To begin the last City Council meeting of the decade, Mayor Ron Anders led the Council in a discussion of a student housing moratorium during the Committee of the Whole meeting. This moratorium was first brought up at the last Council meeting during the Committee of the Whole.
At the time of the Council's meeting, the moratorium had only been discussed and no formal ordinance had been written. Once drafted, the moratorium would seek to prohibit any further construction of purpose-built student housing in Auburn for 90 days.
City Manager Jim Buston said it will take some time to get the moratorium ready for the Council to vote on in order to ensure the City follows correct legal proceeding in writing and implementing the ordinance if passed by the Council.
The earliest possible start date for the moratorium is Feb. 27, 2020. That date is only possible if everything proceeds according to plan, City Manager Jim Buston said.
The Planning Commission has already held their December meeting. In order to discuss the moratorium at the Planning Commission's January meeting, the City must advertise as such by mid-December.
“In order for it to be addressed at Planning Commission it has to be advertised on Dec. 19,” Buston said. “After [the City Council’s] consideration, assuming that it is adopted on its first reading and is not denied unanimous consent, then we’d have to do a final publication on Feb. 27.”
City staff will be working with the Planning Commission in multiple workshops and meetings to create the ordinance. This also gives the public ample time to submit their thoughts before the ordinance comes to the Council to be considered, Buston said.
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“This is a zoning issue, so any moratorium would need to go through the Planning Commission,” Buston said. “We will be bringing things to you that you can probably address before that.”
During the Council's regular meeting, the Council approved the Wright Street Municipal Parking Deck. The entrance will be located at 140 Wright St., adjacent to the University Inn, and it will service the downtown area.
During the consideration of the consent agenda during the Council's regular meeting, the Council discussed the City’s biennial citizen survey.
Ward 2 Council member Kelley Griswold brought up his concerns with the lack of responses from the last survey. He asked if anything was being changed to ensure a better response.
“This isn’t just a Ward 2 issue, there are large swaths of the City that have virtually no respondents,” Griswold said. “Partially that’s due to people not responding, that’s not just the survey techniques of the ETC. It’s the interest of our citizens that we need to encourage as well.”
Buston replied, saying there isn't anything to suggest that ETC Institute, the company that conducts the survey through a contract with the City, is performing below standard. It is up to the City to tell the company what it wants out of the survey, which it intends to do, but the company cannot control how or how many citizens respond, Buston said.
The City will likely work to push the importance of the 2020 Census on various platforms to encourage citizens to take part, Anders said. Ward 8 Council member Tommy Dawson spoke about the importance of the census, based on his previous experience on the police force.
“Back when I was working in the City, I used to plan patrols for the police officers,” Dawson said. “A lot of our planning works around this survey.”
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