C’est finis — again
I used this title line a year or so ago in a completely different context.
It seems to fit here; indeed, it is finished.
I attended the last Town Commission meeting of the season in the evening July 2. I was underwhelmed by the doings there. I had resolved not to write on it as I thought there wasn’t much there. On reviewing my notes by the light of day the next morning, I see that there might just be something of interest. As I am here these summer days, I feel that I should use my time and these pages productively to opine on what I see. Here goes. The next meeting of our town’s government is in September. Enjoy the break.
I spent some time and space in the past weeks on amendments to the town’s Comprehensive Plan. At the final meeting they took up changes to code. It really is finished. This commission has completed its work, as it saw it. The two-year-plus cycle is complete. All that is left is the action in the courts, followed I’m sure by a new plan or plans. Not many of you actually watch, but you will likely be able to see it again. Some folks think this stuff is important. I did once.
I’m reminded at this time by the novel by another O’Connor, Edwin — “The Last Hurrah,” 1956. It tells the story of real politics in an American City. Many say it is really about James Michael Curley, mayor of Boston. This novel describes what we might call white-knuckle politics. There are no white-knuckle moments here. Ours are far simpler. Rather than apprehension we see predictability. We saw some of that at the final soiree in the chambers in Town Hall. Frank Skeffington is not here.
In spite of numerous e-mail entreaties to the commission not to change the Zoning Code, action was taken on that issue. Item 5 on the evening’s agenda was second reading and public hearing on Ordinance 2012-08, Amendments to Chapter 158, Zoning Code. I didn’t see many of the ‘interveners’ present in the chambers. One might ask where were they at the workshop or first reading stages. I counted fewer than 10 interested citizens present. Three spoke in favor of the amendments; no one spoke against! There was almost minimal discussion. Only Mayor Brown asked questions which demonstrated that he had at least read the ordinance. The amendments passed by a vote of 6-0. QED.
I noted for you:
• IPOC encouraged the e-mail barrage to the commission.
• Fewer than 10 public showed up.
• I’d say seriously that IPOC has used all of its political capital here.
• Solution or relief, if any, rests in the courts.
• The town is clearly tired of this issue.
As I’ve said earlier in these pages these guys and gals have done a masterful job. This is a formidable opponent.
The short agenda for this last meeting of the season continued.
The commission set the maximum millage rate for next year. This was marked at 1.8872, no change from present levy. This is the maximum millage rate that can be levied now, and that which will appear on your TRIM notice sent out by the two county taxing authorities. The commission also listed the levies for existing debt service, 0.0564, and possible beach projects, 0.8000 and 0.2000 districts A & B. This is annual action and passed without controversy.
Also taken up were:
• Adoption of own commission meeting dates
• Town Manager Employment Agreement Amendment
• ORD 2012-12, Amending Chapter 111, Business Tax Receipts
• Two referendum requests regarding density changes
• Budget transfer of $5,000 for TV streaming broadcast of TC meetings
These are all relatively non-troubling routine items; treated as such.
So we now have changes to the town’s Zoning Code. These are touted as needed to be in sync with the newly passed Comprehensive Plan amendments. These are also admitted to be responsive to the court’s ruling. That’s OK; it gives this applicant the blueprint to be used in refilling their LBKC application should that be necessary. We all get it. What we might still not get is any unintended consequences in the application of these code changes in the remainder of the town. We’ll see.
I, for one, hope that we have seen the last of this planning minutia. It’s really OK. There is a lot more to municipal life.
We’re told later by one of the parties to all this business that just maybe the town planning staff with its cadre of lawyers may have neglected to adjust the Zoning Map. This possible error could negate all the work for the Islandside and other Planned Unit Developments. See what I mean.
Just a couple of days after all the rules changes were in place, we learn that the parties in the great IPOC/LBKC/TLBK litigation have agreed to some form of mediation.
I wonder who blinked.