"I was not aware that that was going to happen," Garcia told me today, referring to the wording in plan commissioner Clarence Gary’s motion that eliminated several areas that had been part of the original Bishop/Davis land use study. "Personally, it took me by surprise." In Garcia’s opinion, the plan up to this point has belonged to a private group, and after nearly $60,000 was given in private donations, plus 10 private meetings were held around the neighborhood with roughly 820 people attending, "I think it’s only fair," Garcia says, to "call the public hearing for the whole plan … let’s go back to the community and ask them if they agree with these cuts. They may agree with the plan as a whole and we never gave them a chance to say so."
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Councilman David Neumann is in agreement with her on this, Garcia says, though it was his appointed plan commissioner, Clarence Gary, who read the motion changing the study area. I mentioned that this is a situation in which she and Neumann disagree with their plan commission appointees (hers is James Prothro), and Garcia pointed out that the commission is an independent body with the power to make such decisions, but insisted that their decision to cut out portions of the study area "shouldn’t have happened," adding that now city council has the opportunity to call a public hearing on the plan "in its entirety."
Once the Bishop/Davis land use study goes into the public hearing process, if plan commissioners receive feedback from residents and still believe some areas should be cut from the rezoning process, they will have the opportunity to make that call, Garcia says. (Though of course, she added, council would still have the ultimate authority to supercede any plan commission decisions.) But before any changes to the plan are made, Garcia says, "i believe people should have opportunity to give their voice in a public hearing."
The council vote on sending the Bishop/Davis land use study into a public hearing process will be tomorrow (Wednesday) at 1 p.m. in City Hall.