Thursday, December 13, 2012

River Front Presentation Concerns

There is a presentation on the riverfront development possibilities tonight at First Church (the South Cove presentation by Bill Warner, sponsored by the Jonah Center).

Several people who have participated in riverfront discussions are concerned that this might be the end of the planning period, that the forces in favor of quick and easy development might claim this First Church presentation is all that is needed for the involvement of the public and elected officials.

Below is the text of a letter to the Director of Planning, Bill Warner, from Molly Salafia, Planning and Zoning Commissioner. She applauds tonight's Jonah Center presentation, but suggests that it would be wise to hold another presentation in a public space, at a time when the public, as well as members of elected boards and commissions, including the Common Council, can more easily attend.

I appreciate the Jonah's Center and First Church making available space for a presentation on the Planning & Zoning Department's suggested changes to the zoning code, and subsequent plans for Middletown's river front that will be taking place tonight. I also appreciate the Department's efforts to inform citizens. I also realize this is not the first time this presentation has been held.

I would like to ask that this evening's presentation be repeated on public property- such as a school, the library, or council chambers as an official event posted with the Town Clerk so that the public is ensured prior notification and more have the opportunity to attend who may otherwise feel uncomfortable at a private location. I feel a public location will further give opportunity for commissioners to become educated on this issue. Also, if it is an official presentation or special meeting, commissioners like myself do not have to worry about collusion issues if we all were to attend.

If it could be at a time when other concerned committees such as Design Review and Citizen's Advisory meet this would be most beneficial; I am especially concerned that the Common Council will not be able to attend at its current time. I myself work outside of Middletown and leave work at 5;30 pm and cannot attend a meeting beginning at this time, like many other working citizens for example. I strongly encourage this presentation to be repeated at the Mayor's & Common Council's mandate of meetings being held after 7 pm on a weekday in a public space for the public's benefit.

Thank you,

Molly Salafia
PZ Commissioner


John Hall said...

Tonight's program is just the opposite of the "end of the planning period." This is an opportunity for the public to learn what the issues are, what a "floating zone" is, and to ask questions of Director Warner about what the process of public engagement and decision-making will be. I will explain at the start of the program that this is a purely educational program sponsored by the Jonah Center, since we have always been focused on the future of Middletown's waterfront. We want to encourage public involvement. Also, tonight we can learn what options the city has over various parcels.

Bill Corvo said...

I agree with John. The City of Middletown has a great deal of work to do before a harbor "concept" can even begin to gel. The City of Middletown needs to undertake a major infrastructure examination which will cover major elements for future development such as access, parking, use of the rail, road and walking areas. You can have a first class development in the harbor or you can allow the forces of nature to take care of development- in which case you will get out of it what you put into it. Put in little then don't expect muc

Anonymous said...

Go girl - takes a gutsy lady to call it like it is!