Wednesday, April 13, 2016

West Branch rezoning passes. Conflict of interest discussion not pretty.

Tuesday night, in a not totally unsurprising move Davidson's Board unanimously passed the rezoning request for the new West Branch neighborhood which greatly reduced the size of the project's commercial area.

While one could have hoped the Board might have taken the opportunity to minimize the project's impact on pedestrian safety, they chose not too.

What was surprising was the discussion leading up to its passage.

Davidson's Board actually debated whether or not Commissioner Brian Jenest should be recused from voting on the rezoning. 

His firm, ColeJenest&Stone, is doing the project design!!! What was there to debate!?!?

If there was anything positive about that whole discussion it was that many more people than usual actually saw it in person. The room was pretty full and the governmental sausage making was on full display.

At one point commissioners were dancing around the meaning of the word "substantial".  As in "was the financial impact substantial enough to Commissioner Jenest to allow him to be recused?"

Commissioners wanted to know if it was substantial but none were willing to ask Jenest how much his firm was paid for the project.  Frankly, that’s a question that probably should have been asked.

In the end though, they did allow him to be recused.  As painful as it was to watch, at least they ended up in the the right place.

The Board should be able to do better on this kind of thing.

Here's hoping they eventually figure out how to do that.

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