Last night on a 3-2 vote, the Council rejected Alderwoman Wilhelm's motion to correct portions of the Planning Department's Crossroads Area report that was before the Council for review. Wilhelm noted discrepancies in the report and made a strong case as to the importance of accuracy in public documents. "When it comes to Boards and Commissions' actions, you just can't make this stuff up. There should be motions and actions that support your facts before putting them in a document for the public," said Wilhelm.
The discrepancies noted in the document included:
- The background history of the Shoppes at Legend Creek project, located in the Crossroads area, lacked important history. The report ignored citizen action in opposition to a purposed Walmart supercenter and instead jumped from the Ticknor Report (created prior to the proposal) to the city hiring a planning consultant to revise portions of the city's overall plans for the area. Furthermore, the report stated the city's adoption of the big box ordinance that restricts buildings to 125,000 sq ft, but refuses to go any further in explaining why that ordinance came to be. Instead, the report by itself would make it out to the public that the city did this ordinance independent of any public outcry or concerns relative to that (or any) project.
- Next it notes that the Shoppes at Legend Creek project went away due to Environmental Commision concerns over lack of mitigation for wetland fill. The reality here, Wilhelm pointed out, was the developer hadn't received their State approvals and a lower level of government (city) cannot override state laws. This pointing of the Environmental Commission opposing a development comes on the heels of a developer aggressively pursuing modifications or elimination of the city's Natural Resource Protection standards, as we talked about several days ago in an earlier post. According to Wilhelm, it is putting a mistruth in a public document, which can then become truth to fuel certain agendas.
- Also noted was the Trails Committee's supposed recent expression of interest on applying a "Complete Streets" vision to the Crossroads area. While Wilhelm thought this was a great idea, it hasn't happened yet and the Committee hasn't mentioned the Crossroads directly in any of its agenda items since its founding. The Planning Manager, Joel Dietl, confirmed this when Wilhelm asked if the Committee specifically applied any of its goals for the Crossroads. She pointed to another recent incident where staff stated the Trails Comnittee made a recommendation when they had not.
Due to the concern about accuracy in public documents, Wilhelm made a motion to have city staff amend the report to correctly reflect the actions of the Boards and Commissions when it comes to the Crossroads. Before the vote, Wilhelm additionally noted for the public audio record a "NO" vote would indicate no desire to reflect accuracy in public documents. Even with this said, some of her colleagues decided that the apparent quest for truth wasn't necessary, as Common Council President Steve Taylor and Aldermen Ken Skowronski and Tim Solomon voted NO, which killed the motion and rejected the corrections to public documents. Wilhelm was supported by Alderman Doug Schmidt. Alderman Steve Olson was not in attendance.
Oddly enough, CCP Taylor made the second to Wilhelm's motion, but did not join in support of it. I believe this was a rather simple request to fix errors in a public document, yet CCP Taylor, who seconded the motion, nor Aldermen Skowronski or Solomon, could bring themselves to vote in favor of the public. Lastly, I would be surprised if Wilhelm decided to support CCP Taylor's County Supervisory bid in any public manner.