Share This Page

Bloomfield residents trying to keep UPMC from placing transformer on Cypress

| Thursday, June 12, 2014, 6:14 p.m.

It may not be until late summer or early fall that a decision will be made on where a transformer will be installed to serve a new parking garage in Bloomfield.

UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside hospital wants to place the transformer on its property, facing Cypress Street.

Bloomfield residents, led by the Bloomfield Citizens Council, oppose the location at Cypress and Winebiddle streets for what they call an “industrial transformer,” which they say would alter the neighborhood environment significantly.

Alice Mitinger, chairwoman of the Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment, said on Thursday that, after nearly two hours of testimony, legal briefs on the position of each of the parties would be required within four weeks of each receiving a transcript of the testimony. The board would make a decision within 45 days after receipt of the briefs.

Following the meeting, UPMC issued a statement. In part it read:

“UPMC chose the current location for the electrical transformer as the most sensible spot based on consultations with Duquesne Light and outside engineering experts and key related operational factors. We have followed all of the regulatory processes and have abided by the Master Facility Plan approved by City Council. Per the community's concerns, the 4-foot-tall transformer is safe, quiet, and will be essentially hidden by surrounding 6-foot-tall attractive fencing and landscaping.

“However, before moving further specifically on the transformer placement, UPMC is evaluating the community's concerns voiced today as well as the numerous other factors involved to complete the project,” said Michael Ciaeppetta, project manager for UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside hospital.

The hospital is building the 1,000-car garage off Baum Boulevard between Gross and Cypress streets.

Ciaeppetta said the site is closest to the utility pole where the wires are located and that all wires will be underground or not visible.

Andy Zins, speaking for the residents, opposed the location. He and others suggested there are other sites around the garage where the transformer would be better suited.

Ciaeppetta said to locate the transformer elsewhere would cost about $74,000, but residents said that's not much when the garage is a $25 million project.

The plan to place the transformer at Cypress Street was a shock to Justin and Victoria Huston, who 18 months ago bought a home on South Winebiddle Street.

“We planned to live there, raise our family there, but now we believe the location could be dangerous because of the transformer,” Justin Huston said.

Ciaeppetta said the transformer would be within a box that would shield it from residents.

Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7843 or sspatter@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.