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Politics & Government

Affordable Housing Measure Approved by Planning Commission

Pittsburgh City Councilman Daniel Lavelle is one step closer to delivering on a promise to constituents that affordable housing would be a key part of the revitalization of the Hill District.

The Planning Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of a proposed change to city code governing specially planned districts, or SP districts.

“Specially Planned Districts are those districts like Southside Works, Station Square … the Pittsburgh Technology Center, and Washington’s Landing,” said zoning administrator Corey Layman.

The proposed change would require that developers make an effort to include at least 30 percent affordable housing in SP districts. Lavelle said it's not a mandate, but rather a suggested goal.

“We’ll have to hold a public hearing as well, and then we’ll have the conversation around should Specially Planned Districts have to have 30 percent of the housing there be affordable housing,” Lavelle said.

Lavelle said the average income in the city of Pittsburgh is $32,000/year. In the Hill District, it’s only $18,000.

“The goal is really to allow those who are already here to be able to stay and thrive as the city grows, but also to make sure we can attract people at all price points,” Lavelle said.

The councilman said he’s working on developing a comprehensive affordable housing policy for the city, which he hopes to introduce sometime in 2015.