Bloomfield residents trying to keep UPMC from placing transformer on Cypress
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.