Things heated up this week at City Hall.
, residents scolded city employees, council members snipped at one another about how to deal with group homes, and the city manager lashed out at critics, calling the Media City “a frustrating place to work.”
It’s time to stop this. The distrust that the members of the council have for one another, the disdain members of the public have for city employees, and the general suspicion everyone seems to have of everyone else’s motives is cancerous.
City Manager Mark Scott, by his own admission, has made several missteps in informing the public regarding this inexplicably hot-button issue. But the vitriol directed at him and his staff is eye-roll inducing. A failure to tape a community meeting is not Watergate. Get over yourselves.
Let’s review: Under state law, cities may not regulate or discriminate against community care facilities, which can include sober-living homes, in single-family residential neighborhoods. If such a place has six or fewer residents, the city has to treat them like a standard-issue household. Currently, there is but one facility that meets this definition, and by all accounts, they’re good neighbors.
But people are deeply, deeply concerned, and so the Council decided to look into what it can do. The answer? Not much. But even a modest idea by Councilman David Gordon to make it — temporarily, at least — harder to add a significant number of bedrooms to a home, perhaps limiting new group homes, was shot down, despite the fact that Scott called it “clever.”
Why? Most likely because it was Gordon’s idea. Though they later agreed to include the idea in future shouting matches — er, discussions — the plan looks pretty dead from this perspective.
So, to sum up: After two hours of discussing this one issue — about which they can legally do little —
— which will tell them the same — and push to the back burner the one thing they could do.