During the election in 2016, there was an issue surrounding a property called Dove Canyon Plaza and the new owners stated intent to turn it into high density housing. The city council at the time (and still in place) would comment that there was no plan before them so they couldn’t comment. This was true, but we’ve had two other properties get radical rezone requests approved, the Jewish School by the iHop being turned into high density housing, and then the old Bull lot near Smart & Final that was forced to sell for a Fresh & Easy that was going to come in, then their expansion plans were stopped and it was rezoned to high density housing. No one wanted more high density housing, it is a net loss to the city as it doesn’t generate any real tax revenue and requires an expansion of services that cost the city money and are slowly driving RSM to bankruptcy.
My idea was that the city council could head off any request for a rezone from commercial to residential by just passing a moratorium on those kinds of rezones for a period of years. Since there was no business before the city, it wouldn’t be seen as retaliatory. I couldn’t get any response from city officials on the idea, so I looked into how to officially get something put on the agenda to be considered and commented on, it turns out that there is no way to do it. This prompted me to start a poll on in the RSM group on Facebook asking the question. The poll currently reflects that 96% would like an official method of petitioning the city council, you can read the entire post and comments here, but I will screenshot relevant parts below, starting with the question and the poll.
The suggestion was to use something similar to the petitions.whitehouse.gov website, but to utilize change.org to gather the information. This would be a zero cost to the city to implement, and an appropriate threshold of votes required, such as 300, and the city council would be would have to have it evaluated and the results made publicly available. The current system the city council uses,requires that a resident reach out privately to a city council person, make their suggestion and if the council member likes you and your idea, then they might put it on the agenda. The obvious problem is personal bias will stop anything from getting further, in addition, it has little weight if one person is asking as opposed to hundreds requesting it.
Mayor Vaughn chimed in on the discussion, which was nice of him to do, but he summarily dismissed the idea, which was very surprising, you can read parts of the exchange in the following screenshots. These were made at the time of the conversation, when there was about half the number of ‘yes’ votes.
At the time I ran the poll, I hadn’t really thought about another run for city council, but have recently decided to go ahead and run. This is one of the items that I intended to push for as a member of the city council. More transparency, visibility and access to the residents of our wonderful city. Please visit my campaign website at gordon4rsm.info to find out more about my policies and follow me on social media.