On 9/24/2008 the publicly elected members of Middletown's Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5 to 1, with one abstention, to uphold an unofficial resolution that was read to them, regarding locating the ACOE project at the Cucia Park site. What the commissioners might have " felt" or "recognized", is a mystery to me. There was no "discussion" among commissioners on any of the points made in the "unofficial resolution". It was not discussed that this vote would be posted to this web site, by the commission itself. The topic was not on the written agenda for the P&Z.
It was clear to this observer, that more than half of the commission members were surprised when initially being asked to vote on this unofficially resolution. When one member asked why they where being asked to vote on this, the response was that it was the last chance for P&Z--given their meeting schedule and the tight time line of the ACOE--to show solidarity with the rest of the city in support of the Cucia Park site.
I was dismayed to see how this was handled for the following reasons.
1. What is the point of voting on an informal resolution?
2. Why would any planning and zoning commission make any kind of vote on any land use project without first hand knowledge, written documents, details, facts, figures, zoning codes, and property lines in front of them? That is what they have been elected to do.
3. Why would this site be preempted (which it seems might have happened) from at least the possibility of a formal presentation to the P&Z by the developer -- the Army?
4. Cucia Park may well have deserved the full support of the P&Z once it was fully examined by their own standards. Instead, I'm left to wonder.
It is unfortunate if the ACOE timeline does not fit with the P&;Z meeting schedule, but that does not obligate the Commission to vote to endorse the use of a site, that as a commission, they have not reviewed or discussed in all of it's ramifications and details. I would rather have seen a discussion about how to get around the timing problem, and a vote to withhold any endorsement, based on an unfortunate lack of information outside the control of the commission. Is this a binding endorsement? It was not on the agenda. Commissioners had no documents in front of them to go on. I do not think the public meeting was officially closed, before the commission vote was taken.
I hope I have conveyed that the "endorsement" posted by "Middletown Planning and Zoning" on the Cucia Park ACOE web site, did not meet any of the standards we have come to expect and anticipate from the oversight of elected officals and our planning and zoning commission.