For now, it suffices to say that the Planning Commission was once again hoodwinked by a completely vague, unspecific, probably misleading legal non-opinion -- or else they used said non-opinion as an excuse to let the Mayor's will be done.
This time the advice was issued by our actual City Solicitor (who was prevailed upon to sit through whole ghastly meeting clearly just so he could respond to that "spontaneous" question from a commissioner), although the Commission easily could have voted according to their own reasonable interpretations of their charge, allowing the applicants to challenge that interpretation in court if necessary.
Instead, when a Commissioner asked [CORRECTED] whether it would be legal to delay approval of the Master Plan for the sake of completing the ongoing negotiations concerning benefits to the community, they were told twice very deliberately that "the issue of a CBA is not before you," which was not a yes or a no, and was clearly begging the question of whether or not they could legally take that responsibility upon themselves.
UPDATE: It is important to note that nobody was asking for a rejection of the Penguins master plan. That was underscored several times. The public was pleading for a two to four week delay, to allow the thrilling progress made through negotiations with the city and county to continue.
The master plan passed 5-3. Two of the no-votes announced themselves only well after passage was assured.
Commission member and Walnut capitalist Todd Reidbord took off somewhere just before public comments began. He returned to his seat at the table just after the public was finished. We thought that was particularly special.
There may be a few other ways to skin this cat, but it would seem the Hill lost a certain amount of leverage. We'll see what happens to negotiations after today.