Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday: Going Through the Proper Process

In its new application, Lamar argues that the original permit was valid. But it also asks the zoning board to set aside rules that bar new advertising signs Downtown, restrict signs anywhere to 750 square feet, and cap their height at 45 feet above ground. The proposed sign would be 53 feet above the street. (P-G, Rich Lord)

The trip to the ZBA alone would not seem to satisfy the requirement that electronic message signs be subject to Conditional Use approval -- nor the one about amended Project Development Plans having to be resubmitted to the Planning Commission for approval.

Nor does it address the fact that our Zoning Administrator approved the original permit, signed it and notarized it herself, in a final delicious act of paranoid insularity.

Councilman Patrick Dowd said that in his view, Lamar is "actually going through the proper process."

Unless he defines "proper process" as simply walking into a government building and asking some public officials somewhere for guidance, then we disagree. The onus, it would appear, will be on Wrena Watson at the ZBA to disabuse Lamar of their misconceptions about the law.


Arthur Outen, who served as Schenley’s first African-American principal 38 years ago, went Lafean one better. He said not only is there no asbestos problem—there’s no asbestos.

“They removed at least 89 percent of the asbestos over the course of two summers in 1970 and 1971,” he said. “I don’t know if they got it all because they told me and my office staff to stay out of the way. I was also at McNaugher when they took the asbestos out of that school about 10 years later, so I’ll be telling that to city council.” (Courier, Christian Morrow)

It is prohibitively difficult to "go Lafean one better" on whatever it is he says. If this little nugget of information happens to pan out, the conversation switches abruptly from Save Schenley to Save Roosevelt.

Ms. Colaizzi said a referendum could be placed on the ballot to ask voters whether the Pittsburgh Public Schools should borrow nearly $80 million to renovate a building that's historic and beloved, but plagued by asbestos and other maintenance problems. (P-G, Joe Smydo)

Except for the facts that those numbers are heavily in dispute, and that everybody is seeking other methods of raising cash rather than borrowing it, this is a wonderful idea.

Ms. Colaizzi also lashed out at council, which has no legal authority over school affairs, for "putting their nose where it doesn't belong."

The only person who rightly has business with Schenley High School is Franco Colaizzi, without whom the School District would not have a single available tutor -- let alone an abundance of duly accredited, professional tutors who need the experience, need the money, and are not required to be in a classroom across town with the rest of their non-School Board parent-having classmates.


Girl Talk, the Pittsburgh laptop artist who rocks parties all over the world, released his new album today on his label's web site, (P-G, Team Effort)

This will be big news for some people.


  1. guest speakers welcome at zoning hearings and planning commission meetings

  2. Franco Colaizzi is a college student. He graduated from Allderdice in 2007. The tutoring story is just some old news.

  3. Also - the 76 million dollar price tag that Roosevelt keeps trotting out there to justify closing the school - that number is enclosed in a six page report that spends five pages explaining why Schenley should be saved and one page concluding that Schenley is absolutely worth the money. That report also says that abestos encapsulation would run from $3.5 million to $14 million, and probably be $10 million. It also states that per-square foot, it would be cheaper to renovate Schenley than any other school, and that post-renovation, it would last longer than most other current schools and any new schools.

  4. A story that's 7 months old is old news? Not in Pittsburgh where we're still gnashing our teeth over decisions made decades ago and those who made them.

    The Colaizzi tutoring affair is particularly significant right now as Schenley's fate is being discussed in light of "we have no money".

    Seems there's always money for nepotism in this town.

  5. Re Lamar

    Judge Joe James ordered Lamar back to the the Planning Commission to get site plan approval.

    Lamar doesn't have site plan approval. In fact they can't get it. The wired up parking Autority, owner of the building has to submit a revised site plan.

    Dowd doesn't seem to understand that part of the legal process.

  6. See today's pg. Shields has his own legal opinion that says the Council can pay its legal fees.

  7. thanks so much for keeping an eye out for me!

    the album is so good...

  8. This story is not over. Quite brazen of them!
    November 2011
    Theresa Colaizzi's son Franco gets another position in PPS - $3,686 at Brashear. Newest Board minutes p. 18