Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sounds Like a Plan?

So the Draper City Council got all confused the other evening?  Seems that the developer of the Windsor development on the Jordan River (a mix of multi- and single-family housing) tried to address some criticisms by the Planning Commission by changing its proposal in the middle of the hearing.  By the time it was over, no one could keep straight which proposal they were talking about.  Then there was the little problem of no one having had a chance to look at the new proposal.  Finally the Council decided, in a 3-2 vote, to set the new proposal on for a new hearing.

This is the sort of thing that happens when you don't have a procedure that works.  I have to say I miss not working with the Washington State system.  If a council (city or county) is making a land use decision that is jurisdiction-wide (such as adopting a new use for a particular type of zone or amending street standards), it is acting legislatively.  It may be lobbied, it can amend the proposal at will (not quite, but close enough for this discussion), and it doesn't have to make a record of why it did what it did.  If there is a site-specific application, though (someone wants a rezone or conditional use permit on a particular parcel), the council is acting quasi-judicially and has to act like a court.  It has to make a formal record and base its decision on that record, and lobbying is right out.

That's where the staff and planning commission come in.  They make a lot of the direct contacts and build the record so the council has some insulation.  And if the applicant wants to change the proposal, it's back to the staff and commission to make a new record.

I've found that it works.  It certainly keeps applicants from switching horses in midstream, leaving councils wandering around in a fog.  They don't need any help with that.

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At June 20, 2009 at 9:38 AM, Blogger workhard said...

Hi.. like your blog. its pretty interesting. will be back

Idaho Real Estate

At August 3, 2009 at 12:55 PM, Blogger Knute Rife said...

Welcome back any time.


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