Posted on MFE thread but Stu thought it deserved it's own thread. So reposted.
I found this (see below as add media button broken) on a friend’s facebook page.
Didn’t feel this was important enough to start a new thread, since it is only tangentially bike related, but it looks like someone is trying to get a house on Beechwood Blvd rezoned so they can pack in 12 single family houses. This will, of course, add to the traffic on Beechwod, and Beechwood is a big commuter route. The other issue is that if this goes through, will other people start looking for money and sell their property for more multi-family projects, adding much more to the traffic load than just this project alone.
This house is right at the busy Beechwood/Forbes/Beacon/Dallas intersection.
Anyway, again, it is tangentially related, but figured it would be of interest to the bike pgh community.
Drat! The media uploader isn’t working. Anyway, what the sign says is an orange hearing notice for 1830 Beechwood Blvd. Nesby LLC wants to build “12 new single family detached dwellings.” Hearing is Sep 22 at 1030 am at 200 Ross Street, first floor. Plans are available to be looked at on the third floor Board of Adjustment department during business hours in the same building.
That intersection, even in a car, is really dangerous. I drive that intersection every day on my commute to work. Coming from the environmental center, you stop at the stop sign, and traffic coming from Dallas has the right of way EXCEPT if they are making a left.
But, many drivers don't seem to understand that they have to stop if they are making a left there.
Plus, left turns coming from the opposite side of beechwood have the right of way because they don't have a stop sign
Also, the bike lane sort of ends and if you're going straight on beechwood, you have to merge into traffic.
I think Sq. Hill needs more housing of that type, but that intersection is an embarrassment. I hope that its improvement will be part of the discussion.
BTW, denser housing is good on a number of levels. It tends to be cheaper and more affordable. Squirrel Hill is a great place to live but a single family house there is out of the price range of a lot of middle class families these days. And it's easier to implement public transit if people if housing is more dense. It would be great if more people lived in denser housing in Squirrel Hill, and not so many spread out in the suburbs.
That intersection might not be a great place for denser housing, but pretty much any place in Pittsburgh you can find nearby sucky intersections. At least there are nice wide roads, with bike lanes, nearby.
There was a blog post about this that I can't find now. Turns out the developer is making 11 units, not 12. Price tag of $900k each.
+1 for moderately-dense housing development. The intersection may need work but that shouldn't prohibit the development of denser housing. Although it is generally a beautiful area and I hate to see it change, denser housing in an urban area is good for us. I just returned from California where they blocked so many dense housing projects, they have no where for anyone to live now. Sure Pittsburgh has plenty of housing available but let's not start a trend of blocking good development.
Here are some other things to consider (while falling out of BikePgh’s purview):
The proposed developer said the existing house at 1830 Beechwood is “uninhabitable” – this is unlikely given the beautiful online sales photos and virtual tours, magazine & newspaper features that highlight this high-end Art Deco beauty. The asking price from $1.5-2.5 also further confirms this!
Precedent setting – should zoning allow these variances, will other area homeowners begin to tear down their houses when they can’t sell them (perhaps because asking price is too high) and try to do the same.
If zoning allows this house to be demolished through granting variances, there are no guarantees of what will be built and when– we have cases of “developer blight” where the existing building is torn down and plans change and then nothing happens on the property. This 1920 Art Deco mansion will never be able to be recreated again. What will be built in its place, whether by this developer or another, will be nothing close to the quality of this palace (solid oak parquet floors, 13 in thick exterior walls, etc.). And think about environmental aspects:
Buildings from the past were built to last (100-500 years) while our newer structures have a shorter expected life span (40-50 years typically and for new sports stadiums, only about 20 years). While LEED certified buildings are to be commended, the greenest building is the one already built! The National Trust for Historic Preservation calculations indicate that it takes 35-50 years for an energy efficient new building to save the amount of energy lost in demolishing an existing building (and if a new building will only lasts about 50 years then it won’t pay off plus you have lost the social and historic fabric that existing buildings provide).
It is important to maintain the integrity of the residential character of this desirable city neighborhood (it’s what attracts people to Squirrel hill in the first place). Otherwise, the neighborhood could be dramatically altered in a negative way with speculative development, tear downs. Why have zoning anyway if developers just get to do what they want?
I'm another +1 for moderately dense housing.
Well-builts ritzy houses in Squirrel hill aren't a particularly endangered species.
They cleared a hillside on route 28 in Aspinwall a few years ago and then maybe 2 years terraced it. Now it is just barren land.