Mayor and Commissioners Meeting Feb. 15, 2014

The Mayor and Commissioners met on February 15, 2013. All Commissioners were present except Commissioner Hunker.   Among other items, the following actions were taken:   Commissioner Patrick Gossett gave the report of the Planning Commission, noting that the previously announced March 8 tree workshop is being postponed, due to personnel changes in the State Planning Office.   Site Plan Review: Commissioner Gossett introduced a proposed ordinance to require site plan review for building permits issued for construction within 25 feet of Lake Gerar or Silver Lake.  This action was part of the recommendations of the Planning Commission in their Lakes Report.   3 letters to the Commissioners were read, 2 from citizens, and one from SOLA3, all opposed to site plan review. Commissioner Gossett offered answers to the letters, noting that there are guidelines in the site plan review ordinance, that the purposes of site plan review are laid out in ordinance, and that there is an appeals process in the ordinance.    Discussion between the Mayor and Commissioners centered on the process for site plan review, with Commissioner Mills stating that he was uncomfortable with it, as it is an untested process and adds a burden to property owners when applying for a building permit.   Commissioner Zellers stated that she felt the ordinance did not adequately set out criteria to be used in reviewing building plans.   Commissioner Sargent remarked that site plan review is “a very blunt instrument” for the purposes of protecting Silver Lake from visual and environmental pollution.   Commissioner Coluzzi stated that she would be in favor of a greater setback around Silver Lake, but opposed the site plan review proposal.   Commissioner Gossett responded that the City must work on the problems facing Silver Lake through several approaches.  He recalled the outcry when residential building began at 6 Silver Lane, and suggested that site plan review would have provided for public input and additional review of the building permit. He reminded Commissioners that site plan review would address issues of runoff, height, and other issues that Commissioners thought should be addressed. He said the process would add public communication and input into the process. Gossett stated that the City needs to think about a long-term plan for the future of the community.   Comments were taken from members of the public who attended the meeting. Discussion continued among the Commission, with no amendments and no alternatives to site plan review offered. After the discussion, the ordinance failed to pass with Commissioners Gossett and Sargent and Mayor Cooper voting yes, and Commissioners Coluzzi, Zellers and Mills voting no.   No-Build Zone around Silver Lake: The Commissioners set a public hearing on March 15, 2013 to establish a 10-foot no-build zone around Lake Gerar and Sliver Lake.     Scooter Parking: Commissioners Coluzzi and Zellers led a discussion of a proposed scooter parking plan drafted by the Streets and Transportation Committee, including designated parking areas, permit fees, penalties, and other rules. The Committee will come back with final and specific plan to be further discussed at the March 4 workshop, and finalized and adopted at March 15 regular meeting.   A Permit of Compliance was unanimously approved for a new restaurant, "The Bramble and Brine House" at 315 Rehoboth Ave. In the discussion, neighbors asked questions about trash and noise, and supported the permit, stating that the owners of the restaurant had already taken actions to ensure that they were not disturbing the neighborhood.   The new Emergency Operations Plan for the City was approved unanimously.   The next meeting of the Mayor and Commissioners will be a Workshop meeting held at City Hall at 9:00am on March 4, 2013.