The Carbondale Observer

News and commentary about Carbondale, Illinois and SIUC

Posts Tagged ‘Jessica Bradshaw

City Council Meeting 05/21/2013

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I listened to the live stream of the May 25, 2013 city council meeting. It was one of the shortest meetings I can recall, running just one hour and thirty-eight minutes, excluding the closed session. Not much of note happened, but a brief summary and comments are below. The agenda is available on the city’s website.

Before the meeting got started, Mayor Joel Fritzler announced that citizen comments and questions would be moved to the beginning of the meeting, becoming Item 3 on the agenda. That move resulted in the numbers of other agenda items being changed. There were no citizen comments and questions.

Council then turned to the consent agenda. Council member Jane Adams requested that Item 5.5 (formerly 4.5) be pulled for discussion, and council member Don Monty requested that item 5.8 (formerly 4.8) be pulled for discussion. The remainder of the consent agenda passed unanimously.

Council then discussed Item 5.5 (formerly 4.5), appointments to boards and commissions. Council member Adams was concerned with the appointment of former council member Chris Wissmann to the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau (CCTB) board of directors. Adams suggested that a sitting city council member should be appointed to that seat, since no council member currently sits on the CCTB board.

In perfect Carbondale city council style, the council proceeded to discuss a relatively simple issue for an unnecessarily long time. The final result was that the Wissmann appointment was pulled from Item 5.5 and, at a future meeting,  council will consider making a policy requiring the appointment one sitting council member to the CCTB board. The remaining board appointments in Item 5.5 passed unanimously.

Council then discussed Item 5.8 (formerly 4.8), a set of technical corrections to city code. Council member Don Monty pulled the item from the consent agenda because he was concerned that members of the public might not understand what changes council was making to city code. Members of the public can, of course, see the agenda item and the proposed changes online, which makes pulling it from the consent agenda unnecessary.

In the case of Item 5.8, the technical changes involved changing references to Title 15 of the city code. Title 15, the portion of the code dealing with zoning, recently changed. That means that references to Title 15 found elsewhere in the code might not have referred to the current Title 15. Item 5.8 updated all references to Title 15 in the code. It passed unanimously.

Council then turned to the general business agenda. Item 6.1 (formerly 5.1) was a city request to rezone the old high school practice fields on Oakland Avenue back to single family residential. The property in question had been zoned for single family residential use since 1974, even when it was in use by the high school.

In 2010, the property was zoned to PUD (Planned Unit Development) to permit the development of an assisted living facility. The developer was required to submit a final site plan within 12 months of the rezoning. No final site plan was ever submitted, the state funding that was crucial to the project never materialized, and the developer decided not to pursue the project. As a result, city staff requested that the property be returned to its former zoning. Item 6.1 passed unanimously.

The rezoning will come as a relief to residents in the vicinity, many of whom opposed the proposed development. The Northwest Carbondale Neighborhood Association (NCNA) also opposed the development, and its members and supporters will also be relieved to learn that the property has been returned to its former zoning.

Council then considered Item 6.2 (formerly 5.2), which was a discussion of official city council order. This item was the result of a set of perceived slights by Mayor Joel Fritzler to council member Lance Jack. The official order was also the subject of some discussion at the May 7 council meeting.

I’m not going to summarize the entire dispute or the discussion. The result was that council approved a resolution asking staff to draft an ordinance setting order of signature on city resolutions and commendations to alphabetical order by last name. Council member Lance Jack voted against the resolution; all other council members voted in favor.

I didn’t have strong feelings about how the order should be conducted, but I do prefer that roll calls use the same order every time. I keep track of the votes and it would be easier to do if the names were called in the same order at every meeting.

There is one other item worth noting. Mayor Fritzler’s decision in 2011 to unilaterally move citizen comments and questions to the end of the agenda was controversial when it was announced. A few people spoke in opposition to that decision and I criticized it on the blog. At the end of the meeting, the mayor announced that citizen comments and questions will be permanently moved back to the beginning of the meetings. The likely result is more citizen comments and questions.

After council comments, the city council went into closed session at 8:38.

Comments are welcome.

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