Pittsburgh councilwoman will tweak proposed bill to create a land bank

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Following two long and emotional public meetings, Pittsburgh Councilwoman Deb Gross said she’s working on amendments to her bill to create a land bank, a quasi-governmental entity that’s intended to streamline the process of acquiring and selling land for the city.

“We are currently working with community leaders and my colleagues on Council to craft amendments that address and strengthen three major areas of the legislation: board structure/governance, community input and process, and owner-occupant policies,” she said. “We have taken community feedback very seriously, and the amendments will reflect the concerns we’ve heard.”

Her statement today came in response to concerns that have been raised by city council members and community members. Councilman Ricky Burgess has said he’s wary of the land bank because it would take council members out of the process, ceding much of the power and decision-making about what happens to city land to the land bank’s board, which would be appointed by the mayor and city council.

Community members have raised similar concerns about who would be on the board and whether their interests would be sufficiently represented.

Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee.

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