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Development & Transportation

City Releases New Neighborhood Plan Guide To Direct Development In Pittsburgh Neighborhoods

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Katie Blackley
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90.5 WESA
Pittsburgh's Neighborhood Plan Guide was based in part on neighborhood plans developed by community members in Homewood and other city neighborhoods.

The Pittsburgh Department of City Planning on Thursday released its Neighborhood Plan Guide, which provides a strategy for community development that guides the city’s policies and public investments in its neighborhoods.

The guide provides a roadmap for planning department officials, registered community organizations and neighborhood residents to work together while creating proposals for the policies, projects and goals they want to accomplish.

If their neighborhood plans are adopted by the City Planning Commission, the city then will help neighborhoods implement those plans by creating new zoning and development that align with their objectives.

The guide provides directions and support resources for the planning phases.

It is set up to “guide community organizations or other partners’ activities in that neighborhood to make sure that they’re all working towards common goals,” said Andrew Dash, director of city planning for the City of Pittsburgh.

“Residents really have the opportunity through these neighborhood plans to guide the direction of their future and to really outline a future to the city of what they want to see and how they want to see their neighborhoods improve and change,” he said. “Whether that is how new development takes shape in their community to how the city invests in infrastructure in their community, neighborhood plans create an opportunity for the community to come together and create that direction.”

The guide is based in part on previous neighborhood plans from Uptown, Hazelwood, Manchester-Chateau and Homewood. After obtaining public comments, the planning department updated the guide to address community concerns, such as incorporating equity and inclusion into the planning process.

“The more people that participate, the greater depth to community that we have because these community members are the ones who have the greatest knowledge of their place,” Dash said.

The planning commission adopted the guide in March 2020.

According to Dash, this release marks the first time the city has created a comprehensive guide for neighborhoods to follow when planning for community development.

“In the past, there were a lot of times communities created their own plans, or even that the city created their own plans in neighborhoods, but they really acted more as informal guidance,” he said. “We wanted to be able to create the program to provide more weight to those neighborhood plans, and we wanted to create the guide to be able to help communities understand how a neighborhood plan gets created.”

While planning officials and registered community organizations make up much of the guide’s anticipated audience, Dash said he hopes the resource provides transparency for residents who are curious about or want to be a part of the development process.

“We’re really hoping that what we’ve released will be able to provide Pittsburgh neighborhoods with the tools that they need to be able to start their own planning process, or if the city’s working with them to lead the planning process, that they get that deeper understanding...” said Dash.

Oakland and the Hill District have begun creating their own neighborhood plans since the guide was developed, Dash said. Other neighborhoods in the city, including Bloomfield, Marshall-Shadeland, and Brighton Heights, are expected to begin the process in the next year.