Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Something Fishy in Outlaw City
In any case Sara Giannoni, Max Tracy, and Selene Colburn repeated that they would like to have all the comments from the PC before the ordinance committee should be asked to look at the amendment. No mention was made of the physical model. Joan Shannon argued against sending the amendment back to the planning commission and in favor of requiring that the full Council go over whatever the ordinance committee does, saying there will be more time and more due diligence, not less as Councilors Colburn and Tracy said. Councilor Bushor, arguing against the time certain requirement and the added work sesssions, noted that the practice of sending issues to small committees was in fact the best practice and had been implemented by the council for a reason. Councilor Tracy, who is, as mentioned above, on the ordinance committee with Councilor Bushor, called further foul by noting that he had only just heard about the time certain nature of the motion to send the amendment to ordinance committee. He had not been informed of this irregularity. "No one called me, " he noted. It was "poor form" to make a motion out of keeping with routine practices without alerting people on the committees it involves. Tracy also noted that the fact that the Commission and the Council were being forced to complete this change on the developer's timeline is evidence for spot zoning.
The motion of Councilor Colburn to send the entire amendment back to the Planning Commission was voted down, 7 to 3, with only Colburn, Giannoni and Tracy in favor. In contrast, the motion by Karen Paul to send the amendment on to the ordinance committee with the irregular requirement that they get it back by a certain time (August 15th, for three special full council work sessions, culminating in a public hearing on September 12th), was approved 7/3, with Colburn, Giannoni, and Tracy the only no votes. What happened to Councilor Bushor, who had registered so much concern about the process and its irregularities? Why was she unwilling to stand with the three conscientious voices on the Council? If she had voted with the trio of conscience, the motion would not have passed since such a suspension of rules requires a 2/3 majority. As to the rest of the gang, there is no telling why they continue to disregard their constituents, the law, due process, ethics. But we will remember come election time. Some are calling Burlington Outlaw City. It feels like the wild west, but not nearly as fun. It makes us all want to just retire to some speakeasy instead of trying speak with difficulty to people who have no ears to hear either their constituents' voices or the voice of law and due diligence. But we must continue, because there is really no where else for us to move if they ruin this city. Planning Commission meeting TONIGHT downstairs at City Hall, probably room 12, at 6. They will be discussing the comments they want to send, after the fact, to the ordinance committee. Public Comments welcome, but probably disregarded if drowned out by developers carrying flimsy promissory notes for millions they may not even have.