Thursday, June 12, 2014
About 20 people attended a zoning board meeting this morning to speak out against the Pittsburgh Penguins' plan for developing the lower Hill District. They also hoped to hear an update on the Penguins' proposed housing plan, which they say will exclude low-income residents.
"The Penguins have not met with the community for many many months," said Carl Redwood from the Hill District Consensus Group.
But representatives for the Penguins declined to speak at the meeting. Instead the public received an update from the Sports & Exhibition Authority on infrastructure developments at the site.
Few members of the public were permitted to speak and the group was told the meeting wasn't being recorded for the public record.
"I'm deeply concerned with the lack of transparency," says Marimba Milliones, president of the Hill Community Development Corporation. "There's no reason it couldn't be recorded."
Community representatives said they have had few opportunities to engage with the Penguins and some worried they would move forward with their plans for the lower Hill site without including community input.
But the plan must be approved by the City Planning Commission and City Council and both of these processes allow for community input.
"There is a preliminary land development plan, but that plan has to go before the planning commission so there is the opportunity to be engaged," said Tom Ryser, who was representing the SEA. "I don't know when this is going to happen but there is going to be an opportunity for public comment."