Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Minutes from 2006 BMA Meeting Help Derail Zoning Changes on Forest Hill Reaves Property

At last night's executive session of the BMA meeting, we learned that the attorney for Duke, the developer of the Reaves property, had requested that the third reading of the proposed zoning changes be removed from the agenda.The proposal, which would change the zoning from estate one-acre lots to one-third acre residential lots and subject the property to a possible PUD with even smaller lots, had previously passed the first two readings by a 3-2 margin (Aldermen Owens, Gibson, and Janda in favor, Aldermen Massey and Barzizza opposed). 

This was the second BMA meeting in a row at which the third reading was removed from the agenda. At the executive session of the March 26 meeting, city attorneys recommended the removal of the third reading because Alderman Massey had uncovered a covenant on the property through an open records' request.  Even though a signed copy of the covenant was in the City's files, the administration had failed to disclose it, labeling  the document "theoretical". Apparently, this was done without first consulting City attorneys.  

On this occasion, it was Alderman Barzizza, rather than Alderman Massey who requested records from the City-- specifically, minutes from three 2005-2006 BMA meetings.  

The January 9, 2006 minutes specifically refer to the covenant. Not only that, these minutes reveal that the City was instrumental in negotiating the covenant. (see yellow highlighted section below): 

The above disclosure was apparently enough to convince Duke's attorney to suggest that the developer meet with the citizens and try to come to a compromise. Mayor Palazzolo, an alderman at the time, was in attendance at the 2006 meeting. 

Even though they had been apprised that the measure would be pulled from the agenda, a few Forest Hill citizens felt that it was important that they appear at the meeting, and speak during the Citizens To Be Heard session. I especially enjoyed listening to the passionate speech of one of our younger citizens. Mayor Palazzolo, even before any citizen had spoken, forcefully announced that no clapping would be allowed, or he would clear the chambers

Channel 13 ran a story on the new developments in the case, and interviewed the young citizen who spoke: Link  

On a different note, you surely have to love election years. I am happy to report the administration is paying attention to at least some of the public's wishes. The BMA approved Item 9 on the agenda, a resolution stating that both the extension of Forest Hill Road over the Wolf River and the realignment of Germantown Road "will not be implemented by the Board." While this resolution falls short of asking the MPO to remove from consideration these items for the projects listed in its Livabilty 2050 Plan, the resolution is still welcome news, and will likely give the citizens a little breathing room before these two projects are resurrected.

No comments:

Post a Comment