A pair of new zoning amendments were introduced by the Pittsburgh City Council recently that would change how the city approaches new development proposals. The first would require “Affordable Housing Impact Statements” to be submitted as part of a project development plan in the review process.
The second plan would shift the development review procedure from the City Planning Commission to the City Council, specifically the city council member who holds a seat in the district of the proposed development. (mondaq.com, 2021)
Upon receiving an application, the council member would have 14 days to decide whether or not the proposal “implicates a significant community concern”. If it does, then the City Council would review the application instead of the planning committee. This process only applies to any developments over 8,000 square feet.
Allowing city councilors to identify local areas of community concern within their districts follows other trends towards more local and hyperlocal zoning.
However, some opponents of the amendment say that it will allow the city council to expedite the review process and make it more difficult for the communities affected by a proposed development to give input. (penncapital-star.com, 2021)
On the other hand, NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) groups opposing any new development that may include affordable housing have recently been successful at blocking several otherwise-popular projects in Pittsburgh, including a mixed-use project near the East Liberty Busway which had support from the mayor, city council, and transit advocates. (pghcitypaper.com, 2021)
A date has not been set for the final vote on the amendments, but one is expected at the end of 2021.