Thursday, July 11, 2013

Planning Commission Update - July 10, 2013

The summer lull has hit.  The one and only public hearing was for a new beer and wine license for a new restaurant in Old Town.  Still, there was a whole lot of change going on…beginning with the annual reorganization of the Commission.  At the start of each year, fiscal year that is, the Commission elects a chair and vice chair for the upcoming year.  Following tradition, the Commission elected Vice Chair Carlos Parrague as the Chair of the Planning Commission and Commissioner Anne McIntosh as the new Vice Chair.  Additionally, the Commission welcomed the City’s two newly appointed Planning Commissioners, Robert McClellan and Karen Suarez.

With Commissioner Parrague assuming the chair, the meeting continued to the public hearing: review of a request for a conditional use permit (CUP) for a new restaurant to serve beer and wine.  The restaurant, which will be called Meridian, will serve Mediterranean fare…kabobs, fattoush, hummus, gyros…our mouths are watering already. Meridian will be located at 342 South Myrtle Avenue.  The CUP was approved. 

An Illustrative Example of Typical Mediterranean Food

The Commission then moved to the topic of stormwater regulations.  OK, so it’s not the most glamorous of topics, but making sure that stormwater, which eventually makes its way down to the ocean, has minimal pollutants is important—and mandatory under the Clean Water Act.  There are more acronyms than letters in the alphabet related to this topic: NPDES – National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System; MS4 – Municipal Separate Storm Water System; SUSMP – Standard Urban Stormwater Mitigation Plan…and the list keeps on going.

So what does this all mean?  Well, we’re still working on that, but luckily we’ve got some really smart, dedicated staff members over in the Environmental Services Section that are figuring it out for the City. Bottom line, most new development will need to capture the majority of rainwater on site and either for reuse (think rain barrels) or allowed to percolate down to the water table which will help to recharge the aquifers that supply most of our water.  The presentation was for information only and no action was required at this time.