I was struck by the contrast between the SRO Historical Society meeting about Eichlers on Thursday night (see next post) and the Joint City Council-Planning Commission meeting on Saturday morning. Thursday night more than 100 residents showed up to learn about the history of the Eichlers up in Mills Estate. Saturday morning in the very same Lane Room, Russ and I were the only regular residents to show up to hear staff, council members and planning commissioners discuss a historic properties ordinance.
The annual joint meeting is the one time each year when a free-flowing dialog between the three groups of public servants happens. There is no voting, just giving of direction to staff and the Planning Commission. I was also struck by how many council members still appear (and some even admit) to being confused about the basics of a historic properties list in B'game. Many cities and towns in California already have them, there are lots of sample ordinances--two were provided on Saturday. And yet the sum total of the guidance was "Start small in the downtown, mostly commercial district and make it voluntary and simple". Also, the Planning Commission should oversee it. That's all good, but after almost a decade of thinking about it, an hour of discussion and all the work on the Downtown Plan as well as the news swirling around CEQA and Gov. Moonbeam's attempts to gut that state law, you would think there would be more clarity and direction.
I'll revisit why a voluntary, simple, residential option would be good for residents' tax bills and for the integrity of the neighborhoods another time. My guess is plenty of the crowd on Thursday would agree even if it does apply to them or their house!
Here's the Staff, the Planning Commission (one absent) and the Council this past Saturday: