Friday, July 16, 2010

Commission Meeting - Two Lane Initiative Committee

There was quite a lot that happened here in the Commission Meeting on Tuesday night.  So much so that I've still got more to write about.

In this case the discussion of the Committee for the study into the impact of the Two Lane Initiative. 

There is a consensus on the Commission that there needs to be a Committee to study the feasibility and impact of the Two Lane Initiative as put forth by Wilton Manors Main Street.  The plan is complex in that it takes four phases to get to completion, but also in that it sets the City on a course for expansion of the Business District on Wilton Drive and gives the Residents the walkable city that we all want.

When complete, we will have a showcase of New Urbanism that builds on our strengths and erases the biggest weakness that we have, a race course in the middle of town.

Commissioner Ted Galatis raised a question about the need for such a study.  In this down market, the City Manager Joe Gallegos had explained, the City staff is cut to the bone.  In some cases it is so small that the City can not take on the functions that a place of prominence that Wilton Manors has become will need to be done.   There just isn't the manpower within the staff to sit down and study the initiative. 

The idea is that the City will have one member on the committee that will report back to the Commission the results of their finding.  As structured, the committee will be subject to the same laws that the Commission is such as minutes reporting and sunshine law.  I fail to see why this committee needs to be subject to the sunshine law.  The idea of the sunshine law is that it will force all discussions to be held in a formal recorded meeting place in front of the public. That is fine, but it will further limit any discussions between any two or more members on the subject of the Initiative outside of the meetings. 

This will cause a knock on effect of forcing anyone on  the other boards to be careful about what is said in context so as not to violate the law.   It will also slow down the works by forcing any discussions to be held only within the meetings unless a formal sub committee is created.  There is a small pool of people who are active in a city of almost 13,000 and there are just so many volunteers to go around.

The only way around that is to immediately create a subcommittee that incorporates the entire board for the sole purpose of discussion of the Initiative.  I have a feeling that that would violate the law and would certainly make a lawyer smile.

The structure will be that one seat will be from various volunteer City boards and there will be an effort made to be as inclusive as possible to mirror the diversity of this City.  This process will take years, and the intent is as suggested by Commissioner Tom Green to Sunset the Commission after 18 months.

This Committee will be formed in August and immediately set to work formalizing the future of the City. 

Hopefully they will be effective.  There is a lot at stake and it will give us so much back.

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