Councilwoman-elect urges delay in Strip terminal vote

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Pittsburgh Councilwoman-elect Deborah Gross sent a letter last week to council members to ask them to hold off on a final vote that could decide the fate of the city’s fabled produce terminal until after she takes office, given that the produce terminal resides in the district she was elected to represent.

City council is weighing whether the produce terminal, officially known as Pennsylvania Fruit Auction and Sales Building, should receive a historic designation. The designation would make it more difficult for developer Buncher Co. to move forward with plans to demolish part of the building.

On Wednesday, city council is set to take a preliminary vote and the standard schedule calls for a final vote to be taken next Tuesday. But it’s within council’s authority to move the final vote to Wednesday. If that happens, Ms. Gross, who was elected in early November, won’t have an opportunity to weigh in.

In a letter sent to council members last Wednesday, she urged them to take a final vote on the matter next Tuesday, after she is sworn in.

“In light of these circumstances, I would ask you, as future colleagues, to consider the right of District 7 residents to have an official vote in City Council’s decision on this issue,” she wrote. “With this in mind, I ask that you please not consider, and actively defend against, any procedural short-cut that would attempt to expedite a final vote on this legislation before I am officially sworn-in.”

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