Pittsburgh zoning board sacks Steelers’ seat-painting plan at Heinz Field
The Pittsburgh zoning board has denied an appeal by the Steelers for permission to paint Heinz Field seats in the form of a sign, ruling that it constitutes a “roof sign” prohibited by city zoning regulations.
PSSI Stadium LLC, a team affiliate, sought permission to paint seats on the north side of the stadium, arguing that it should be exempt because it would be an “interior element” and not visible from the outside.
A zoning administrator in April determined that the city’s zoning code prohibited the sign. The Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment agreed in a seven-page decision released Thursday.
“Because PSSI Stadium did not specify what words or logos might be included on the proposed sign, it did not definitely demonstrate that the proposed sign would be a ‘non-advertising sign,’” the board noted in the decision, adding that PSSI also “offered no credible evidence or testimony that the proposed sign … would not be visible from the exterior.”
The team has not decided whether it will appeal to Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, according to attorney Shawn N. Gallagher, who represents the Steelers.
“We disagree with the decision and we’ll review it and consider our options,” Gallagher said. “After we review the decision, we’ll make a decision on whether to appeal.”
Under the zoning code, signs on the inside of buildings that are not designed to be visible from the outside and are not used for advertising are “permitted in any district with unlimited size and interior location.”
Several city residents lined up in opposition to the Steelers’ sign, saying it would detract from the city’s landmark hilltop vistas and architectural ambiance.
The Steelers argued that Highmark Stadium, home of the Riverhounds soccer team, has “Hounds” printed on seating and that PNC Park features center field shrubbery spelling out the name “Pirates.”
The zoning board said the Riverhounds were granted a variance for the sign and that it was intended to identify only the team. The Steelers did not apply for a variance, the board said.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .