Gov't

Six Month Moratorium on Zoning of “Bars” Recommended by Planning & Zoning

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By Dave Freneaux

The Planning & Zoning Commission held its regular meeting on Thursday, June 24th.  After the commission recommended approval to rezone a property on Hooper Road for the opening of a real estate office, there were two items of exceptional interest which occurred at this meeting.

First, Counciman Moak introduced a resolution placing a six month moratorium on any applications for C-AB-2 zoning, which is the classification for an establishment serving alcohol with no requirement to serve food.  Mr. Moak's resolution calls for a committee to study the issue and determine exactly what the City of Central wants to do with this concept as a whole rather than having a philosophical discussion about alcohol each time a rezoning request is made.  Since there are currently no cases before the City concerning C-AB-2 Mr. Moak felt this was the correct time to decide the issue.  By a 6 to 1 vote the commission approved the matter to go to full City Council for consideration.  Mr. Giles cast a no vote, citing that the concept of a "moratorium" is a red flag for developers considering investing in Central.  Mr. Giles has no objection to the study but is concerned about the halting of progress in economic development that accompanies a moratorium.

The other item of significant interest was the attendance for this meeting.  There were eighteen people in the room, nine members of commissions, three employees of the City or City Services, four who were presenting their cases for consideration, the owner of the meeting hall and a representative of CentralSpeaks.com.  There were no citizens of Central in attendance who were not otherwise obligated to be there.

The agenda, including the addition of the C-AB-2 moratorium discussion, has been posted on the City website for approximately 10 days, and has been available at City Hall as well.  The City has been sending the agendas to CentralSpeaks.com as a courtesy and has now agreed to send revisions as well, and CentralSpeaks.com will be printing these as they become available.  However, it is the primary duty of the citizens of Central to make the effort to stay informed and even to attend these meetings if the citizens want to retain the right to give input on these issues prior to them being acted on by our elected and appointed officials.  Central's form of government is NOT a pure democracy, it is a representative republic.  The opportunity to actually vote on any issue is given to the people elected every four years.  The opportunity for citizens to be heard on any issue is given at every public meeting.  It is perfectly acceptable for Central's citizens to trust the elected and appointed officials to make decisions without public input, as long as everyone recognizes that the people have then tacetly approved those decisions by their silence.

4 Comments

  1. Paul

    June 25, 2010 at 11:14 am

    A moratorium? Really? Yea because those are so popular and effective right? Some of our city leaders are really starting to look like politicians aren’t they? Why not just address the issue head on and straight up. Do the study and zone thee properties according to the wishes of the MAJORITY of the population, not just the opinion of some.

    As for the attendance, it is summer. Many people are on vacation or working extra hours to take vacation. I would love to attend every council, P&Z and school board meeting there is but unfortunately my job doesn’t allow that. That doesn’t take away our right to voice our opinion and thanks to this website and other sources, we can still keep current.

  2. Mike Mannino

    June 25, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Dave,
    There was a light agenda so this probably contributed to the low attendance. Doesnt mean we dont keep up by reading this forum and posting on Facebook. I support a moratorium and study and suggested such the night of the controversy with the last bar. We definitely need some kind of ordinance to address each and every type of rezoning class in the city. The more structure we have around this, the less latitude the P&Z commission has making their job easier and less they have to debate with the citizens. It also clears up things for developers that may wish to build here. I absolutely support Mr. Moaks efforts on this one. BTW, this is not addressed by the master plan before anyone makes that comment. As far as sending the wrong message to developers, I’m more concerned about the message to all of us who make our home here and if it delays development, may not be a bad thing.

  3. Paul

    June 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Mike – I think the issue of bars is a very touchy subject. There are those that are against bars at all, for moral or religious reasons and then there are those that are for them. This should be something that reflects the actual wishes of the community as a whole, not just the special interests of some. I don’t see bars as inherently evil. I don’t think they are the cause of drinking and driving, teen drinking or alcoholism nor more than I think guns are the cause of murders. People have to take personal responsibility for their actions and people are to blame. Like I said in my post, why not just address the issue head on? Determine the will of the people. If the majority are against bars, than no more bars. If they are for them, than approve their applications and let free trade decide their fate.

  4. Aaron Moak

    June 29, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Paul, alot of times I will agree with you on the moratorium issue. The reason I asked for it was 1. if you put it out there that the issue of bars in Central may or may not be banned or restricted what would keep someone or a lot of someones to start filling out applications for a bar and all the sudden we are in the same boat as before where before legislating during someones application. 2. As far as looking like a politician well that is what I am required to do. If the public comes before me with an issue then I listen and decide from there what I need to do with the issue. That includes you and concerns you may have about any subject. The issue of C-AB-2 or (bars) was not an issue till after the election. Since it has become an issue then it does need to be looked into. I agree with you it will not be done on the bases of special interest it will be done for what Central wants as a whole. There are some who want it all done away with and some that want it to be as it is (let free entreprize prevail). We as a Council will get the input and go from there.

    To Mike, yes it is being addressed by the master plan through the zoning ordinances that are being drafted and comming to a head. These new zoning ordinances which are the law part of the master plan will work together. In this study we will be working with Mark Balkin our P&Z attorney to decide what is acceptable for Central and bring before the public for input then the Council for a vote. This particular category will part of the master plan ordinances and be in the master plan zoning ordinances to be voted on by the council after public input.

    This moratorium is for only 6mts and has been stipulated by the P&Z not to be extended in there vote. In speaking with others and attorneys we should be bringing the master plan to a vote about the same time (I HOPE).

    If anyone has any question please feel free to give me a call at 225-324-6008.

    Thank you both for your comments.

    Councilman

    Aaron Moak

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