With that ongoing work, the parties have asked that Pittsburgh City Council temporarily postpone the public hearing set for tomorrow regarding zoning changes proposed for the Enright Parklet and Penn Plaza properties to March 22nd. The postponement will give planners time to bring a larger vision to the community — and give neighbors a voice in the design process — before the zoning plans are subject to a public hearing and City Council vote..
The comprehensive plan will include the parklet in Friendship, and enhance it with a vision for how it can extend throughout East Liberty. But first, it will be taken to the community for its opinion.
The community plans come as months of work is also nearly complete to find housing for those in danger of being left without homes through the private redevelopment of the Penn Plaza site.
“This month is dedicated to the people of Penn Plaza,” Mayor William Peduto said. “Even though this is a private development, and the owners had every right to close their buildings, everyone is totally committed to finding homes for every last resident before the end of the month. This must remain our priority until we have succeeded.”
Two buildings at the Penn Plaza apartments in East Liberty are set to be demolished by owners Pennley Park South Inc. this year and next. The realty company was set to evict all residents last summer but through an agreement with Mayor William Peduto, state Rep. Ed Gainey, City Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess and other stakeholders the owners agreed to offer relocation assistance to residents, and agreed to phase the development to allow residents more time to live in their apartments.
To date thousands of dollars in relocation benefits have been paid by Pennley Park South to the tenants. Of 115 residents in 5704 Penn Avenue — which is the first building set for demolition — less than 10 were still seeking housing solutions as of this week. Attorneys for the realty company were working with relocation experts through Neighborhood Allies, the Penn Plaza Tenant Council and the Peduto Administration over the weekend to find apartments for all those remaining by the end of this week.
Zoning changes affecting the Penn Plaza site and the adjacent Enright Parklet were approved by the City Planning Commission in October and were scheduled to be the subject of a public hearing before City Council Tuesday. That hearing will still be held, but has been temporarily postponed to March 22 so that the planning process can occur for various amenities in East Liberty, including Enright Parklet.
Consultants at Fu Wilmers Design are currently engaged in comprehensive park planning for East Liberty, in conjunction with ongoing work they are doing on the planned Mellon’s Orchard site at Euclid Avenue and Station Street. Fu Wilmers held an initial meeting with Pennley Park South, the community and City Planning at which the partners agreed to a planning process to be held through mid-March.
After the completion of this process, Council will hold a public hearing to consider the proposed zoning changes.