Deb Gross

cgkinla / Flickr

It’s become something of a routine in Pittsburgh City Council’s weekly committee meetings: when legislation to create a registry of rental properties in the city comes up for discussion, Public Safety Chair Councilman Daniel Lavelle asks that the bill be held for another week — or two, or three.

A May 2015 investigation into why the bill wasn’t moving forward in council garnered few solid answers, but it now appears that Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration is prepared to revive the long-dormant proposal.

In anticipation of a wet weather plan from ALCOSAN, Pittsburgh City Council members Corey O’Connor and Deb Gross have introduced legislation aimed at helping some of the city’s most vulnerable areas develop green infrastructure.

Under a consent decree, the city, Allegheny County and the federal Environmental Protection Agency must develop a plan to keep raw sewage from overflowing and spilling into area rivers during wet weather. Some areas are harder hit than others, including part of Gross’s district.

Joining us in studio are Pittsburgh City Council members Deb Gross and Corey O’Connor. They are co-sponsoring a green infrastructure legislative package. If adapted the legislation would establish special green zones in key areas of the city. We’ll discover how they’ll work and the impact they could have on Pittsburgh.

O'Connor explains their efforts for more sustainable development:

"We want to enforce more green infrastructure so that when we get more water run off we can hold that water. We don’t need pipes as much as we needed 10 and 15 years ago. We’re starting to think more sustainable development." -Corey O'Connor  

Also in the program, we'll celebrate the 100th year of operations at Pyrex's Charleroi plant, and Nick Drombosky addresses the mechanic's responsibility in making commuting by bike accessible to everyone.

Pittsburgh’s city code requires that sidewalks are made out of concrete, but Councilwoman Deborah Gross is questioning whether that’s the best option.

During a post-agenda meeting Thursday, Gross heard from various organizations saying there are better alternatives to concrete, which often times is lifted or cracked from trees and their roots.

Gross said solving this problem could help with Pittsburgh’s issues managing water, which includes flooding and water pollution.

This is the third in a three-part series looking ahead to the 2015 priorities with members of Pittsburgh City Council. Find part one here and part two here.

A potential revenue stream for the city of Pittsburgh could become tied up in litigation if City Council does not act quickly.

Council on Monday discussed a bill to approve the installation of distributed antenna systems, or DAS, in 19 light poles across the city.

According to Mike Salem, an engineering technician in the Department of Public Works, the antennae are meant to improve cell service in “dead spots,” areas where reception is bad or calls are dropped regularly.

Councilwomen Call for Study of Childcare Centers

Nov 18, 2014

The first initiative of the newly-formed Women’s Caucus of Pittsburgh City Council is a broad examination of childcare centers in the city.

Councilwomen Deb Gross, Darlene Harris, Theresa Kail-Smith and Natalia Rudiak will introduce legislation that they say will improve childcare facilities and the quality of care in Pittsburgh.

The legislation calls for a comprehensive study of childcare providers, which will be used by city government to enhance the care and make necessary changes.

In the state of Pennsylvania, it’s technically legal for employers to refuse pregnant workers accommodations like a place to sit, access to water and more frequent breaks.

State lawmakers in March attempted to change that by introducing a bill to require such accommodations, but that bill has languished in the Senate Labor and Industry committee ever since.

Now, city of Pittsburgh lawmakers are moving to codify such protections for pregnant city workers.

Flickr user MichaelGoodin

After three months of community meetings, disagreements, and compromises, Pittsburgh City Council passed Councilwoman Deb Gross’s land bank legislation Monday morning.

Councilmen Ricky Burgess and Daniel Lavelle have had the greatest concerns about the land bank proposal, but both voted in favor of the legislation.

Peter Pawlowski / Flickr

Earlier this year District 7 Councilor Deb Gross introduced legislation to develop a Land Bank in Pittsburgh. The system would operate as a repository for properties that often have little prospect of redevelopment.

District 5 Councilor Corey O' Connor is a supporter of the concept. He and Councilor Gross say the idea is to create a system to get abandoned properties publicly inventoried and marketed for re-use by neighbors, community groups, developers or realtors.

Around 200 people spoke at last week’s public hearing on Councilwoman Deb Gross’s land bank legislation, according to Gross’s chief of staff Nathaniel Hansen.

At least one of those people, Josh Caldwell of the Pittsburgh Real Estate Investors Association, has gone public with his proposal for fighting urban blight.

Pittsburgh City Council had their first opportunity to discuss Deb Gross’s proposed land bank legislation as a group on Wednesday. The bill was first introduced on Jan. 14.

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Deb Gross’s controversial bill to designate the Strip District’s Fruit Auction & Sales Building as a historic structure was voted down in a committee meeting today.

Ahead of the vote, Gross made her case for the building one final time.

“It really makes the Strip District, the Strip District. It’s a defining location,” said Gross. “If you’re talking about where to meet, where to park, where to go. When you picture the Strip District in your mind, you see this building in your mind’s eye.”

Pittsburgh’s newest City Council representative, Deb Gross, won out against four other candidates in a special election, after District 7 representative Patrick Dowd vacated his seat in July.

Gross took her seat at the beginning of December, one of the busiest times of the year for the council.

A vote on whether the Strip District’s Fruit Auction and Sales Building should be designated as a historic structure will be delayed another week.

Council’s newest member, Deb Gross, represents the Strip District, and is in favor of preserving the building to the fullest extent possible.

“Having said the word 'preserve,' everyone  understands that some modifications are going to be needed to that property in order for it to achieve a positive function in the Strip District and a positive function in the business mix,” Gross said.

Post-Election Day Wrap Up

Nov 6, 2013
Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

It may be no surprise that Bill Peduto is now Pittsburgh mayor-elect. But some may be surprised that Peduto celebrated in Homewood last night as the results were tallied.

According to 90.5 WESA's Mark Nootbaar and Kevin Gavin, the Homewood location could be an attempt to show a focus on neighborhoods that Peduto feels have been ignored by previous administrations.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

District 7 has been without a City Council representative since Patrick Dowd vacated the seat in July to serve as executive director of the new nonprofit Allies for Children.

Though it seemed like it could have been a close race between Democrat Deb Gross and Independent Tony Ceoffe, her party's nomination and the endorsement of now mayor-elect Bill Peduto served as enough to push Gross over the top.

In the end, Gross was able to carry the district with more than 60 percent of the vote.

The race for the District 7 Pittsburgh City Council seat looks to be wide open heading into the election Tuesday.  Five candidates are vying for the spot vacated by Patrick Dowd in July.  Politically, the candidates are as diverse as the district.

A Democrat, a Libertarian, and a handful of independents all want to represent District 7, which runs from the Strip District to Highland Park and includes Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, Polish Hill, Friendship, Morningside, and Stanton Heights.  

Strip District Redevelopment