Our View: Three-year process deserves more than last-minute push
"Marry in haste repent at leisure" is a fair reproach to the Boone Town Council as at least three of its members attempt to wed the town with the adoption of a revised Unified Development Ordinance prior to Dec. 17 -- the date on which newly elected council members will be sworn in.
The vote Wednesday to hold a special public hearing and meeting on the matter by council members Andy Ball, Rennie Brantz and Lynne Mason was misguided. Not only were council members Jamie Leigh, who in the past has expressed concerns about rushing through the revision process, and Allan Scherlen absent, the argument for such a maneuver centers weakly on concerns about bringing a new council up to speed.
Indeed, the possibility of thrusting a revised UDO upon a new council that will have to live with the document is more of an argument not to proceed with such a plan.
The current revision process began in fall 2010. To finish the action before mid-December would require the completion of legal reviews -- which the town attorney says are about half-done at this time -- edits and then advertisement of a finished product within a strict state deadline for a public hearing.
There are real concerns with that timeline. Would that final public hearing be little more than a pro forma meeting with a final product already in place? And add to this Boone Planning & Inspections Director Bill Bailey's contention that after adoption the staff could then begin a more intensive review of the UDO articles. Granted, the UDO is a living document under constant amendment, but a quick "adoption" now would give ample room for confusion about what an adopted document means.
There is little doubt that the council which sits Dec. 17 will differ in makeup from the one that is seated today -- a new mayor and three open council seats in addition to a potential fourth dependent on the outcome of the mayoral race will see to that. But "different" is not a strong enough reason to quickly force revisions after three years of work on a document as important as the UDO.