Monday, August 26, 2013

ABS Members Attend Meeting on City Development Code

Reminder that our regular Monday night meetings have started.  Come on down to join us in talking over issues.  6:00-7:00, Wright Math Building, Woodlawn Ave., across from Magale Library on the Centenary Campus, two blocks up from the Gold Dome on Kings.

Loren Demerath, Jon Soul, and Cynthia Keith were ABetterShreveport Board Members in attendance at the meeting held by the city this past Saturday morning to inform on Master Plan Implementation through the upcoming effort to create a Unified Development Code using community input.  Others in attendance were neighborhood association leaders and city officials.  About 70 people were there.

Before the meeting Loren chatted with Dara Sanders, the Master Plan Administrator, and friend of ABS.  She said it's been a busy but productive summer for her.  The firm chosen to write the unified development code signed the contract, and Dara has a listed ABS as one of the stakeholders, so it will be contacting us about meeting with them.  Dara would like to meet with us about the Unified Development Code as well.  Loren said we'd value those meetings.

Loren asked Dara about what the group had discussed at last week's meeting: if it's going to be 18 months or more before the code is passed, what can we do to keep bad development from happening?  We thought if she could alert us as to proposals and site plans that conflict with the principles in Master Plan, ABS could then attend the relevant MPC meetings to articulate our concerns.  Dara said communicating with the public about developments that are inconsistent with the Master Plan.

In Dara's presentation, she said the Unified Development Code will created as an outcome of community input, coming through a city wide town hall meeting, 5 public workshops, charrettes, 5 public open houses, one public hearing, MPC meetings, city council meetings, and parish commission meetings.  Loren wondered to himself if we have to go all of those meetings, though it's probably a form of power through community organization: the more people you can get out, the more your issues will be advanced.  Dara noted, though, seeing common interests should be an outcome; that the meetings will facilitate neighbors and neighborhoods talking to each other and raising awareness of common interests (for example, Loren thought, during meetings can come to understand how a dog park is actually IN THE INTERESTS OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T OWN DOGS!).  To participate people need to contact their neighborhood associations and select a representative.  The council of neighborhood associations is a gathering of such people.  Questions?  The phone number to Dara's desk is 673-6463. 

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