Council cancels meeting with solicitor on billboards

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Pittsburgh City Council has canceled a closed-door meeting with Solicitor George Specter on a resolution that would direct Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to put a six-month moratorium on the processing of sign applications.

Council President Doug Shields said yesterday that he nixed an executive session that had been set for Monday. Instead, moratorium sponsor Councilman Bruce Kraus and Mr. Specter will work privately to resolve concerns about the resolution's legality.

Councilman Jim Motznik then scheduled a meeting with Mr. Specter in his office Monday afternoon, and invited other council members to attend. He wrote in an e-mail that if more than four members want to attend, then two meetings will be held to avoid any conflict with state open meetings laws that bar closed-door gatherings of a quorum of a body, with certain exceptions.

Mr. Shields said the moratorium resolution is set to come up for a final vote Tuesday, but that may be postponed while problems are ironed out.

The moratorium push was spurred by the permitting of a planned electronic billboard on the new Grant Street Transportation Center without public hearings or votes, and along with other legislation, it has spurred the filing of at least 65 new advertising sign applications.


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