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Pittsburgh zoning board OKs giant ketchup bottle at Heinz History Center in pun-filled ruling

Pittsburgh OKs giant ketchup bottle at Heinz History Center in pun-filled ruling
Pittsburgh OKs giant ketchup bottle at Heinz History Center in pun-filled ruling 00:32

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The Heinz History Center found itself in a bit of a pickle when it installed one of the famous ketchup bottles from Heinz Field without first getting permission from the city. 

But in a good-natured three-page ruling filled with puns, the Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment decided that the giant ketchup bottle, a beloved artifact from the days of Heinz Field, can stay.

The Heinz History Center asked the city to consider the ketchup bottle an artifact and not a sign. Signs are subject to requirements, and the ketchup bottle has an area of 280 square feet, nearly double the maximum area of 150 square feet that city code allows.


The city ultimately agreed with the history center, but not without having a lot of condiment-themed fun first. 

"The Applicant created its own fifty-seven varieties of a pickle when it installed the ketchup bottle without first determining whether the installation passed legal mustard under the Code's requirement," the board wrote. 

"To be frank, the Board does not relish considering legal bottlenecks where the Applicant's anticipation of approval necessitates playing catch-up," it continued. "Any seasoned applicant should understand that post hoc applications for approvals are a big dill and could be a recipe for landing in hot sauce." 

The zoning board said the history center didn't do it's due diligence and brought the dilemma upon itself. But the history center said the community has done nothing but pour on the support, and the board acknowledged that no one appeared at a hearing opposing the bottle.

In weighing whether it was a sign, the zoning board pointed out that both the history center and the ketchup bottle share Heinz in their names.  

"If the wording on the bottle included 'Hunt's' or 'Del Monte,' it would be less palatable, regionally, but would be more clearly excluded from the Code's definition of 'sign,'" the board quipped. 

However, after three pages of jokes, the zoning board agreed that the ketchup bottle was excluded from the code's definition of a sign, a decision that was probably helped after the history center "laid it on thick when apologizing for acting like a hot dog." 

Before its move to the history center, the ketchup bottle was one of two removed from the stadium's scoreboard when the naming rights changed hands and Heinz Field became Acrisure Stadium. The other bottle was installed at Gate C in the stadium. 

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