ShareThis Page
News

Urban Redevelopment Authority delays selecting development adviser

| Friday, Oct. 9, 2009, 12:00 p.m.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority voted Thursday to postpone hiring a consultant to help create a comprehensive plan that would identify the Hill District's needs.

The decision concerns residents who are worried that the public could be left out of the decision-making process for the 28-acre area surrounding the new Consol Energy Center — home to the Penguins, beginning next season. A community-benefits agreement — negotiated as part of the $300 million arena's financing — promised to address the neighborhood's needs.

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Tonya Payne, a URA board member, said she supports the delay because of doubts about whether CHPlanning Ltd. of Philadelphia could do the job.

"I'd rather wait a month and make more of an informed decision than make a decision knowing absolutely nothing," said Payne, whose council district includes the Hill. "People worked hard for the (benefits agreement), and I'm one of them. I want to make sure it's right and representative of what the community wants to happen."

Carl Redwood, chairman of OneHill — a coalition of community groups and businesses that negotiated the agreement for the neighborhood — criticized the URA's decision.

"They're going completely against the community process, but politicians frequently ignore the community process," he said.

If a plan for the neighborhood isn't ready before February, the Penguins could submit plans to the city's Planning Department without public approval.

The Hill District Master Plan Steering Committee, a group of state and local officials and community representatives including Redwood, gave preliminary approval in June to hire CHPlanning to guide the process. The URA received bids from 25 planning firms from across the country. Entering into a contract requires the URA's approval.

Redwood said his committee plans to move forward, even without a consultant.

"It's a setback in one sense, but what they're doing is not stopping things," he said.

The community-benefits agreement guarantees money to develop a grocery store and gives Hill residents the first opportunity for jobs created around the arena.

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.

click me