At last Thursday’s special call meeting of the Planning & Zoning Board, City Planning Director Jason Jeffries presented the latest Three Corners conceptual plan by Andreas Duany for their consideration, but then recommended withdrawing the request to move forward with Duany’s plan.
City staff had decided just that morning to postpone any decisions on the post-pandemic plan until the public had enough time to consider it. He apologized for requesting the special call meeting. P&Z Board members agreed to postpone any action on the plan, but wanted to know the reasons for this sudden change of heart.
Jeffries reported that staff now had three different versions of the conceptual plan to consider and not enough time to thoroughly study them. He also mentioned staff was influenced by a letter from City resident, Rosemary White that was read to the P&Z Board. Here are some highlights from that letter:
After watching the YouTube online presentation of Larry Reisman and Duany there are questions in my mind and perhaps yours as well as to what, why and who is trying to push through a plan (that residents) have not had time to review and make public comments. It would seem that the most important voice is the voice of the city taxpayers and residents.
That letter said it all – after taking months to thoroughly investigate and then recommend a course of action, the Three Corners Steering Committee decided after one meeting to go with Duany’s post-pandemic plan and City staff agreed to hold a special call meeting of the Planning & Zoning Board to consider recommending that plan to City Council for a vote.
But it seems P&Z would not have recommended adopting the plan even without Rosemary White’s letter. Chairman Steve Lauer said, “I’m not prepared to vote on anything.”
So now the recommendation of that Board and City staff go to City Council, which meets this coming Tuesday, August 18, at 8:30 a.m. The agenda for that meeting still indicates Council will vote to approve the plan and go ahead with a voter referendum for the November 3 election.
As Rosemary White asked, “…what, why and who is trying to push through a plan (that residents) have not had time to review…” Is this a repeat of the attempt last year to put the Three Corners referendum issue on the November 2019 ballot?
What’s the rush? There are several theories surrounding this effort that are much more logical than the theories circulating about face masks and hydroxychloroquine. But the bottom line is, as P&Z and City staff recommended, we need three to six months of citizen input and research before we can make a decision that affects the future of our beloved city by the sea.
Planning & Zoning did the right thing, postponing a decision without sufficient public input. We are hopeful City Council agrees.