I was hoping to see the action when our new city representative questioned the sense in letting the city violate the “dark skies” ordinance at this week’s city council meeting.
The meetings are long and it generally saves time to wait a few days after the meeting so that you can go directly to the item on the video instead of waiting as each item is contemplated.
I did not get to see the lighting ordinance issue.
Instead I got to see something absolutely wonderful.
One of the cellular carriers wanted to get a special variance to install a tower on Montana Avenue. They needed the variance because the tower would be within 500 feet of another tower.
A citizen addressed the council and objected. City staff wanted council to approve the variance right away–at the city council meeting.
The citizen pointed out that city staff failed to disclose all of the towers in the area. Why would they do that? Is it conceivable that staff does not know where the towers are? Or is it more probable that they did not want to disclose all of them in the hope that council would not object to just one extra one?
At one point an assistant city attorney cautioned council that by law they only had 150 days to rule on this kind of variance application. City council needed to take affirmative action at the meeting.
Our new city representative had been asking intelligent questions about the process and the need. When he heard that there was a 150 day time limit he asked when the process had started.
City staff responded that they did not have a record of when the process started with them. Thus the 150 day warning was no more or less than a strong arm tactic to fool council into taking their desired action.
Our new city representative suggested a delay until the next meeting and remarkably city council voted in favor of the postponement.
Way to go Mr. Tolbert! City staff has been misleading council for quite some time. Your patience and questioning might actually put a stop to it especially if we start disciplining those that lie to council.