Residents oppose Steelers’ request for sign on Heinz Field seating |

Residents oppose Steelers’ request for sign on Heinz Field seating

Bob Bauder
Pittsburgh Planning Department
The Steelers are seeking Pittsburgh zoning board approval for a sign in end zone seats at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment is considering a request from the Steelers for a sign in lower end zone seating at Heinz Field. Some city residents complained that the sign would be visible from outside the stadium and detract from Pittsburgh’s architectural ambiance.

Five Pittsburgh residents lined up Thursday in opposition to the Steelers’ request to create a sign in the end zone seating at Heinz Field, complaining it would detract from the city’s landmark hilltop vistas and architectural ambiance.

Representatives of PSSI Stadium LLC, a team affiliate, appeared before the Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment to appeal a zoning administrator’s determination that the sign would represent a “roof sign” prohibited by zoning regulations.

The Steelers argued that it should be exempt because it is an interior element.

The zoning board has 45 days to render a decision.

“There’s a provision in the code that makes the distinction between exterior and interior signage,” said Downtown attorney Shawn N. Gallagher, who represents the Steelers. “In a nutshell, signs that are intended to be in the interior of a building are permitted. It’s our position that the proposed sign is an interior sign and exempt from the code.”

Under the zoning code, signs on the inside of buildings that are not designed to be visible from the outside are “permitted in any district with unlimited size and interior location.”

The Steelers have not yet determined what the sign might say. The team is proposing it for seating in a lower end zone on the north side of the stadium.

“To my knowledge we haven’t made that determination whether it’s a logo or something that’s spelled out,” said Nick Sero, a spokesman for the Steelers and Heinz Field. “I think we were going to see if we could do it first.”

Downtown resident Deborah Rohe, 66, urged the zoning board to deny the request, saying she was greeted in her living room on Wednesday by a flashing stadium scoreboard.

“My concern is the proliferation of signs,” she said. “When we’re promoting our city, it’s the views; it’s the architectural ambiance. That’s why we’re opposing this sign.”

Other residents complained the sign would detract from Mt. Washington views.

“I’m here to oppose the large sign with its certain visibility from Mt. Washington and the (Monongahela) Incline,” said Mt. Washington resident Carly Bellini, 22.

Dave Demko, assistant director of Scenic Pittsburgh, said large signs are inappropriate and detract from city aesthetics.

“It becomes a slippery slope,” he said. “Once you start allowing larger signs, then you create the context for even more larger signs.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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