DEPARTMENT OF CITY PLANNING: RIVERFRONT IPOD

Riverfront IPOD

Riverfront IPOD recieved City Council approval and was signed into law by the Mayor!

The Riverfront IPOD passed through City Council with a Unanimous vote on May 24th and was signed into law by the Mayor on June 6th, 2016.

What does this mean?

The Riverfront Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD) is the first step in a planning initiative which will result in a permanent Riverfront zoning district that better reflects a shared vision for the riverfront. The Department of City Planning is working with a core committee of stakeholders to hire a consultant to lead the permanent planning and zoning process. 

What is an Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD)?

An Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD) is a tool that provides temporary zoning controls in a specific area of the City where existing zoning doesn’t provide sufficient standards for the area’s current activities. An IPOD does not replace an area’s base zoning, but rather adds appropriate guidelines.

Once approved, an IPOD can be in place for up to 18 months. It may be extended an additional six months with Council approval.

Previous IPODs in the City of Pittsburgh:

  • IPOD-1: Oakland, 2001
    • Converted to Oakland Public Realm District
  • IPOD-2: Walnut Street, 2002
    • Expired - no new zoning developed
  • IPOD-3: Baum-Centre, 2003
    • Converted to Baum-Centre Corridor Overlay
  • IPOD-4: Uptown, 2015

Why propose an IPOD on the riverfront?

Pittsburgh’s riverfronts were once predominated by industrial activities and current zoning reflects that history, with much of the riverfront zoned General Industrial or Urban Industrial. These zoning categories do not match well with Pittsburgh’s vision for the rivers as a public amenity, nor do they provide sufficient standards for the current residential, commercial and mixed-use developments taking place along the riverfronts.

The IPOD will improve predictability and clarity for communities, developers and the City by better defining the process and standards for development activities within the riverfront zone. These improvements will, in turn, protect peoples’ existing investments and level the playing field for new investors in the community.

Click here to view the existing zoning map for the City.

What is the extent of the Riverfront IPOD?

The Riverfront IPOD will be put into effect along all three of Pittsburgh’s rivers. Its boundary is determined by topographic features, existing infrastructure, and other adjacent zoning categories.  

Check out the interactive map below to zoom in to your property.  IPOD Zone A is shown in Purple, and IPOD Zone B is shown in Yellow..  These IPOD Zones shown on the map correspond with the proposed standard tab above.

What are the goals of the Riverfront IPOD?

The goals of the Riverfront IPOD are to protect existing residents and businesses by improving predictability and clarity around new development along the riverfront. It will protect peoples’ investments and level the playing field for new projects. We want to ensure that new development is respectful of, and responsive to, existing neighborhood fabric as well as communities’ visions for their neighborhoods and the public amenity that is the river.

How will the Riverfront IPOD impact me while it's in effect?

If you do not plan to build a new structure on your property or enlarge an existing structure or parking lot:

  • The Riverfront IPOD standards won’t apply to your property. They are designed to impact new buildings and parking lots, or existing buildings and parking lots that are being enlarged.

If you do plan demolish a structure, build a new structure on your property, or enlarge an existing structure or parking lot, the IPOD standards will apply to your project IF:

Your house, building or site is within 200 feet of the riverfront (Zone A on the map above) AND:

  • Your project is a full building demolition.
  • Your new or enlarged primary structure is adjacent to the Riverfront.
  • Your new structure is equal to or greater than 2,400 square feet.
  • You enlarge your existing structure by 2,400 square feet or more.
  • Your new or enlarged surface parking area is between a building front and the street, a trail or the river.

OR Your house, building or site is more than 200 feet from the riverfront (Zone B on the map above) AND:

  • Your new structure or group of structures is equal to or larger than 10,000 square feet.
  • Your new or enlarged surface parking area totals 30+ spaces.
  • Your enlarged and existing structure or group of existing structures by 5,000 square feet or more.

What are the items covered by the Riverfront IPOD’s standards?

The Riverfront IPOD’s standards call for:

  • A Site Plan Review process (per Code Section 922.04.E.4) for all buildings that meet the square footage threshold.
  • The creation of a zone from 50-95 feet of the river that will accommodate public activity and provide an opportunity to safeguard the health of the river.
  • Building length limited to 500 feet without a break or pass-through,
    • With articulation elements such as setbacks, windows, or doors at least every 70 feet.
  • Attention to transportation through traffic analysis and treatment of riverfront parking lots and structures.

Who has been involved?

The Riverfront IPOD was initially developed in conversations with the Mayor. We reviewed it with Council members, community partners, and other stakeholders and made revisions based on their input and recommendations. To view the Mayor's Executive Order go Here.

Affected property owners (and those within 150 feet of the proposed boundary) received several letters explaining the IPOD and the process.

In January, prior to the planning commission process, we held two public meetings that were attended by over 150 people. In May, City Council hosted a Public Hearing on the IPOD.

Click Here to see the presentation given at the Public Hearing!

Who should I contact for more information?

Andrea Lavin Kossis, LEED GA
Riverfront Development Coordinator
City of Pittsburgh
Department of City Planning
200 Ross St, 4th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
412-255-2223
andrea.lavinkossis@pittsburghpa.gov