The City Council this week discussed imposing a temporary moratorium on commercial development, but decided not to act until a citizens advisory committee delivers its recommendations on proposals for the city’s growth.
Councilman James Boulgarides, who asked for the discussion, said a moratorium could give the city time to develop a “specific plan for growth management.” Without the moratorium, Boulgarides said, development might proceed contrary to the aims of the growth plan.
Boulgarides said he wanted to see the proposed moratorium in place for six months to a year, and added that it would apply only to commercial construction.
Councilman Richard Alexander and Councilwoman Jozelle Smith spoke against the proposed moratorium. “A moratorium has a place if a city is absolutely out of control,” Alexander said. “I reject that model, and therefore I reject the moratorium.”
Councilman Steven Gourley said he disagreed with Boulgarides’ omission of residential development in the moratorium plan. “I would like to see, instead of just a growth management plan, a master plan,” Gourley said. Such a plan, he said, would stipulate “not just what we don’t want, but what we do want.”
Mayor Paul Jacobs did not express an opinion on the moratorium.
Gourley and Smith said that before taking action on the moratorium plan, they wanted to see a report from the Direction 21 Steering Committee, a citizens advisory group formed by the council last year. The committee is drawing up recommendations on growth within one of the city’s targeted redevelopment areas.
Boulgarides said he thought the committee’s recommendations would not be as specific as the growth-management plan he was seeking, but he added that he would wait for the committee’s report before calling for further discussion.
Jody Hall-Esser, assistant executive director of the city Redevelopment Agency, said the committee’s recommendations, as amended by the council and the Planning Commission, would eventually “set standards against which all development would be measured before it would be able to be approved.”
Hall-Esser said she expected to receive a report from the steering committee this month, and added that the city could have a set of overall development standards within nine months.