Comments on: Concerns Raised Over Glendale Condos it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Mon, 29 Jul 2013 00:04:25 +0000 What can I say, I’m a process person.

No, I haven’t tracked the bylaws of the Planning Commission. I just think public bodies should operate according to their own rules, consistently and without favor.

By: James D'Amour James D'Amour Sun, 28 Jul 2013 23:22:46 +0000 @Vivienne, if these bylaws were indeed extant during my watch, they certainly weren’t enforced. I also agree with Jack Eaton, that Mr. Warpehoski has no direct financial interest involved in the project — and perhaps could still have latitude when addressing Commission. I’m sorry, forgive me, I tend to find the “rules” clamped down on more often than not only when it seems a decision-maker, (member of council, commissioner) tends to be speaking against a particular development and not for (especially behind the scenes). Agreed planning commissioner’s role is somewhat quasi-judiciary, but council certainly less so.

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Sun, 28 Jul 2013 21:38:55 +0000 James, if you are referring to her actions after the Planning Commission spoke and while she was on Council, that is consistent with what I was trying to say. I think the council member on the Planning Commission has often taken an advocacy role on a project, but in their proper setting, namely the Council itself.

I was trying to say that ideally, that person should behave judicially in discussions at the Planning Commission itself.

Of course we all know that we are informed by our opinions in making decisions at any level. What one would hope to avoid is that advocacy would override factual and legal information before the body.

Bylaws are bylaws. They become meaningless if ignored in particular situations.

By: James D'Amour James D'Amour Sun, 28 Jul 2013 21:30:29 +0000 @Vivienne,

I too, was certainly surprised to see Mr. Warpehoski preempted from speaking at the public hearing.

With all due respect to the by-laws of either body, I know for a fact on several occasions I DID address Council on matters that appeared before me as a then member of the Planning Commission, after the fact.

While members of the Planning Commission are to some extent proscribed from certain actions (discussing projects with petitioners and interested parties on matters before the meeting), this certainly didn’t prevent Jean Carlberg, the longtime representative from Council who served in the body at the time with me from taking a downright advocacy role after the vote had been taken on many a project.

By: abc abc Thu, 25 Jul 2013 21:06:34 +0000 “…as a party interested in a petition…”

is still more ambiguous, to me, than:

“A party in interest [in a petition]…” as you write Mr. Eaton, simply because of the ‘in’.

It never ceases to frustrate me that these things are written without enough clarifying emphasis. Had the city’s code said “a person directly interested” I would agree with Mr. Eaton. But unfortunately there is no reference to what kind of interest keeps one from addressing the PC. And we all know that “a party interested” COULD also include Mr. Eaton’s person who finds the site plan interesting or a person just having an opinion.

I think this issue is open to interpretation and debate, which is where I think codes should not be. And while Mr. Eaton’s approach is perfectly reasonable, so is Ms. Armentrout’s; they are both possible interpretations of the same language. The PC should consider how they want this to work, and then say it plainly and succinctly.

By: Jack Eaton Jack Eaton Thu, 25 Jul 2013 14:54:01 +0000 Re (2) I read the provision “a party interested in a petition” to mean more than just a person who finds the site plan interesting or a person having an opinion.

A party in interest can mean a person who might benefit or suffer harm directly from the proposal. If the rule is so broad as to mean that a Council member who takes any interest in a petition cannot speak to the Planning Commission, shouldn’t the rule just say that Council members cannot speak about any petition? Can you conceive of a circumstance in which a Council member is not interested in the petition yet wants to speak about it?

Council member Warpehoski lives uphill from the Glendale site. I do not think the proposal will have a direct impact on him or his home. Nonetheless, he does live near the site and, apparently, has taken an interest in the proposal. I don’t think that his taking an interest in the petition is the same as having an interest in the petition, as addressed in the rule.

As I mentioned in my prior comment, there may be other reasons a Council member should not advocate a position in front of a commission whose decision is subject to Council review.

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Wed, 24 Jul 2013 22:08:43 +0000 I think that the prohibition makes sense in terms of the deliberative trajectory of a plan. This is a process issue, not a legal one. The commission is entitled to set its own bylaws.

By speaking at a public hearing, a person generally advocates a particular course of action. I suppose that one could speak at a public hearing to instruct Commissioners on aspects of the law or planning theory, without pointing to a particular resolution of the question, but I can’t believe that happens very often. (I have no idea of what CM Warpehoski meant to say, or what his position on this development is.)

Council members are the final arbiters of whether site plans are accepted. But they should be considering in their deliberation at Council the deliberation already taken at the Commission. Presumably the Planning Commission reviews the information available, deliberates, and comes to a decision based on their best understanding of the site plan. In theory, they are supposed to be judicial in approach. The councilmember who is assigned to the Planning Commission as a Council liaison presumably carries out that charge as well, and does not operate as an advocate.

So it is improper for a council member to advocate prior to the deliberative process, both of the Planning Commission and of the Council itself. If he has special knowledge of a situation, he can discuss that at the Council table. If he has a strong opinion, he can deliver it then too.

Planning Commission members are not welcome to appear at public hearings before Council regarding a site plan, either. (At least, I assume that is still the case.) Commissioners have their say within the discussion at their own level, and the Commission speaks as a body to the Council.

By: Sabra Briere Sabra Briere Wed, 24 Jul 2013 22:01:10 +0000 Re #1. From the bylaws of the Planning Commission (the revised bylaws were on the agenda for Tuesday, July 16 – and this section was not revised.)

Article V. Conflict of Interest
Section 9. A member of the City Council shall not be heard before the Commission as a petitioner, representative of a petitioner or as a party interested in a petition during the Council member’s term of office.

Council member Warpehoski was clearly a party interested in a petition.

By: Jack Eaton Jack Eaton Wed, 24 Jul 2013 20:03:06 +0000 The Planning Commission’s decision to prohibit City Council member Chuck Warpehoski from speaking is curious. The plain language of the Planning Commission rule does not apply to his status at this public hearing.

Perhaps there is some concern about him advocating one position or another at this early stage of the site plan process and then later participating in the administrative decision making about that site plan as a Council member. If that is the concern, why has it not been raised with regard to the participation of a Council member as a Planning Commission member at one step of the process (voting for or against a site plan) and then as a Council member in the next step of the process (voting for or against the Planning Commission’s recommendation).

To the extent that it might be improper for a Council person to form a strong position on a site plan before it is presented to Council, either advocating to the Planning Commission or participating on the Planning Commission should raise that same issue.

I hope someone asks the City Attorney’s office to issue a public opinion regarding whether a Council member may speak to the Planning Commission in support or in opposition to a particular site plan, where the Council member has no financial interest in the site plan.