Tuesday, October 5, 2010

AGENDA SETTING SESSION # 3

The Plainfield Council holds two meetings a month,one to prepare the agenda items for the business meeting that will take place the following Monday night. Before the Agenda setting meeting Council convenes at 6 PM for an executive session. The Public meeting is schedules for 7:30 PM but most often is late rarely as much as an hour. This year the agenda setting meetings have quiet often lasted until after midnight and and according to one of the bloggers this month's was still going strong when she left at 12:33 AM.The participants were at it for over 6.5 hours. That is not conducive to clarity of thinking

I have repeatedly called for a return to the twice monthly paired meetings of yore. This council or Annie McWilliams has either voluntarily or forced by circumstances increased its work load and it impacts on its effectiveness as the minutes and hours pass 11PM. There are many good reasons to revert back to the old schedule.The least is that by running so late you are chasing the citizens away a depriving them the opportunity to participate at public comment time.

There is little time left to make a change this year but one can hope that the 2011 Council will again be chaired by Ms McWilliams with the proviso that there is an adjustment in the number of meetings a month. The minimal change would be to have TWO agenda setting sessions before the business meeting. One could be dedicated to the reports and discussion items that are the opening items under the present format. The second could be devoted to Ordinances and Resolutions to be considered. This would materially reduce the time overload caused by Council's accepting its role.

An example of an item that came up for discussion but may not be on the agendas for months was complaints about people parking commercial vehicles on their property or in the streets. There are two problems: 1-Parking om the street and parking on ones property. Separate Ordinances a re required for each and the enforcement is different. Police can ticket violators of the present ordinance regarding to leaving trucks etc on the street overnight. Vehicles parked on private property are can not be tagged by the police but are subject to code violations.

The problem arise in the ambiguity of the present Ordinance which defines storage as meaning 24 hours or more.In an attempt to protect the owners of a small one vehicle business overnight being permitted b y the time limits. Storage being the violation crime. However under the present Ordinance it would be possible and legal to park an 18 wheeler for 23hours 59 minutes in your driveway or yard. Also any weekend parking is at present illegal.

The matter was referred to the Planning and/or Zoning Board to draft a new ordinance which would be specific about size and "signs" on the vehicle. Vans and small trucks could be OK but what about truck tractors?

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