We have received dozens of calls over the last several months from residents concerned about the development proposals being floated by Oakland Gateway Ventures (OGV) for Bates Street. There is indeed cause for concern. In addition to the negative impacts that would occur to our neighborhood, the integrity of our zoning districts are threatened and the community’s vision articulated in The Oakland 2025 Master Plan is disregarded. This is absolutely unacceptable. This project is not a done deal; get involved so we can keep it that way.
Providing information to our community on proposed development is a top priority for OPDC. Below is an update of what we currently know about this proposal. Please contact us at 412.621.7863 ext. 15 for more information.
- OPDC staff and Coalition of Oakland Residents members met with Scenic Pittsburgh, the organization now representing OGV, in January 2017. They made clear OGV’s intentions to move forward with a 16-22 story high-rise building on Bates Street despite this being illegal and despite the community’s strong opposition over the last two years. This proposal has significant problems that have potential to negatively affect Oakland:
- Zoning of the site allows only six stories.
- The developer wants to build on Zulema Street and Zulema Park, using public land for private development. The community has clearly articulated opposition to taking public property for private gain. This situation is similar to the recent battle between East Liberty residents and a developer over Enright Park.
- The developer also plans to construct an 1,800-car parking garage further down on Bates, on property zoned Hillside. Zoning does not allow a commercial use in the Hillside zoning district. Only single-unit residential is allowed in Hillside zoning district.
- The proposed development will bring more cars to an already-congested area.
- The proposed development disregards The Oakland 2025 Master Plan vision of sustainable living that supports quality of life.
- The proposed development disregards our community values, community spaces, and community process.
- Several residents report that the OGV threatened exercising eminent domain powers to acquire their property. However, only the government can exercise these powers to seize private property for major infrastructure improvement projects (such as a highway). OGV is a private developer that has no power to exercise eminent domain. Residents are by no means under any obligation to enter into sales agreements with OGV and should report these types of threats to their elected officials and/or the police, especially if they feel they are being harassed.
- We in the Oakland community believe that development should comply with existing zoning and occur through a broad-based community process engaging Oakland Planning and Development Corporation and Oakland residents whereby the community feedback is reflected in changes to development proposals. Sustainable and beneficial community development projects do not include the rezoning of residential areas.
Take Action Now
This is not a done deal. Go to www.opdc.org/meetings to learn about your local community groups, and voice your concerns to:
Mayor William Peduto
Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Kevin Acklin
Council President Bruce Kraus
Councilman Daniel Lavelle
Councilman Daniel Gilman
PA Representative Jake Wheatley
PA Representative Dan Frankel
PA Senator Jay Costa