Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Southside Landfill Zoning Goes Through

The City-County Council voted NOT to hear the rezoning of 230 acres that will provide Southside Landfill with expansion capability. In a front page article on the zoning effort and opposition by some neighbors, Indy Star reporter, Francesca Jarosz did a very nice job laying out the issues.

I have mentioned previously, in "City-County Council to Meet Monday, June 7", that the prime issue would be the unwritten authority of the district Councillor to have the final say in whether or not a zoning case is given a full blown hearing by the Council. While I continue to suspect that that was the meat of the private conversations between Councillors, I haven't a whit of evidence. At last night's meeting, only Councillor Bob Cockrum, district Councillor in this case, spoke against calling the zoning petition down. He cited the various public meetings and the hearing before the MDC as having provided all interested parties with enough opportunity to make changes and have input. On the other side of the question were comments by At-Large Councillors Joanne Sanders, who made the original motion, Barb Malone, and Ed Coleman. They pointed to fully affording the entire public process to the neighbors who opposed the zoning, as well as some unspecified issues that those neighbors had not been able to bring forward in the preceding course of the public process.

The final vote was 13 in support of hearing the zoning matter, and 15 opposed. Councillor Bateman was absent. Here is how they voted:

In support were three of the At-Large Councillors, Sanders (D), Malone (R), and Coleman (L), and Democrats Brown, Gray, Lewis, both Maherns, Mansfield, Minton-McNeill, Moriarty, Nytes, and Oliver. Opposed were lone Democrat Evans, along with Republicans Cain, Cardwell, Cockrum, Day, Freeman, Hunter, Lutz, McHenry, McQuillen, Pfisterer, Rivera, Scales, Speedy, and Vaughn. Councillor Rivera, the fourth At-Large Councillor, was a tardy last vote that suggested he might have been pondering the implications of the possible role of an At-Large Councillor in future zoning matters.

Not being a mind reader I can only surmise the actual role district vs. at-large played. The vote tally certainly suggests that a large portion of the vote was partisan politics, for whatever purpose or aim. That could include the Rs siding with one of their own while the Ds sided against an R, and the Ds feeling there was an inherent problem with the MDC decision while the Rs could not afford that view or else they would politically embarrass one of their own. Or all of the above simultaneously.

All that said and conjectured over, perhaps the Council should review its rules of procedure and nail down the issue of who can call down a zoning matter. If anyone can, if any At-Large or the District Councillor can, or if only the District Councillor can.

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