- Andree LeQuire moves to disapprove Planning staff's recommendation to approve the MTC rezoning request with conditions; after some discussion, LeQuire's motion is defeated 4 (LeQuire, Hunter Gee, Stewart Clifton, Derrick Dalton) to 6 (Victor Tyler, Tonya Jones, Phil Ponder, Jim Gotto, Judy Cummings, and Chair James McLean w/the deciding vote).
- Jim Gotto moves to approve Planning staff's recommendation to approve the MTC rezoning request with conditions; LeQuire tries to start discussion, but an argument erupts with McLean and Gotto over whether a debate has been cut off by a parliamentary procedure called "previous question" and whether the Commission should move to an immediate vote; debate is allowed to continue with LeQuire, Clifton, and Gee leading the opposition to Gotto's motion, while Cummings, Jones, Gotto, and Ponder argue for support (those four need to sway Tyler--who says he is leaning toward MTC support--in order to cause McLean to cast the necessary 6th vote to approve); after debate ends, Gotto's motion is defeated "by rule" when only Gotto, Cummings, Jones, and Ponder vote for it; Tyler joins LeQuire, Clifton, Gee, and Dalton to vote against Gotto's support of MTC rezoning; no need for McLean to vote because the MTC supporters did not get necessary 5 votes to require his 6th vote.
- Planning Director Rick Bernhardt announces that because the Commission failed to approve the Planning staff's MTC rezoning request, it automatically switches "by rule" to a recommendation of disapproval; Commission has to vote on new recommendation to disapprove: 8 vote for motion to disapprove MTC rezoning (LeQuire, Clifton, Gee, Dalton, Tyler, Jones, Ponder, Cummings), none vote against, Gotto abstains, McLean's vote not needed.
All of this means that May Town Center lost last night's battle. Under the Metro Charter, the Planning Commission's vote to recommend disapproval of MTC requires Metro Council to approve it with a super majority of 27 votes (rather than a simple majority of 21).
I don't interpret the Commission's refusal or failure to approve as rejection of the plan. I do think that Clifton was the commissioner most strongly opposed to May Town Center. Gee and LeQuire seemed opened to certain aspects of it but could not approve all of it. Tyler wanted to vote for it but also asked for more time to reach a decision. Dalton never commented on the reasons for his vote, so he could have been either strongly opposed or opposed only to parts.
Clifton seemed to cue the possibility of delay of the plan when he told the commission that they could not defer, but if they voted against the staff recommendation it could leverage more time. The council may not get 27 votes to pass, but the developers would eventually be back with another proposal.
Taken together, I interpret this coalition of commissioners as wanting to move slower on grandiose planning developments, 1) because of the magnitude of totally changing Bells Bend and 2) because of our current economic downtown and market uncertainty. While I am strongly opposed to MTC and agree most with Clifton, the five together made the most prudent choice given the circumstances. There is no need to rush this through as the council's bill sponsor desired.