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Affordable housing zoning arrives in Polish Hill and Bloomfield as Gainey signs bill

Mayor Ed Gainey signed an expansion for inclusionary zoning on May 2, 2022.
Ariel Worthy
90.5 WESA
Mayor Ed Gainey signed an expansion for inclusionary zoning on May 2, 2022.

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey has officially signed a bill to expand inclusionary zoning — a tool to create more affordable housing in new developments.

The rules mean that when developers build projects with 20 or more housing units in Bloomfield and Polish Hill, they will be required to make at least 10% of those units affordable to lower-income residents.

"We have seen incredible price pressure in [Lawrenceville, Bloomfield and Polish Hill] specifically," City Councilor Deb Gross said at a Monday-morning signing ceremony — the first event of its kind for the Gainey administration.

Gross said those communities had once been "[n]eighborhoods where you used be able to buy a house starting out. ... No matter what kind of job you had you could rent an apartment. And those days are gone."

Inclusionary zoning was originally tested in Lawrenceville. But Gross said advocates in Polish Hill and Bloomfield have been meeting for years to address affordable housing in their neighborhoods.

Gainey thanked Gross for her work in passing the legislation and said that affordability should be part of every development, so residents can share in the community's growth.

"We want to make sure our neighbors know their neighbors," Gainey said. "This is what it means when we say 'creating a city for all.'"

Gainey said officials have talked about expanding inclusionary zoning citywide — a pledge made during his campaign last year — but nothing has been put forward yet.