The Carbondale Observer

News and commentary about Carbondale, Illinois and SIUC

Council Defers Action on Neighborhood Business District

with 4 comments

I’m going to keep this brief because it is 12:20 a.m. After more than two hours of discussion and amendments, council voted by a 4-3 margin to defer action on the proposed revision to the Neighborhood Business District. Council Members Lance Jack, Lee Fronabarger, Jane Adams, and Don Monty voted to postpone action until a future meeting. Council members Chris Wissmann and Corene McDaniel joined Mayor Joel Fritzler in voting to move the amendment forward.

This delay will allow citizens an extra opportunity to learn more about the proposed change and to suggest changes to improve the amendment. That’s a good thing. With any luck, the tone of the discussion will improve and we will discuss these issues in a calm and rational manner. I think we’ll find that the proposed amendment is basically an improvement over our existing code, although the last text I saw did need to be tightened up.

Since the ordinance under discussion tonight was subject to major amendments proposed by Council Member Don Monty, this will also give the city the opportunity to make those amendments public. That will allow citizens to make their own judgments about the wisdom of this zoning change. I am eager to see what Monty proposed.

This delay should not be seen as an opportunity to dither. Council has a responsibility to do the people’s business. Council and staff should gather comments and suggestions from the public. The changes necessary to tighten up this amendment should be incorporated into the text, and then council should act.

Incidentally, this was BY FAR the most acrimonious city council meeting I have ever witnessed. I strongly encourage interested parties to view the video archived on the city’s website. To do so, click here. I’m not sure how long it takes for the archived videos to be posted, but I don’t think it takes very long.

Comments are welcome.

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Written by The Carbondale Observer

March 20, 2013 at 12:35 am

4 Responses

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  1. Given the contention surrounding this proposal, it seems reasonable enough to give public more chance to comment. That’s especially the case given the amendment by Councilman Monty which, if I followed the discussion, took all the special issues and turned them back into permitted uses. If that’s the case, I’m unclear on what exactly changes from the old code (which didn’t work if you neighborhood uses). I suppose I’ll find out! That’s for hosting the discussion the last two days!

    Scott McClurg

    March 20, 2013 at 6:25 am

  2. This was indeed an emotion filled meeting. Especially the closing comments of the council. Councilman Wissman and Councilwoman Mcdaniel both brought up really good points about the dissemination of information to the public. We need to make sure that our elected officials are presenting the citizens with the most accurate information possible. Councilwoman Adams is very opinionated person, for which I cannot blame her. I too am opinionated on certain topics as I’m sure that we all are. More importantly, especially when charged with a position of power, we need to make sure that we are conveying the most accurate information available to the people. If an individual were to take the information that councilwoman Adams disseminated to the citizens of Carbondale as fact then those individuals would be gravely mistaken. While her statements were did include some facts, there were substantial holes in her statements and several misleading statements. In the mailer, it is implied that Mayor Fritzler and Manager Baity are getting out of the business of the city and intentionally changing the zoning code in order to open up a gas station in an R-1 district. They are doing so by making a backroom deal with an undisclosed property owner in Carbondale which one can only assume is Henry Fischer. For obvious reasons, this attachment further elicits negative feelings about the proposed change in the zoning code. Whatever side of the argument one finds themselves coming down on, whether in support of or against the change in the zoning code, I believe that it only weakens Councilwoman Adams position by using scare tactics to convey her message. The people of this community are not stupid. In fact we have a lot of college graduates and people who can understand complex issues when presented with the correct information. I believe that every council person has the best interest of Carbondale in mind when they make decisions, but using inflammatory rhetoric and scare tactics in order to convey your message is unacceptable behavior that is unbecoming a councilperson. I fear that if we continue down this path, our council will end up as bad as our Congress. We all need to keep an open mind, try to work together and remember that the best interest of Carbondale is our collective goal.

    Jerrold Hennrich

    March 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm


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