The Westgate development plan and Councilmember Joan Bloom’s Monday town hall meeting on that same topic generated some sparks during the mayor and council comments section of Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
“There’s been a mischaracterization that the staff plan is the reason that the Westgate plan is what it is. That’s certainly not true,” said Mayor Dave Earling, referring to recent criticism of the proposed zoning changes that have been developed following several years of study and public input. “It has also been characterized as ‘The Mayor’s Plan.’ That’s certainly not true.”
Earling said the plan has had ” a thorough vetting. I don’t want to count how many scores of public meetings have been held, including Councilmember Bloom’s.”
“I just want to be clear that sometimes in the heat of changes, that people jump to assumptions and this plan has been around and involved at several different levels as I say for a number of years.”
When it was her turn to comment, Bloom said that the town hall format “is conducive to conversation…you have an opportunity to hear from the public what their specific concerns are.” She then made a direct request of Council President Diane Buckshnis that the entire council hold a town hall meeting on Westgate prior to the official Oct. 7 public hearing scheduled to gather citizen comments on the Westgate plan.
“I do not appreciate being put on the spot,” Buckshnis replied, adding that there will be opportunity for citizens to make their feelings known at a more informal Sept. 23 council study session. “We have to figure out protocol and all kinds of things in terms of putting on a town hall meeting,” adding that she would like to “take it under advisement right now.”