Sunday, January 18, 2009

Council Agendas, week of Jan 18

I have been reviewing the agendas for the upcoming council meetings. There are a few things that could be noteworthy conversations at the meeting, and I'd like to call your attention to them. Of course, these aren't the only things on the agenda, and others might result in discussions as well. Let me know your thoughts.

The full agendas are posted on the city website if you'd like more information.

Do note that the committee meetings will start Tuesday at 3:15 instead of Monday because of the holiday.

Committee of the Whole:
Alcaniz Renaming
An information issue is the renaming of the remainer of Alcaniz St. to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The road from Barcia Dr. to Cervantes is named for Dr. King, with the segment south of Cervantes retaining its historical name of Alcaniz. Originally we were to discuss renaming all of Alcaniz. However, that is no longer being considered.

The issue that remains, though, is one of consistency. There is a small portion of road, from Barcia north to the joint with Davis, that retains the name "Alcaniz". So, if you are travelling south on Davis Hwy, then cross Fairfield, after the road forks, you are first on Alcaniz then on Martin Luther King Jr. At Cervantes, you get back on Alcaniz. This is an artifact of the jagged city-county lines and the original renaming. There are no street signs in this area indicating it is Alcaniz St; Google Maps has it as King; the property appraisers website has several inconsistencies on what is named what. For consistency, there is a logic to renaming the northern section.

Such a change would affect a few property owners. A renaming would result in a cost to the owners, due to reprinting letterhead and business cards and changing the name on other materials. Turns out, though, that the post office delivered letters addressed Alcaniz to places on Martin Luther King Jr for seven years, so the urgency is not huge.

An additional part of this is the plan to put a sign on the off-ramp indicating the direction of Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.

Economic And Community Development Committee
Pensacola Community Initiatives Program (PCIP)
PCIP is a program that provides matching grants to neighborhoods for neighborhood improvement projects. This year, due to the tight budgets, the city staff planned on cutting the funds coming from general revenue for this program. The bulk of the funding will come from the local option sales tax (LOST), which has more stringent rules on usage. The only project which is receiving GR funds is a request from Neighbors of Seville, while all of the requests that were LOST eligible were funded. Two other projects were recommended to receive funds through alternate sources.

Request for License to Use Right of Way-De Luna Alley
Ragtime Grill is requesting the use of the right of way adjacent to the restaurant for providing additional seating and storage of a dumpster. There is concern from neighboring property owners that such a license will reduce access to the remainer of the shared alley due to deliveries and other activities.

Revised School Planning Interlocal Agreement
This agreement appears to be a formality, required by the state. The intent appears to be that local governments communicate with school districts when initiating new developments so the school district can adequately plan for enrollment. The agreement has language that encourages schools to be colocalized with other resources like parks, libraries, and community centers. The school district is getting ready to build a new school on the westside, and there is a potential that a joint effort to locate a community center and public library in that vicinity, currently underserved by those types of resources, would provide great synergy.

The agreement makes a bit of a note of school closures but is largely silent. School closures are going to be more prevalent in our city in the near future, and I hope this agreement can also help inform thinking on the closures and subsequent reuse of the closed buildings.

Future Land Use Map/Zoning Map Amendment-6305 North 9th Avenue
The property owner at 6305 N. 9th Avenue (the Waffle House at the intersection of 9th, Langley, and Tippin, I believe) is requesting a zoning change. He has been approached about putting in a bingo parlor at this location. This zoning change would change it from C-1 to C-2. Such a change would allow a number of new activities, such as new and used car sales and mini-warehouses, at this location (C-2 allows bars but they won't be allowed here because of the proximity to residential areas). I don't know what the radius for notifying people about these changes is, but this is an intersection that is used by many folks who might have an opinion. A public hearing will be held Jan 22 at the council meeting.

Additional items

I am also aware that the Arts Council is planning on bringing up an issue at the committee meetings. During the last year, there have been numerous issues brought up about alcoholic beverages during Gallery Night. I don't believe there have been any concerns about actual behaviors, but they are trying to determine the best way to ensure that downtown activities are covered appropriately. The Arts Council has worked with the state to come up with a proposal which they would like the council to consider.

Please email me your thoughts on these or other issues.