On Tuesday, January 10th, the city Planning Commission denied LG Realty approval of their preliminary land development plans for the Penn Plaza site. This vote was delayed from a previous commission hearing in December, during which hundreds of community members, residents, and supporters came out to testify about the massive displacement, lack of community process, and harm inflicted by LG Realty.
Let’s send a note of thanks to the planning commission to let them know that they have the support of the community.
Pittsburghers for Public Transit, along with other organizations including Homes for All, Northside Coalition for Fair Housing, and the Enright Park Association, highlighted the developers’ blatant disregard for community process and the well-being of the residents, many of whom still have not found housing and face the imminent threat of eviction. They face the possibility of being displaced from a neighborhood in which they have lived and thrived for decades.
The proposed plan included up to four hundred units of market rate housing and a Whole Foods. The developer also misrepresented the size and design of the park and open space. Additionally, the only open, public meeting that was held was scheduled the night before the hearing in December, and no effort was made to speak about any part of the plans other than the design of the park.
The developer faced massive push-back both at that meeting and at the initial hearing the next day. It was clear to all in the room that the development was not in the interest of the residents or the community, and that we care what happens to our neighborhood. We care to make sure that Pittsburgh does not ignore the people of this city in its scramble for shinier, fancier developments.
The decision showed us that we are capable of causing change when we come together and stand in solidarity. People do have power, and we must remember more than ever that we need to act together to wield it.
The developers are currently in the process of appealing the decision, so the fight is not over yet! Let us celebrate our victories, but continue to fight harder for our communities, our neighbors, our friends. We’ll need it more than ever, in this fight, and for the many more in the future. Remember to send the note of thanks!