Steelers get new extension for North Shore plan

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The city planning commission again is adding time to the clock for the Steelers to complete a proposal for more public open space adjacent to the Stage AE entertainment venue on the North Shore.

Commission members voted unanimously Tuesday to grant the team a third extension to submit a project development plan for the improvements, which would include landscaping and other architectural features. They now have until Aug. 5 to submit a plan.

When the Stage AE project was approved in 2009, the commission gave the Steelers three years to come up with a plan to increase the amount of public open space near the venue in keeping with the North Shore master development plan.

The Steelers have blamed the delays on their legal battle with the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority over the addition of 3,000 seats to the south end zone at Heinz Field, which is adjacent to the site.

The team filed a lawsuit in 2012 maintaining that the SEA was responsible for paying two-thirds of the cost, a claim the agency disputes.

City zoning administrator Susan Tymoczko told the commission the Steelers wanted the latest extension in hopes that the lawsuit would be settled "so that they'll be able to treat that space along with any changes to the stadium itself as sort of one comprehensive plan."

If no settlement is reached, a trial is scheduled in May.

Team officials declined comment Tuesday because of the litigation.

The area in question, at the corner of Art Rooney Avenue and North Shore Drive, now consists primarily of parking adjacent to the Stage AE lawn, which is part of the entertainment complex.

Ms. Tymoczko said the commission is interested in seeing more pedestrian-oriented public open space at that location.

If the Steelers don't submit a plan to make the improvements, the Stage AE occupancy permit conceivably could be in jeopardy, she said.

Mark Belko: or 412-263-1262.

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