Also: Nonprofit plans a hub for cottage industries and community event space on Chatsworth Ave.
By Juliet Martinez
Two development activities meetings happened in place of the Hazelwood Initiative community meeting in August. Community members gathered online and in person at Community Kitchen Pittsburgh to hear the presentations and offer feedback.
Neighborhood planner Ose Akinlotan explained that the Department of City Planning requires developers to gather public input. Projects that meet certain criteria must schedule the meeting with the help of the registered community organization.
Zoning Board meetings are hosted on Zoom and streamed on YouTube Live on the Pittsburgh City Planning YouTube page. To join the Zoom webinar, use the link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85171125255 or call 301-715-8592 with Webinar ID: 851 7112 5255. If not testifying, watch the YouTube Live stream to allow those testifying to be able to join the meeting. To provide public comment, you can:
• Join the virtual meeting and use raise hand function to request to speak.
• Telephone in to the meeting and use the raise hand function by pressing *9.
Zoning Board of Adjustment notices are online at https://pittsburghpa.gov/dcp/upcoming.
Negril Curbside: 5282 Second Ave.
The owners of Caribbean food truck Negril Curbside hope to establish a 1,500-square-foot sit-down restaurant at the corner of Second Avenue and Melanchton Street. They will need a zoning variance before they can proceed with the project. After that, they may need to address accessibility concerns meeting participants brought up.
The zoning hearing for this project is scheduled for Sept. 7 at 10 a.m.
Food-truck owner Stan Allen presented along with project architect Kento Ohmori. Mr. Ohmori said they are seeking a use variance because the lot is zoned for residential use. Mr. Ohmori said the building has non-residential lots near it, so the city should allow the restaurant. The building is across Second Avenue from Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church and across Melanchton Street from the Hazelwood Healthy Active Living Senior Center. The recycling facility is nearby and Dylamato’s Market is down the street.
The eatery will occupy the lower level of the three-story building. Mr. Ohmori said an un-permitted business operated there in the past. The office of Allen Demolition is currently on the second floor. They plan to convert the top two floors into a residential unit.
The design of the restaurant shows the entrance several steps down from the sidewalk level. Meeting participants raised concerns about accessibility. Mr. Ohmori said they are focusing on the zoning first and will address accessibility issues afterward. He said the current restrooms are too small for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Participants discussed whether an alternate entrance could be accessible, but said access should be the same for non-disabled and disabled people. Another urged the team to talk with people living near the building to gain neighbors’ support.
Pastor Benjamin Jannsen of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Chapel spoke in their favor. He said the Negril Curbside food truck has been a good neighbor. He said the staff turn down the music in the truck during church services.
Mr. Allen said the restaurant will be open from noon to 10 p.m. and will not have a liquor license. Because of its small size, the restaurant does not have to provide parking spaces, Mr. Ohmori said. Meeting participants asked if Mr. Allen could put up signs asking patrons not to park on the sidewalk.
Main St.: 4822 Chatsworth Ave.
A: The front of the Main St. media center will feature large display windows and wrought-iron balconies. B: A view from the corner of Hazelwood and Chatsworth avenues. The design team plans to install flower planters in the windows. They will plant three trees to replace a large tree they have to take down. Images courtesy of Main St.
Main St. is a nonprofit that helps small businesses and entrepreneurs get tech services and training. It is the charitable arm of DeLoje LLC, a digital media and services company based in Hazelwood. The nonprofit will have offices on the second floor of the three-story, 15,000-square-foot building at 4822 Chatsworth Ave., said Lori Rue, executive director of Main St. Their zoning hearing is not scheduled.
Lori and her sister Georgetta Rue founded the organization in 2017 to help Black-owned small businesses and other enterprises build capacity. They offer web development, multimedia and video production and training on business technology. They also offer development support through strategic and business planning and grant writing.
The solid brick building will have large ground-floor display windows and balconies with wrought-iron railings on the upper floors.
The lower level will offer a large event space for makers, entrepreneurs and small businesses to have pop-up stores. They can also give virtual or in-person presentations. Dividers will make it possible for up to three events to take place at the same time.
The building’s upper level will have an open-air courtyard and more meeting space. Loading docks behind the building will open onto Osprey Way. They will submit a use variance request to the zoning board and City Planning to build a structure for small to medium conferences and events.
Georgetta said the sisters’ late mother taught them the importance of cottage industries, makers, mom-and-pop stores and small businesses.
“The people who gave us that vision aren’t here anymore,” she said. “We’re working to actualize their vision and their voices.” Learn more about Main St. at https://www.themainst.org/.
Juliet Martinez is the managing editor of The Homepage.