[HOME]

  1. Introduction
  2. Open Letter to the Board of Trustees
  3. University's Response to Open Letter
  4. Response to University
  5. YouTube Documentary
  6. Preuniversity Settlers
  7. Oakland Bill of Rights
  8. Declaration of Freedom
  9. Problems
  10. Solutions
  11. Actions
  12. UPMC
  13. PITT
    SempleFest
  14. Jul. '09
  15. Aug. '09
  16. Sept. '09
  17. Oct. '09
  18. Origin of SOUL
  19. WPXI - Group talks trash
  20. National Disgrace
  21. Gratitude
  22. Support Letters
  23. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  24. Pittsburgh City Paper
  25. Media - Broken Trust?
  26. Feb. '10
  27. Jun. '10
  28. Done Deal?
  29. Mayor's Reply
  30. Pitt Fireworks
  31. Pitt Fireworks
  32. Pitt Fireworks
  33. Aug. '10
  34. Sep. '10
  35. Letter to Legislators
  36. Letter to Chancellor
  37. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  38. A Call for Compassion
  39. WPXI Coverage
  40. Human Dignity
  41. Letter to the Editor
  42. SempleFest
  43. Request for Apology
  44. The Shame of a University
  45. Firebombs Must End
  46. Call To Action
  47. Fireworks Press Release
  48. Shadow on the Lawn
  49. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article
  50. Right-to-Know Law Testimony
  51. University Impact Aid Law
  52. Proposal University Impact Aid Law
  53. Nordenberg Must Resign
  54. Allegheny County Council Testimony
  55. Time for New Leadership Message
  56. Time for New Leadership Testimony
  57. Class-Action Lawsuit?
  58. Nordenberg Must Resign Paid Message
  59. Time for A New Beginning
  60. Letter to the Editor
  61. Letter to the Editor
  62. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  63. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article
  64. A New Paradigm
  65. In Memoriam: Robert "Bob" Casciato
  66. Symbol of Domination
  67. Revised University Impact Aid Proposal
  68. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  69. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  70. Community Objectives
  71. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  72. City Planning Commission Testimonies
  73. Letter to Chancellor Patrick Gallagher
  74. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  75. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  76. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  77. End The Shame
  78. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  79. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  80. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  81. Decimation of an Urban Community
 
Enough Is Enough! Trashed street photo.

[HOME]

  1. Introduction
  2. Open Letter to the Board of Trustees
  3. University's Response to Open Letter
  4. Response to University
  5. YouTube Documentary
  6. Preuniversity Settlers
  7. Oakland Bill of Rights
  8. Declaration of Freedom
  9. Problems
  10. Solutions
  11. Actions
  12. UPMC
  13. PITT
    SempleFest
  14. Jul. '09
  15. Aug. '09
  16. Sept. '09
  17. Oct. '09
  18. Origin of SOUL
  19. WPXI - Group talks trash
  20. National Disgrace
  21. Gratitude
  22. Support Letters
  23. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  24. Pittsburgh City Paper
  25. Media - Broken Trust?
  26. Feb. '10
  27. Jun. '10
  28. Done Deal?
  29. Mayor's Reply
  30. Pitt Fireworks
  31. Pitt Fireworks
  32. Pitt Fireworks
  33. Aug. '10
  34. Sep. '10
  35. Letter to Legislators
  36. Letter to Chancellor
  37. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  38. A Call for Compassion
  39. WPXI Coverage
  40. Human Dignity
  41. Letter to the Editor
  42. SempleFest
  43. Request for Apology
  44. The Shame of a University
  45. Firebombs Must End
  46. Call To Action
  47. Fireworks Press Release
  48. Shadow on the Lawn
  49. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article
  50. Right-to-Know Law Testimony
  51. University Impact Aid Law
  52. Proposal University Impact Aid Law
  53. Nordenberg Must Resign
  54. Allegheny County Council Testimony
  55. Time for New Leadership Message
  56. Time for New Leadership Testimony
  57. Class-Action Lawsuit?
  58. Nordenberg Must Resign Paid Message
  59. Time for A New Beginning
  60. Letter to the Editor
  61. Letter to the Editor
  62. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  63. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article
  64. A New Paradigm
  65. In Memoriam: Robert "Bob" Casciato
  66. Symbol of Domination
  67. Revised University Impact Aid Proposal
  68. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  69. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  70. Community Objectives
  71. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  72. City Planning Commission Testimonies
  73. Letter to Chancellor Patrick Gallagher
  74. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  75. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  76. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  77. End The Shame
  78. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  79. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  80. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  81. Decimation of an Urban Community

City Planning Commission Testimony

February 23, 2016

The following is a summary in opposition to the Campus Advantage development project at 3407 Forbes Avenue.

