Monday, August 11, 2014

Letter to the Editor: Keep PZ Commission in the Loop

The below letter was sent to the Mayor and Council Majority Leader by Molly Salafia, Acting Chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission. 
To the Editor:
Once again I am reading something in the papers that should have at least been told to the Planning & Zoning Commission prior. I am referring to the Aug. 18 workshop for downtown planning and to discuss parking garage considerations (“City workshop to examine future downtown development in Middletown”).
Commissioners Pelletier and Russo are our council liaisons and I am unaware if this was discussed with either. Unfortunately, there is a month gap between meetings right now, so they could not have reported back. In Commissioner Russo’s absence, as acting chair, I should be briefed.
While I realize city property is treated differently than private and essentially approved by the council, etc. via GS-24 status, it is imperative that the PZ Commission be aware of the goings on of city planning.
We are currently planning workshops to discuss riverfront zoning; the garage and such other major components need to be apart of this plan. Our committees should not be acting in vacuums.
Has the Design Review committee been asked to attend? Surely, after the lighting of the tunnel to the riverfront, the results of which have been criticized, that group also would be a valuable tool in discussion the physical characteristics of a parking garage.
As acting chair, I am dedicating the last 15 to 30 minutes of commission affairs with outlined discussion for future planning. In adherence to the city charter, the commission should be spending half the time planning and half zoning.
We are planning to hold a public workshop as well once we have narrowed down discussion points. A subsequent workshop will effect our timeline.
I have outlined items to be included in the outgoing PZ packet to commissioners for our Aug. 11 meeting. It has not been sent yet; so there is still time for the council to put together backup information — any schematic plans so far by Centerplan, Aug. 18 workshop agenda, etc. to be added to this mailing. It is much appreciated.
The mayor, majority leader, respective departments, parking department council liaisons, anyone, please email, call or come to a public meeting and let us know about projects that will affect city planning.
We need to work together in the initial planning stages. Listening to a live council meeting, reading meeting minutes after the fact, or a newspaper article is not acting as a team. Please keep us in the loop in the future.
Molly Salafia
Acting chair Middletown Planning and Zoning

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