Council overrides mayor’s veto; no housing on Whittier industrial site

On Sept. 24, the Minneapolis City Council overrode Mayor R.T. Rybak’s veto of its decision to prohibit 69 condominium units at 2920 Pillsbury Ave.

The 9-4 vote to restrict developer Basim Sabri to an original light-industrial plan without housing was two votes more than the Council’s 7-6 margin Sept. 3. Nine votes were needed to override the veto.

Councilmembers Scott Benson (11th Ward) and Don Samuels (3rd Ward) joined colleagues who originally opposed the housing.

"After neighborhood concerns were heard, I became more convinced that those concerns were correct," Benson said.

The Whittier Alliance set up a South Whittier Redevelopment Plan several years ago that specified the site should be earmarked for light industrial zoning and living wage job creation, not housing. The City Council had previously endorsed the plan.

Benson said Sabri’s criminal charges for allegedly bribing former 8th Ward Councilmember Brian Herron on another project did not affect his vote.

Asked if Rybak lobbied the City Council to pass the project with the condominium piece, Benson said he did not hear from the mayor at all.

Laura Sether, Rybak’s press secretary, said the mayor wanted a substantive policy discussion on the topic and he got that.

Sabri has said he will build the light-industrial project without the housing units.