By Carolyn Carlson
Council President Trudy Jones alerted speakers at the Wednesday, Feb. 22 meeting that new green, yellow and red lights would let them know when their two minutes were up.
That buzzer got a workout as more than 100 city residents took their turns. Redistricting dominated the meeting. By far, most of those present did not support the plan Councilor Dan Lewis put up for approval. It dissected Isaac Benton's District 3, with pieces tacked onto neighboring districts. D3 includes Downtown, Barelas and the UNM area.
A handful of residents also asked the Council to reject a report about the Police Oversight Commission. They said the organization that wrote it, MGT of America, is biased in favor of law enforcement. If councilors voted to accept the study, speakers said, the Council would be supporting the findings. The vote did not split along party lines as it usually does: Debbie O’Malley sided with four Republicans who were in favor of accepting the report, while Lewis joined the Dems. It passed on a 5-4 vote. Jones said by accepting it, the Council is not necessarily declaring agreement.
Folks from the construction industry turned out en masse to support extending the city’s moratorium on impact fees for builders. A couple of people said the city should reinstate the fees because they help maintain and improve neighborhoods. The Council extended the moratorium for another 18 months.
With a unanimous vote, councilors approved an amendment that could help preserve historic buildings. The move gives the city’s Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission the ability to review proposed demolitions. This would not take away personal property rights but allow the city to work with property owners to find alternatives to tearing down landmarks.
The next meeting is set for 5 p.m. on Monday, March 5, in the Council Chambers in the basement of City Hall.
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