End the Shame of the
Legal Rape of Oakland

The shameful Campus Advantage development project at 3407 Forbes Avenue is a continuation of the legal rape of Oakland. This company specializes in student housing, and this project will mostly benefit Campus Advantage and its “Host University” – the University of Pittsburgh – while severely threatening the future of the longtime residential community.

The insatiable greed of the University of Pittsburgh with its never-ending expansion in Oakland is now being replicated by the insatiable greed of Campus Advantage. It seeks to expand from last year’s originally-approved potential housing for 295 transient students, to now proposing to house 494 transient students.

The Planning Commission is an integral part of the shame that has seen Oakland’s residential community decimated by the uncontrolled growth of the University of Pittsburgh. The University dominates the City Planning Commission under the guise that it is only doing what is legal. Doing what is technically legal does not always result in actions that are consistent with moral integrity. In its meetings with University administrators and others, Campus Advantage has learned how it can quickly receive approval from the City Planning Commission to build a massive transient student housing project in a little over a month.

This Campus Advantage project will lead to the further decimation of Oakland’s business district as it becomes severely impacted by transient student housing to satisfy the University of Pittsburgh’s shameful ever-increasing needs. That decimation will lead to the further decline in Oakland’s longtime residential population. Building more student housing has never resulted in a decrease of students living in the residential community. When transient student housing is destroying the business district, there cannot be a stable growing residential community for the future.

The intelligentsias at the University of Pittsburgh are well aware of this toxic and destructive phenomenon, and seem to care very little if Oakland’s residential community ceases to exist as a result. That same awareness extends to the mayor, city council, zoning board, organizations, state government, media, and this planning commission. Past history has taught our residential community that this project is a done deal. The Planning Commission already granted Campus Advantage approval last year for its 295-bed transient student housing plan.

Very little consideration is given to the residential community when plans of University of Pittsburgh expansion, or plans of developers who support the University’s expansion, are brought before the Planning Commission. These residents are often treated with little compassion and empathy, as if they are meaningless. When a Campus Advantage executive was asked at a community meeting last year how his project benefits Oakland’s elderly longtime residents, his response was appalling: “I never thought about that question.” This lack of caring was made more evident in a recent phone conversation about the current project with a city Neighborhood Planner. His main concern was in preparing Campus Advantage for its briefing before the Planning Commission so that the company receives legal approval. The residential community of Oakland is not just lines on a map or design plan. He cared very little when I mentioned that our longtime residential community has decreased to around twenty-percent and that this project will decrease it even further. His callous and uncaring remark was that the residents didn’t have to sell their homes and leave; they could have stayed. However, many longtime residents leave because they cannot bear the pain of watching their beloved neighborhood being legally raped by others who do not care. They leave because they suffer when dealing with binge drinking and other problems associated with an ever-increasing student population, and a university whose selfish interests are its main priority. Other elderly residents are urged to leave by their children who do not want them to endure any more suffering. There was once a thriving, nearly 100%-residential community in Oakland long before the University of Pittsburgh came to Oakland. To see that neighborhood continue to be legally raped by the University and others is heart-wrenching for far too many residents.

Shame that is masked, denied or ignored will continue to grow. The shame of this project will certainly spread throughout America, if it has not already done so, as other nationwide developers will learn how to quickly and easily get approval from the Planning Commission to build massive transient student housing and to be able to legally rape a neighborhood.

Nordenberg Hall should never have been built to house 559 first-year students only. That campus-owned land should have been used to attract older alumni or faculty. It could now be used to house sophomores and juniors to slow student enrollment, but that wouldn’t make enough money for the insatiable greed of university administrators. Instead, that shameful freshman-only development is a major contributor to the massive, destructive transient student housing developments in Oakland’s business district. Over 1,600 students passed through that building in the last three years, with thousands more to come who will be in search of housing. The shame of that development has been masked, denied and ignored by University administrators. They mask the shame by saying the dormitory was built on campus land and therefore does not affect the residential community. They deny the shame by saying the University makes money from the dormitory and gives it to the city for services that benefit Oakland residents. They ignore the shame by refusing to answer when the community asks what the dormitory’s major direct benefits are to Oakland’s residential community. That shame was passed on and accepted by the Planning Commission when it approved Nordenberg Hall, and also by the Zoning Board of Adjustment when it approved a height variance.

