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Monday, May 30, 2016

Residents address concerns over CV Planning and Zoning practices

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Renea Orr addresses Cherokee Village City Council March 15 regarding concerns about Planning and Zoning meetings being recorded. Orr is also one of many area landowners threatened by the city's future annexation plans. Photos/Tammy Curtis [Order this photo]
A large crowd of residents who have formed a group to oppose Cherokee Village's proposal to annex areas into the city to gain highway frontage for future retail expansion, once again showed up in full force at the March 15 Cherokee Village City Council meeting.

While the doors for meetings are normally unlocked well before meeting time, a representative of the city did not open the doors until 6:25. The large group was less than pleased, and could be heard complaining about being locked out prior to meeting time.

Renea Orr, a landowner threatened by the annexation issue, spoke to council during the "public comments about agenda items," section. Orr voiced concerns regarding a Feb. 14 planning and zoning meeting which she attended. Orr and her husband, Phillip, are among the residents concerned about the possibility of the city trying to annex their land against their will.

Orr complained that minutes of a meeting were not recorded, and were created through memory of some who attended. Orr said, ""My understanding is that the recording was blank, so there was no accurate depiction of what actually happened at the planning and zoning meeting (where annexation was first discussed). Supposedly these (the minutes presented) were reconstructed to the best of everyone's knowledge. There were several members of planning and zoning there, including Mr. Adams, Bob Bickle, Tom Hinkle, Tom Hrezo and Stan Jagow. There were also several members from the community, from the area to be annexed who were concerned. The only mention of that (annexation) is a very vague reference stating the community members were given an opportunity to speak and questioned the issue of annexation. For example, no comments were included that were made by councilmen Curtis Bratcher, Joel King, Tom and Tommy Garner, or Bob Murphy. I am pretty sure, if you asked these gentlemen, they would have given you an accurate depiction of what actually happened at this meeting. I am assured you want an accurate representation of what happens at these committee meetings. We have been told over and over how these are not secret meetings, they are public meetings, and we want everyone to be informed and yet, we have not been informed. We would like to make sure that, in order to make accuracy so that the rest of us can feel confident that nothing is trying to be put over on us, that these meetings are video taped."

Lana Hamilton, the city's clerk/treasurer who doesn't normally attend committee meetings, said that she taped the last planning and zoning meeting. Orr asked that someone make sure it is accurate and that someone is responsible for a master copy.

Alderman Tom Thone said he felt this was a good idea. A motion was passed by council to insure in the future the meetings are properly recorded.

Later, Phillip Orr also addressed the council with several questions regarding planning and zoning rules and regulations, including asking council how he could speak at one of the meetings. It seemed as if no one knew any of the answers to Orr's questions. Hefley simply told him to ask to be put on the agenda. Orr explained the meeting was a public meeting, and he felt he should be allowed to speak. His questions were left unanswered.

The public's displeasure with planning and zoning was a reoccurring topic throughout the meeting.

During the public comments section of the meeting. a local resident addressed council, despite Mayor Hefley asking for a motion for adjournment, with numerous residents still wishing to voice their concerns.

After being reminded by both a media representative and residents that the agenda plainly states residents have three minutes to discuss concerns with no designation of how many residents are allowed to speak, a few more came to the podium.

Hefley became angry and stated, "This is not a public meeting." The statement brought forth discord in the crowd. "I am not going to sit here all night and listen to this," the mayor said.

Residents became angry and told him they listened to his State of the City report with respect, and felt they deserved the same respect. He was also reminded, the people asking to speak were the ones who elected him. The mayor reluctantly allowed one more person to speak before again requesting a motion for adjournment.

A member of the audience who is against the annexation, and did not state his name prior to his address, said, "During the last city council meeting, Alderman Tom Thone asked Planning and Zoning, Tom Hrezo, to explain the justification of trying to annex areas beyond the existing boundaries, and no one was allowed comment on this before adjournment of the council meeting. Therefore, I request that a motion be made from city council for preparation of a declaration of minimum requirements establishing city growth, city development, written notification to potentially affected land owners, hearing guidelines, and the explanation of the need of annexation be made, within the guidelines of state statutes, before any future requests for preliminary expenditures of annexation is made by planning and zoning with a vote and members present. I respectfully submit that to council consideration."

Hefley ignored the resident's suggestion and, for the third time, requested for a motion to adjourn.

Alderwoman Verna Mae Newman made the motion and council adjourned with a group of angry residents wishing for answers to their questions.

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If the Mayor is disrespectful to the people he should be removed from office effective Now. No room for ignorance.

-- Posted by Basser on Thu, Mar 22, 2012, at 9:04 AM

Time for NEW city officials, this is getting out of hand. The city must follow the laws. Lets stop complaining and VOTE

-- Posted by vinkydink on Thu, Mar 22, 2012, at 3:20 PM

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