Thoughts on the 12/13 Culver TC Meeting

I’ve had hand surgery, so I’m behind on completing my blog entries. Sorry Lurkers! 🙂 I did have a few thoughts on the last Culver Town Council meeting. I’m not going to get into the controversial things, but I am disappointed in some of the procedural things and thought I would comment on those here.

The first one I found odd involved the approval of a PUD request. The request was approved without issue, but later in the meeting, Culver Fire Chief, Terry Wakefield, circled back to it. All of the buildings included in this PUD are going to have fire sprinkler systems, so due to the location, this will require a fire pump. The designers have been in discussions with Chief Wakefield regarding this and he had requested a hydrant be placed on the property. This would have improved the fire rating at this site and the surrounding area. He said the request was denied. A couple of questions I would pose regarding this:

  • Was this part of the Technical Review Committee (TRC) discussion? Is the Fire Chief consulted in the TRC review?
  • On the PUD for The Paddocks, tens of thousands of dollars in additional requirements were added, including infrastructure and easements. Why wasn’t Chief Wakefield’s request made a requirement? This seems like a minor request, considering the infrastructure already being placed. Any liability concerns could have been handled.

This seems like a missed opportunity here, but maybe one that can be corrected in the future…

The second issue involved the rescinding of matching dollars for Blue Zones. That match was contingent on other funding which hasn’t come through, so the use of the dollars is pretty much moot at this point, but my concern now is the methodology employed here.

Blue Zones was discussed at multiple meetings before the funding was approved. Presentations were made, public input was allowed and the allocation was passed. Then it was added to the 2023 budget. Once again there were opportunities for discussion and input. Throughout the past year, the Town Manager, Ginny Munroe, has promoted the project with the Council’s blessing. Reports on it were intermittently included in her Town Manager’s reports to the Council.

On the 13th, at the end of the meeting, after all of the agenda items were finished, including Citizen Input, it was brought up under Council Members Issues. The rescinding of support was voted on with minimal supporting information, a split 3:2 vote, and no public input. Was there anything illegal about it? Not that I know of… Was it completely out of line with Culver’s stated values for open communication? Undoubtedly. In my opinion, anything that has gone through as much preliminary discussion and input before being voted in should at least be an agenda item before being voted out.

Culver has done this in the past and I believe there should be some kind of resolution to change this. Projects that are supported and fostered by the Council shouldn’t get dropped without at least minimal conversations with those affected. I don’t think this usurps the Council’s prerogative to change their mind, but citizens that invest time and money into projects with the Council’s support shouldn’t be cast aside without due respect and consideration.

Both of these items are “water under the bridge” at this point. But they should be opportunities for reflection and, hopefully, opportunities for new rules and procedures to do better in the future.

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