Bottom Dollar wants to build a store on Penn Avenue at Pacific Avenue and has been through some meetings at which the public has divided roughly down the middle of Penn. Garfield is for it and Friendship is for it BUT....
The parking lot is proposed to be on the corner, and design professionals in Friendship are aghast that a parking lot would be on a corner. Corners are supposed to be anchor places, even significant places. Parking lots are necessary evils and minimum numbers of spaces are required by zoning code. The number of slots depends on the size of the building and other considerations about the use of the property, and the available number of spaces is also at issue in this case.
Weighing in, the Friendship Preservation Group’s official resolution is this: “The FPG supports the proposed food store, but within the limits of the Pittsburgh Zoning Code and the Penn Avenue Master Plan. We support the Near Neighbors in their discussion with the developer to reach a mutually satisfactory solution.”
The near neighbors are concerned about trailer trucks pulling into and out of the store from Pacific, a residential street. If Bottom Dollar would flip its design so the parking lot would be on the other side of the store, the air might clear and everyone who cares about aesthetics would be happier and a neighborhood deficient of groceries would eventually have them.
Bottom Dollar’s reps come back to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a continued hearing on Sept. 20, and so will a number of people from Garfield and Friendship to weigh in. The time of the hearing is listed at 10.10a. Don't hold me to that time. The times listed are never when the hearings actually are held.
It could be a good show.
Last time everyone faced off before the ZBA, Councilman Ricky Burgess tried “to play the race card” as one indignant attendee called the 9th district councilman’s insinuation as to why some people were against this store. (Garfield is largely black and Friendship is largely white but, in my new effort to promote brown as the color of all of us, I will describe Garfield is more brown than Friendship.)
The opponents I talked to said this is an aesthetic issue. I know people in Friendship and don’t find that hard to believe. Why not get a store and an attractive site at the same time? If Bottom Dollar really wants to be there and really thinks it’s a good business proposition, their people will figure out a way to make the parking situation work on the design side, and they really should, because Garfield deserves a store and high aesthetics, too.