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January 3, 2013

Light agenda yields conversation, but little action during first Three Rivers City Commission meeting of 2013

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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Three Rivers City Hall

There was a light agenda for the first Three Rivers City Commission meeting of the New Year Wednesday evening (January 2nd), a session that consisted primarily of comments and conversation and lasted less than 25 minutes.

There were no presentations or recognitions, no public hearings, and no new business.  The only ‘action items’ were routine things such as approval of the agenda, approval of minutes from the December 18th meeting, and approval of the consent agenda.

Three Rivers City Commission during the group’s first meeting of 2013 Wednesday evening. From left to right: Commissioners Jared Hoffmaster, Daryl Griffith and Diane Clay, Mayor Tom Lowry, City Clerk Lindsay Howes, and Commissioners Alison Haigh and David York. Commissioner Carolyn McNary was absent. (Click on photo to enlarge)

During the General Comments portion of the meeting, Angel Johnston addressed the commission and commented on several topics related to the downtown area.  She called for better communication between the Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the commission in regard to the Mural Mall project, and suggested the need for improvement in getting rid of trash and dealing with cigarette butts.  On two occasions during her remarks, Johnston, who is now a member of the DDA, said, “We’ve got to do better.”  (Angel Johnston audio clip – :39)

Several of the points raised by Johnston came in for discussion during the City Commission and City Manager’s Communications portion of the agenda, and City Attorney Pat O’Malley indicated that he anticipates having an ordinance to amend the Historic District Ordinance ready for consideration by the commission during its meeting on February 5th.  (Pat O’Malley audio clip – 1:41)

O’Malley said, “I think the HDC (Historic District Commission) is anxious for the one change that has been discussed – and the commission has received the proposed ordinance – to adopt it.”

Wednesday’s meeting was the first attended by recently-appointed First District Commissioner Jared Hoffmaster.

Consideration of a proposed amendment to the city’s Historic District Ordinance was removed from the agenda for the November 5th meeting in view of the fact that it had been submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for review and an opinion.  According to a memo from the city manager at the time, the HDC had requested an amendment to the ordinance to make it clearer that requests come to the body before a building permit is obtained.  In the course of the discussion Wednesday evening, both Mayor Tom Lowry and At-Large Commissioner Daryl Griffith indicated their belief that colors related to buildings in the downtown area should not be within the purview of the HDC.  (Daryl Griffith audio clip – 1:04)

Wednesday’s meeting was the first for First District Commissioner Jared Hoffmaster since his appointment on December 4th to fill the vacancy resulting from Judy Gilchrist’s resignation.  Hoffmaster missed the December 18th meeting because of illness.

To listen to the entire city commission meeting – ‘gavel to gavel’ – click on the following link:  Three Rivers City Commission meeting – January 2, 2013 (23:40 – 21.6 MB).


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