Mike Calabria, left, and Chad Englert, both 21 and University of Pittsburgh juniors, hang out on their porch on Oakland Avenue in Oakland, on a warm Tuesday afternoon. Englert's grandfather rents to him and others; he says, "This is our hanging out spot. We have to suffer because others are burning things." Pittsburgh City Council told residents today, casting a final, unanimous vote to ban all furniture that's plush, upholstered or foam-filled from the city's porches.
By Rich Lord Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl will sign legislation banning couches from porches, his office said yesterday, after City Council gave its unanimous final approval to Councilman Bruce Kraus' ordinance.
Upon the mayor's signature, the presence of a couch, mattress, box spring or upholstered chair on an unenclosed porch could bring a fine of $200 to $500 per day, plus court costs.
The mayor is expected to sign the bill into law within two weeks.
Councilwoman Tonya Payne said she wasn't initially passionate about the issue, but then she started eyeballing the porches of Oakland, part of which she represents.
"There's an unbelievable amount of furniture on porches that shouldn't be there," she said after the vote. One porch, she said, had a toilet, a chest of drawers and two night stands, along with milk crates. Many featured old couches.
Council also was motivated by the celebratory burning of couches that accompanies some Oakland street festivals and follows big sports wins.
"Hopefully, this will help out, but it's still a lot of education that's going to happen" before such behavior stops, said Ms. Payne.
Council members said they doubted building inspectors would be scouring the city for porch couches, but thought enforcement would be driven by neighbors' complaints.