Council Committee Discusses Community Group Legitimacy
A proposal to grant community groups legal standing raised the question of what groups are viable.
A City Council committee started a conversation on Thursday about how and if the city should recognize certain community groups and grant them increased powers.
Councilman Bill Henry, chairman of the Housing and Community Development Committee, said the discussion was needed because of issues raised in legislation aimed at giving community groups standing to challenge city zoning decisions.
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke introduced a bill in December that would grant community associations the ability to appeal decisions made by the city’s zoning administrator.
"I had conversations with people interested in [Clarke’s] bill, but had concerns about giving that power to anyone that chose to register themselves on the Planning Department’s [community] list," Henry said.
He said the list in has many traditional community groups that meet regularly and represent a wide swath of their neighborhoods, but that could not be said about all the groups on the list.
"In other cases there are entities on that database that are just one or two people who have chose to claim an area they care about," Henry said.
Although there currently isn’t any legislation in the works, Henry said he would continue to move forward with looking for ways to address the issue of trying to determine the legitimacy of community groups.
"I felt it was a very good conversation there’s some good [ideas to] takeaway from it," Henry said.
Is it a good idea for the city to try to determine which community groups actually speak for their neighborhoods? Tell us in the comments section.