The executive director of the Oakland Planning and Development Corporation does not speak for all of Oakland’s longtime residents. Especially when she wrote a shameful letter of support for Campus Advantage last year that masked the full truth by saying that its application for a variance request “is consistent with The Oakland 2025 Master Plan.” There are many remarks in that plan that did not support Campus Advantage’s project last year, and does not support the present project. When I mentioned that fact to the city Neighborhood Planner, his response was that compliance with the community plan is not necessary for approval of this project, and that OPDC’s position has more significance.

Last year, when Campus Advantage attempted to get approval for the zoning variance, it masked its shame by labeling its project as a multi-family project available to everyone; now the shame continues to be masked with this present project labeled as a mixed-use structure. This is a project for transient student housing to primarily benefit Campus Advantage and the University of Pittsburgh.

The shame of the legal rape of Oakland was allowed to continue when the Planning Commission denied our community’s request last year for an honest, in-depth Impact Statement as to how Campus Advantage’s development plan would affect the residential community of Oakland. Campus Advantage and its Host University do not want this assessment. They do not want the truth to be revealed, or to confront their own shame. It is much easier for them to pass their shame on to others.

The local media also fosters the continuation of this shame and the legal rape of Oakland when it has repeatedly ignored the community’s request for an in-depth investigation of the University of Pittsburgh and its supporters, and their impact upon the Oakland community. This investigation has never occurred in the University of Pittsburgh’s 107-year history in Oakland.

Shame will either be passed on or ended. Oakland’s three councilmen accepted the shame of the University of Pittsburgh and Campus Advantage when they were persuaded to write letters of support last year for Campus Advantage’s project. One councilman’s assertion that the project would “relieve a great deal of pressure that has been placed on a densely populated residential neighborhood” was completely false. The councilmen then ignored their own shame when they refused to answer questions to justify their support. They will have to make their own personal decisions to end the shame that they have been infected with, or to pass it on to others in the future.

Oakland’s residential community is fighting for its very survival. That is not hyperbole. This Planning Commission can end its shame by denying Campus Advantage’s request for this massive project until there is a detailed assessment study on how severely the residential community will be impacted. This assessment had never been done before with the University of Pittsburgh’s past projects or their supporters before the commission. Members of the Planning Commission most certainly should feel remorse and genuine sorrow for accepting the shame of others and contributing to the legal rape of Oakland. The Planning Commission members have this opportunity to be motivated by their own conscience and to inspire others by doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. By rejecting this project, the Planning Commission can do its part to end the shame of the legal rape of Oakland.

Carlino Giampolo

Further information is below and at www.OaklandDignity.com

Additional Testimony

Here are just a few of the tenets and observations in The Oakland 2025 Master Plan that are not supported by this Campus Advantage project:

Oakland 2025’s core vision is about creating diverse residential neighborhoods.

Change the perception of Oakland as a 24/7 party for underage drinking.

The priority is to maintain and stabilize existing residential neighborhoods.

Just as Lawrenceville’s 16:65 Design Zone brand gave a two-mile stretch of Butler Street a coherent identity and Regent Square’s connection to Frick Park established a strong residential identity, developing a residential marketing and branding campaign for Oakland could define the identity and benefits of living in Oakland.

The future health of Oakland is dependent on a more diverse and slightly older population base.

Support the quality of life in Oakland’s major residential neighborhoods.

Imagine witnessing a dramatic increase in homeownership 15 years from now.

Increase the average age of Oakland’s residents to support a diverse, sustainable neighborhood.

A housing market dominated by student rentals.

There is a need for educational and other programs for children in order to attract families.

Oakland is no longer seen by many as an attractive place to live despite its proximity to parks, jobs, and urban amenities.

Increase multi-generational housing options.

Provide innovative, sustainable housing choices for diverse new residents.

The growth of nearby universities has created a strong demand for lower-quality student rental housing. This has sparked multifamily unit conversions and contributed to a decrease in owner-occupied home ownership throughout all of Oakland.

The fact remains, however, that Oakland’s image is negative for prospective home buyers.

Oakland has experienced a steady and significant out-migration of family households. If current trends are allowed to continue, the persisting problems of too many renter-occupied housing units will continue to negatively impact the neighborhood.

 
 

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