(28th in a series of posts on 2 W. Market St.)
Thus sayeth the Gadfly: “So maybe one more post on 2 W., and then we’ll take a Thanksgiving break.”
Lots of people talked at the public hearing last night on 2 W. Market.
There were points made big and small.
And almost every point had two sides.
How to make order out of that randomness.
I wondered what I should say. We are on post #28 here. How was I going to boil all that down? Or what should I select out of all that on which to focus? (Notice how I craftily avoided ending with a preposition.)
What was the best approach to “help” Council make a decision?
My mind wandered to the front table.
How were they going to make a decision?
First of all, only 5 of 7 Council members were present for this 3hr meeting. And only 1 Council member was present at the similarly long recent Planning Commission meeting.
From questions asked, it didn’t appear to Gadfly that, except for Councilwoman Van Wirt, the Council was especially up to speed. How were they going to make sense out of all that randomness? How were the ones who missed this meeting as well as the previous one ever going to make up for what they missed? Would they be listening to audio tapes?
What I decided to do was try to offer a clearer suggestion for how to think about organizing all that random material so you could think about it more clearly and then ultimately make a decision.
A suggestion right out of my teaching playbook.
Put the purpose of the petition at the top of a page. Then make two columns, one headed “Why?” and the other “Why not?” Then go at it filling in both sides.
At the Planning Commission, Atty Preston said in sound-bite fashion the purpose of the petition was “adding an additional use to the zoning ordinance.” So put that at the top of a page.
Now, it seems to Gadfly that the next most logical question is why. “Atty Preston, why are you proposing adding an additional use to the zoning ordinance?”
And then Atty Preston would answer, “We are proposing to add an additional use to the zoning ordinance because __________________,” or “The main reason we are proposing to add an additional use to the zoning ordinance is __________________.”
Same with the opposition: “The main reason we are opposing adding an additional use to the zoning ordinance is _____________.
Gadfly would have loved to see the clarity of such succinct questions and answers.
Respectfully, Gadfly thinks Atty Preston’s presentation began off-point. At the more detailed presentation to the Planning Commission, his first major point was the text amendment v rezoning distinction. Which is “how” the additional use would be achieved. We got into the technical weeds very quickly.
So he told us “what” he was petitioning for and “how” it would be achieved but not “why” he was proposing this in the first place.
Gadfly thinks “Why?” is the first place.
Gadfly’s playing with the idea of asking the “why” and the “why not” questions and posing the answers side by side to see if that will clear the air a bit.
Gadfly said last night that this would be a tough decision for Council. There are good people and good supporters on both sides.
We must do all we can to make sure decisions are thoughtfully made.
See you after “break” on this and other Gadfly things.