UPMC St. Margaret seeks approval for expansion plan |

UPMC St. Margaret seeks approval for expansion plan

Tawnya Panizzi

PITTSBURGH: Administrators from UPMC St. Margaret will go before Pittsburgh City Council next week seeking approval of a long-range master plan for possible expansion.

Council will hear the hospital’s proposal during its meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday. If approved, the plan would set in place a framework for potential construction of a 500-space parking garage and a medical office complex.

But, the proposal first was subject to recommendations by Aspinwall Council, which worried that hi-rise construction would obstruct the flavor of the adjacent borough residential area. The hospital campus is located within the City of Pittsburgh’s borders but one of those borders abuts the borough residential area along Delafield Avenue.

Borough council first met with hospital officials in April to voice concerns over dwindling green space and congestion at the site. Aspinwall officials sought assurance by hospital supervisors that the residential feel would not be disturbed for residents who live along Delafield Avenue.

Councilman Joe Noro worried in particular that the hospital was moving away from its plan to maintain open space and that it is trying to serve more people than it was originally intended to serve. Mainly, Noro wanted Aspinwall to have early input on the hospital’s master plan because once approved, he feared that construction would potentially run amok.

It seems that the early negotiations were satisfactory for Noro and other council members.

“We tried to make all the concessions necessary to make Aspinwall residents comfortable with the plan,” said hospital spokeswoman Mary Josefoski.

The most significant change to stem from discussions was to exchange the locations of a proposed parking garage and medical office building. If built, the office building would now sit closer to Delafield Avenue in an area originally intended for the parking garage.

“The impact would be lessened, if it’s ever built, for residents on Delafield,” Josefoski said.

The other major victory for borough council was the height of the proposed structures. The following guidelines have been tentatively agreed upon by both sides:

  • If any portion of a parking structure is within 100 feet of Delafield Avenue, it can be no higher than 25 feet.

  • Any portion of a garage that is 100 feet or more away from Delafield Avenue can be 35 feet height.

    That agreement would allow for either a two-tiered garage that is 25 feet on the side closest to Delafield and 35 feet high on the other side, or a 35-foot parking garage that is 100 feet or more from the street. As first proposed, the facility was to be built about 60 feet from Delafield Avenue and as high as 30 feet — with borough council requesting that the hospital lower the parking structure a half-story into the ground. The new provisions will be easier to accommodate and seem to be amenable to both the borough and the hospital.

    “We are asking them just to be more considerate of Aspinwall,” said Councilman Joe Giuffre. “We would like them to give our residents consideration just as if they were residents of the city.”

    Giuffre said that while council has no jurisdiction over Pittsburgh zoning laws, council members wanted consideration given to the special circumstance.

    “We got a lot of support from city council,” Giuffre said. “We’re pleased with the outcome.”

    The hospital already was granted approval on its plan from the city’s planning commission. Josefoski said that Pittsburgh Council’s approval of the master plan is a matter of protocol that went hand-in-hand with the hospital’s submission to the city of a long-term growth plan. There is no immediate work planned, she said.

  • TribLIVE commenting policy

    You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

    We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

    While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

    We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

    We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

    We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

    We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

    We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.