Phase III Community Development Meeting

As part of the process to select a site for Phase III of the Choice Neighborhood Development project, the Larimer Consensus Group held a community meeting on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at the Kingsley Association. More than 100 community members attended the meeting. State Representative Ed Gainey, City Councilman Ricky Burgess, and project staff from the Housing Authority and the City of Pittsburgh were also in attendance. As part of the process to select a site for Phase III of the Choice Neighborhood Development project, the Larimer Consensus Group held a community meeting on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at the Kingsley Association. More than 100 community members attended the meeting. State Representative Ed Gainey, City Councilman Ricky Burgess, and project staff from the Housing Authority and the City of Pittsburgh were also in attendance.
The meeting time was reserved exclusively for a discussion of Phase 3 / 4 siting. A high-level review of the possible sites within the community phase III was presented to the community. After a robust discussion, the community voted in favor of Option C as the Site for the phase III development. There are some barriers within this site that must be addressed in a timely manner. Stay tuned.

COMMENTS AND CONCERNS OF RESIDENTS AND THE COMMUNITY/HOME WATCHERS ASSOCIATIONCOMMENTS AND CONCERNS OF RESIDENTS AND THE COMMUNITY/HOME WATCHERS ASSOCIATION

A need to understand exactly what’s going on – Clarification of the developers’ plans.

• Residents were still confused.  Did not have a clear understanding of the exact details of plan A and plan B.

• Felt information/plans kept changing.• Wanted better clarity and understanding of the plans.

• Residents were concerned about Plan A – it would mean destroying an operating business (a bakery) that exists on the proposed development site.  Residents don’t want new development at the risk of losing existing business.  Input from residents is the business owner is not keen on selling.

• Residents recommended using the vacant land across from the bakery.

• Some residents were for the plan(s) as long as they improved the look of the community.  Want to see something done with the school.  All for it becoming something.

• There was concern regarding home values – wanted to know if development would increase or decrease values of their homes.

• Some residents liked the sites identified within the plan.  Felt it will attract young families with children. It will add depths to the community and bring foot traffic in.  They want traffic to move up and down Larimer.

• Residents voted to move forward with the modified Plan A.  Modifications were made based on their concerns and issues.  After the vote for pursuant of Plan A, residents were encouraged to think about a Plan B just in case Plan A did not work out.Preserving the Green Space

• Residents want to ensure the green space is preserved.    – the village greens.

• The Choice grant was in part attained due to the existing green space within Larimer and the plans for retaining and expanding this green space.

Recommendations for developers to use vacant Lots or dilapidated buildings
• Wanted to know why vacant lots by the bridge were not being developed instead of tearing down existing property.
• Wanted to know why the four large vacant lots to the side of the school were being used for development.
• Wanted to know why development couldn’t be done in areas that need rehabbed or fixed.

Feel developers are not getting input from everyone
• Homeowners want their voices heard; are feeling they are not able to speak.
• It’s the residents’ choice / right to tell developers what is needed and where they want things in their neighborhood. Although it was stated that residents’ input was attained, many stated “no one came to their door.” Resident stated “we take pride in our community. We don’t trust the government and here is the government telling us what they will do.”
• Residents feel no money has been put into the preserving the community, especially the business district. They felt they were lied to about the intent.

Other concerns, ideas and comments
• Residents don’t want clutter on Larimer Blvd – want businesses, homes people can buy and a nice park.
• Want a plan that’s inclusive, not just along the boulevard. The Blvd. is a gateway to the community. Need next phase to add depths. Putting housing along the Blvd. will put a gate that keeps people out.
• Want the preservation of housing and retail.
• Retail must be on the Larimer avenue otherwise it will not work.
• Want greenspace on sides and hillsides to remain.
• Resident who was moved out of Larimer in Phase 1 wanted to know what the delay with her moving back, into the Phase 1 houses.
• Mother of a new resident spoke on how it has been a great experience for her 27-year-old son. He brought a home in Larimer and was able to acquire funding to rehab his house. Feels there is a lot of funding left and that residents “just have to seek it.” Response was this is not an equitable process for everyone. It was confirmed that money for repairs is not available to everyone; it is based on specific blocks. LCG is working on ways to make this a more equitable and fair, expanding resources to more homeowners and improving the business district, rebuilding. Residents were encouraged to come to LCG monthly meetings to find out about these resources. Residents need to attend monthly meetings to give input and get information. Meetings are 1st Thursday of every month. Are currently seeking new members.
• Going forward, residents want documentation from developers that confirms what was discussed and agreed upon in the community meetings. They want this documentation in writing, with signatures.