Monday, January 5, 2009

Blessings are not just for the ones who kneel...

As I was sitting down to review and preview this week's municipal meetings in Norwich, I came across this and had to catch my breath as U2 has always been a personal favorite. They frustrate and invigorate me, often at the same time and just as often by design. Same can be said, sort of, about life as a thorn in The Rose of New England.

The first City Council meeting of this year happens tonight at 7:30 and it's a full agenda (and perhaps that's an understatement) featuring (I don't know what other word to use) a proposal to eliminate the zoning regulation that allows densely developed age-restricted housing complexes. You remember the fallout from the unintended consequences of this regulation, right? The state hearing no one from the City government attended and so the residents of Scotland and Hansen Roads found themselves facing 185 condominiums on 60 acres whose approval was later withheld by two city agencies, with the City Council then lobbying the same state committee to change its decision, all of which now has the developer threatening lawsuits.

There's also a LOT of economic development incentives on the agenda (a residue of the now-defunct Administrative, Planning and Economic Development Committee, APED) with sponsorship by, but hopefully not limited to, Alderman Robert Zarnetske and now-former Alderman (and State Representative) Christopher Coutu (told you, 'twin sons of different mothers' and you laughed) but are, in a much broader sense proposals and suggestions, developed, mid-wifed and moved along by Rose City Renaissance ("Bring Back the Bustle" indeed! Van McCoy would be so proud. What? Oh, Bustle. Sorry).

There's an informational session at seven (don't look for it on the city's website, Andy D and others, it's not there despite the promises that the informational sessions will be posted) to brief the aldermen on the projected costs and benefits of the incentives (there's NO record kept or made of these sessions so if you go, be sure to take and make your own notes as we have very selective memories around here. I still have my chaps for that pony ride for my birthday and we all know how that didn't work out...).

Later in the evening's agenda, as Resolution #3, not an economic development issue but, at least in my mind, one of the primary reasons for the existence of any government at any level, the City Council will have an opportunity to revisit an item from this past fall. Thanks to its sponsor, the Mayor, the aldermen can be part of an effort to more than make a difference, but to be the difference. (Let's hear it for second chances!)

Also Monday, but early (can you say 8 AM? I knew you could) is a meeting of the Executive Committee (doesn't seem to include anyone from Norwich at the moment) of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, SCCOG, in the Norwich Business Park at 5 Connecticut Avenue. I couldn't find the agenda for the meeting, but, in case there's a pop quiz, here are the minutes of their regular meeting of December 17th at the Norwich Inn and Spa. I think you'll find a large amount of quiet persuasion across a broad spectrum of issues when you read them. I look forward to reading minutes of their succeeding meetings to see how much success crowns their efforts. And on Friday, at 1 PM, at 5 Connecticut Avenue there will be a special meeting of SCCOG that will include Senator Christopher Dodd. I suspect that meeting will be in the local newspapers on Saturday, regardless of outcomes or desired outcomes.

And also on Monday, at 5:15 in Gales Ferry (1649 Route 12 to be exact), is a meeting of the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority (SCWA). Their website seems to be a more modern version of haiku and for those who admire brevity, is quite an object of devotion. I'm being a tad snarky, because their web presence doesn't do justice to the importance of their mission and needs to.

Not a municipal meeting, but a lot of fun if you didn't get to see it in person, is Tuesday at 4 PM on Comcast Public Access, the Norwich Winter Festival Parade. It's not as cold watching it on television as it was in December--but the fun still comes through. Take it easy on the eggnog, though, okay?

Thursday night at seven, the Inlands Wetlands, Water Courses and Conservation Commission meets at 23 Union Street. Here's their minutes from December 2008, when they met elsewhere.

Actually, Thursday is the day this week for meetings to include at 5:15 PM (another quarter hour start time; how I love those!) of the Mohegan Park Improvement & Development Advisory in Room 210 of City Hall. Here's their November 2008 meeting minutes. But wait! There's more....

The Uncas Health District meets at 6 PM at 372 West Main Street. They have an extremely informative website, imho, and are another excellent example of neighbors working to improve all of our lives because they know we need the help.
Also Thursday are meetings of (both) the Eastern CT Regional Tourism District and its Executive Committee (which seems to be reluctant to abandon its old name, judging from the website), listed as happening at 9 AM at 32 Huntington Street as well a 9 AM Project LEARN Board of Directors meeting in Old Lyme. Unfortunately, for Curious George and me, his friend and enabler, the Norwich municipal website returns the same message on all three meetings which gives me a sad heart and should suggest to those who are members of these agencies that a bit more proactivity is an excellent idea.

"Neon heart day-glow eyes. A city lit by fireflies. They're advertising in the skies, For people like us. Oh, you look so beautiful tonight, In the city of blinding lights." Enjoy the view. See you at something.
-bill kenny


Mark B. said...

Just so you know informational was canceled as RK from RCR has taken ill and won't be conducting the informational. I anticipate the ordinances will be tabled.

dweeb said...

Appreciate the update!

Question: why would the discussion and presentation on the various incentives NOT be part of the City Council meeting itself?

To 'encourage informality' (I was told), no notes are ever taken at informational sessions which strikes me as a BAD idea in terms of maintaining a record of who said what.

Instead, why not schedule the discussion and presentation on the incentives for the SECOND Council meeting of the month (the one that is scheduled to start at 7:00 PM) as part of the meeting and we should be able to have a for-the-record discussion and be able to hold people accountable later for what they said versus what we heard (which can often be two different things).