“There are a lot of long-term implications [of the policy] from an economic development perspective,” Council Member Marie Lowman said at the regular council meeting May 22. “This [new process] is trying something a little bit different. Let’s watch it. If we get to the point where things are so slow [that] we shouldn’t even be having two meetings a month because things are hung up, [then let’s reconsider].”
The practice up until now involved City Council first approving a zoning amendment request from an applicant. Then that applicant was permitted to submit all related materials with revision, if necessary, to the city manager so city staff could prepare the amending ordinance.
The new procedure includes initial staff talks with a developer and later, includes at least two separate readings by council so proposed changes made from the dais can be captured in text and exhibits to be reviewed by council prior to the final adopting vote, council documents showed. City staff said there are also benefits to developers who want to do business in the city.
Council also amended city code, approving unanimously a clause that an ordinance be voted on in its final form by council and the city secretary certify the enrolled ordinance represents what is approved on the dais.
“The [new] checkpoints of having the ordinance prepared provides [the applicant] more certainty and time back and forth in discussions. It should cause fewer wrinkles [for a] project,” City Planning and Development Director Lindsey Oskoui said.
The changes came about after a developer sued and later settled with the city this spring after an ordinance council had passed in 2014 was later amended outside of council’s purview.
It is now up to the city secretary to ensure an approved ordinance reflects council’s final motion. The mayor’s signature on the final document is considered only a ministerial action. The effective date of an ordinance is the day council approves it.
“It [is] a good swap; time [in exchange] for absolute accuracy and completeness, that was our goal,” Mayor Monty Parker said.