Zoning ordinance updating will need input
MORGAN CITY — A Morgan City resident questioned why more public notice was not given for what he called a "steering committee meeting" held Monday to discuss work on the city’s new planning and zoning ordinances.
Pat Cloutier told the council that at the meeting, comprised of members of the city’s Planning and Zoning and Historic Committee, such topics ranging from RVs parked in driveways as well as carports and satellite dishes, and boats parked on front lawns all were discussed.
He said that landscaping of businesses was mentioned, too.
“You have at a city council and at last night’s meeting called for public participation and involvement, yet the public had no chance to know the meeting was being held,” he told Mayor Tim Matte. “It wasn’t even on the city’s website’s events calendar.”
Matte said more public notice needs to be made. He said there was no official agenda for the Monday night meeting and discussion was more in a sense of those contributions made by people who had attended the meeting than any real action.
“I don’t want you to take it in the sense that those people were called to the meeting because this (is) what the city has in mind,” Matte told Cloutier. “We’re anxious to hear what the public has in mind for where those zoning ordinances need to go.”
Cloutier also expressed displeasure with the meetings Kendig Keast Collaborative, the firm hired to help the city with its rezoning work, would be having with certain citizens about concerns for the city.
Kendig Keast Collaborative Senior Associate Matthew Bucchin said at July’s council meeting that the meetings would be held with planning and zoning commission members to gather more data about the major issues and biggest concerns.
Councilman Lou Tamporello, who attended one of the meetings, said it was a preliminary meeting informing those in attendance of what Kendig Keast was doing.
While certain concerns were discussed, like RVs, he said that during the meeting, Kendig Keast requested each councilman gather residents from their districts and talk to the public about ordinances and get public feedback.
Cloutier requested that the city do anything it can to inform the public of meetings and of what ideas are being discussed and not let things get to the point where there are many pages of ordinances presented to the public that include “bad” or “unworkable” ordinances.
Matte said part of the plan is to publish these on the city’s website, www.cityofmc.org.
“I think that’s going to be a good way of disseminating information,” the mayor said.
Tamporello assured Cloutier that there is no need to worry because the public will have numerous opportunities to comment on the ordinances before they are enacted.
“This is just the beginning of it all,” Tamporello told Cloutier.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the council received an update from St. Mary Parish Council on Aging Director Beverly Domengeaux.
She thanked the mayor and council for its support of the program, which services 450 seniors, but said that finances and mileage prevent her from reaching others.
The Council on Aging, she said, has a large waiting list.
Locally, she said there are 124 people in the community who are over 85 years old.
She asked for the council’s help to keep its senior programs funded, as she said they are in danger of cuts at the state and federal levels.