PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Heinz Field is appealing a decision by the city’s zoning board that would not allow the stadium to make alterations to its seating.

Stadium officials want to spell out Heinz Field, or another name, in the lower bowl of the north end zone. However, the administrator of the Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment denied the proposed alterations back in April.

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Now, the stadium group is appealing that decision.

The attorney representing Heinz Field, Shawn Gallagher, says he believes what they are proposing falls within the city’s zoning code. Those in favor of the new sign argue it’s similar to signage at PNC Park or the Highmark Stadium, where “hounds” is painted on the seats for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

But those who oppose it say this is another attempt to put an additional sign in Heinz Field, with the primary purpose of advertising. During Thursday morning’s hearing before the zoning board, several people testified against the proposal.

“I think the sign would be different if it said ‘Go Steelers,’ or ‘Here We Go,’ or something to celebrate the team,” Carly Bellini, who opposes the sign, told KDKA’s Lisa Washington. “But instead it’s going to be used to advertise the company that sponsors our stadium — and with their naming rights coming up, I think it’s is probably being used as a bargaining tool.”

The non-profit group Scenic Pittsburgh is also against the proposal. The group argues a sign on the stadium’s seats would be most visible when the stadium is empty, and would not be intended for the audience inside Heinz Field.

“It’s not particularly the Steelers. What we’re opposed to is giant signs,” said David Dempko, Scenic Pittsburgh’s assistant director. “Once you start allowing larger signs, then you create the context for even more larger signs.”

The zoning commission will collect evidence for the next three weeks before a decision is made at a later date.

Lisa Washington