I think it spends too much time reporting on “interesting” crimes and it ends up making me paranoid and depressed. (Facebook, mumble mumble…) On the other hand, I’m a lover of data for data’s sake, and do think it’s important that we have an accurate understanding of what’s going on in our neighborhood. It’s really hard to argue for more resources if the official reports don’t show any issues in the neighborhood. I’m waffling between just posting the reports on the website and actually sending them to the email lists. I welcome your thoughts on this.

Trade-off: There always seem to be trade-offs.

Catherine Serventi
President, AWCC