Friday, March 24, 2017

Public Meeting April 24 on Alcohol Sales in T4 Areas

The City website has announced that there will be a first reading of a proposed ordinance on alcohol sales in T4 areas this coming Monday.  

All interested parties should pay close attention.   

The public hearing has been scheduled for April 24. 

The last time zoning changes were proposed, the citizens did not get adequate notice of the hearing, as was discussed in Major Proposed Zoning Changes, a "Public Hearing" and Nobody Came.

I need to note that yet again the method for announcing the public hearing is not particularly transparent. It is in the agenda for the BMA meeting on this coming Monday. I strongly suggest  that the City distribute this information more broadly so that it it is not be incumbent on citizens to closely check the agendas before each BMA meeting. 

One possibility would be to distribute the information on NextDoor, as the City now uses that app to tell us about traffic issues and other items of interest. 

And we must not forget, the City has our water bill email addresses! 

At the very least, public hearing dates should be featured prominently on the home page of the City website.

Obviously some change on alcohol sales in T4 is intended, and at the present time we are seeking clarification on the specifics of what this ordinance means. Here it is: 

Proposed T4/Alcohol Ordinance

This issue was first raised when it was part of a huge number of proposed ordinance changes that was scheduled for a third and final reading in January, as discussed in Bars and Liquor Stores?  In "transition" T4 zoning? 

Because there were so many substantive issues in one package that was incorrectly characterized as "housekeeping changes," and the lack of transparency, the BMA in Executive Session was told by the Mayor that the item would be pulled from the agenda, and the issues would be discussed at their February Retreat.

I attended the portion of the retreat that discussed the proposed zoning changes, and the City administration was instructed to work with interested parties and neighborhood associations. Some of the objections to the alcohol changes came from Neshoba North, which is by a "triangle" of a T4 zoned area between Cordova Road and Germantown Road. According to leaders of that neighborhood, they have not been contacted by the City about the proposed changes. Why not?

Hopefully, after the first reading, there will be some clarification about the meaning of the proposed changes. I hope that the City administration would then discuss these changes with Neshoba North residents and other affected parties BEFORE the public meeting, and ensure that the citizens have  a clear understanding of what the proposed zoning changes would mean for their neighborhoods. 

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