Oakwatch: The Oakland Code Enforcement Project Meeting Minutes September 19th, 2012 Mission: Oakwatch: The Oakland Code Enforcement Project seeks to improve the quality of life for residents, employees and visitors by enforcing codes on negligent property owners, housing violations, parking violations, disruptive behavior, excessive noise and underage drinking in the Oakland neighborhood. I.
In attendance: Unfortunately, the sign-in sheets were never turned back in after the meeting. If you accidentally took them home, please return them to a member of OPDC’s Staff. We were pleased to welcome many new members at this meeting from the Coltart Street community! Community Announcements/ Upcoming Events: a. 159 Robinson Street: community victory in Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) hearing to keep single unit building, not to allow variance for multi-unit. b. Announcement of upcoming Block Parties throughout Oakland. c. Announcement of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) meeting –project focuses on how to better serve high traffic corridor in Oakland, how to move more people through the area, etc. Buses would operate similar to light rail system d. Announcement of West Oakland development review meeting with project architect for community to ask developer questions before they go through planning process with city. e. Announcement that owners of 369 Coltart Street building are applying for variances from the ZBA, a meeting with the developer will take place at People’s Oakland. f. The Oakland 2025 Release Party will be on Thurs, 11/1 at Pitt Alumni Hall. Department of Public Works, Permits Office: Explanation of Regulations, Guidelines and Enforcement for events in Schenley Park; Q&A (Mike Gable, Deputy Director, Dept. Public Works) a. Main events affecting Oakland are Race for Cure; Ramadan celebration; Vintage Grand Prix b. Events in park get special permits from public safety office in North Side and all City departments have representatives on that committee; those permits, when issued for a park, come with an attached list of rules and regulations (which are also on city website); Schenley Park shelters are often used un-permitted—this is a police enforcement issue; the diagram on city website shows definitive area included/not included with city permits; police receive copies of all permits issued prior to event to coordinate enforcement. c. Ethel said issues at Anderson Playground and Phipps are late night noise, and 7am noise on Sundays from Flagstaff hill; Mike Gable responded that permiet for shelters specifically are for: 8 hour increments, 11-7pm, 12-8pm, 1-9pm; Parks open at 6am; Director of Parks and Recreation is Mike Bradley for more information d. Wanda asked if permits process can include guidelines on noise levels and how to position speakers; Geof asked how we can start this process; Mike Gable is prepared to take action and will discuss with directors; can readdress this issue with Oakwatch after Jan 1, 2013 e. Wanda asked if residents can get heads up on when events will be; Mike Gable said there is calendar issued every week and they can look into getting it to community
The Pittsburgh Sociable City Plan: Responsible Hospitality Institute initiative to manage the city’s night life. (Hanson Kappelman) a. Councilman Kraus brought this consultant to Pittsburgh first because of South Side, now includes Oakland and Lawrenceville, too. b. The firm has organized groups and seminars throughout the city. It’s broken off into smaller interest groups. Oakland’s issue is specifically pay-to-enter parties. Associations of all universities in Pittsburgh and graduate students in Pittsburgh are both involved. Bars in South Side that hire detail officers must now stay til 3am instead of 2am. Police force has added special force to deal with these specific issues in the district. Bar owners have organized themselves. c. Alex Coyne said there is a website to log into to get up to speed on group’s efforts. Contact him at the OBID for more info. d. University of Pittsburgh is involved with student end of it to see if they can come up with some solutions. e. City Police added they’ve been giving out citations at Oakland parties in past weekends since weekend of 9/14-9/15. Prior to this was “grace period.” Oakland residents’ proactive response to yearly turnover of off-campus student housing: Update and review of community initiatives (Bryant Andrews-Nino, Nate Hart) a. Over 2,200 folders which contained magnet, “Party Right” flyer, City of Pgh 311 and Disruptive Properties brochures handed out, 300 left; 130 volunteers including 30 longterm residents b. 3 Oakland block parties co-sponsored by Pitt and community organizations; Central Oakland was great success with 100 attendees, half and half students/residents; has been effective in Oakland Square so far—residents very pleased with new relationships they have with students; Pitt’s received good feedback and is trying to figure out if this is annual initiative—must be ongoing with students, letting students know about consequences is also good—students are afraid of judicial “j-board” process which goes on transcript; citations written by Pitt Police automatically go to J-board, citations written by City Police go to J-board only after going to Ricciardi. c. Coltart Street community usually solves their party problems by letting landlord know the first time there is an issue. d. House Party Tour: Nathan Hart reported on the “house party tour” that he and some police and Pitt representatives embarked on. They saw that Oakcliffe was quieter than the weekend before, Oakland Square area was very quiet; just one large party on Atwood; many on Semple; things were quieter than expected given how many students were just out and about—there was a good Pitt Police presence observed. e. RA training update: this is on hold for now-- issue is how to get all RA’s together at once for training. f. John Wilds made informal announcement: new position created similar to Bryant’s within Pitt under Dean of Students. This person will be the one who visits party houses, etc. g. Pitt Police has dispatched two bicycle police for 11pm-7am shift in addition to regular patrol, 7 days a week
h. Pgh Police has detail that goes from 11pm-3am thru Oakland; no less than 10-12 calls per night. Oakland Property Progress Report a. 3732-3738/3742-3746 Dawson Street (Peter Teris): he sent in letter from attorney showing who he’s hired to work by Sept 30th as required by Ricciardi; Nate asked about further landscaping b. 53 Lawn Street: Still an issue because owner recently inherited property from parents. In regular contact with BBI. c. 3109 Forbes: Susan Tomasko says there is issue with right of way for parking; zoning hearing will be in late Oct/early Nov. d. 3101 Niagara Street: Mr. Slomnicki has not yet appealed fine yet, will keep community posted. e. 3421 Parkbiew Avenue (Nick Solic): no update, no notice on appeal f. 29 Lawn Street: submitted by BBI for legal action but still not in disruptive properties g. Fagnelli property has been cleaning up, does have permit grandfathered in that lets them get away with more h. 253 Dithridge: no violations on BBI end, hands are tied—occupancy permit for “boarding house” for 13 units issued in 1978—permits not done like this anymore; Larry from ACHD says he’s aware of 225 and another house on Dithridge and they investigate these all the time and says he can send warning—Oakwatch will follow up with ACHD—Brian Hill says they can go with him for inspection if coordinated. i. Robinson Street/ West Oakland truck traffic: Per DPW, traffic study can take 6-8 weeks to complete for Robinson Street from Sept 7th j. 3114 Niagara, 3702 Orpwood, 502 Cato all continued in housing court Additional business: a. Brian Hill noted that the old Cadillac building on the Blvd of Allies is condemned, too expensive to raze it, possibly being sold; BBi is trying to take it to court for graffiti and other issues b. One Young World project—maybe doing mural in Oakland, Ethel asked how conference may impact Oakland, Alex will have this info in OBID e-news if relevant c. Graffiti vandals have been out in Oakland out in mass—what to do? Sargeant Fong said they seem to wait until patrol leaves at 3am; Geof said network of cameras can be set up in high-interest area—follow up with Liz Style.