The Planning Commission was given the task of studying the parking situation within the commercial district of the Village of Garden City last year and was empowered to hire a consultant to assist in the review. What has emerged is a preliminary report from the consulting firm, which is approximately 80 pages long. Because of the size of the report there was some debate at the last Board of Trustees' meeting regarding the most effective way to present the information and receive feedback from the community.
Liaison to the Commission Trustee Torino explained that the Planning Commission was hoping to solicit comments from interested parties in advance of the March 8 meeting, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria, to allow the meeting to proceed within a limited time frame and to allow the commission to prepare answers in advance. The concern arose over the distribution of the report and the level of awareness that could be raised in such a short time frame. Estates POA President Bob Rothchild and CPOA President Dr. Barbara Miller each noted that with only a couple of copies for each POA and one for the library, very few residents would get to see the report before the meeting to adequately formulate questions by March 8.
Trustee Asselta made a motion to recommend to the commission that the March 8 meeting be an introductory meeting, acquainting residents with the content. She also suggested that it be recommended that follow-up meetings for question and answer periods be scheduled. Trustee Bee noted that he was "disinclined to pass any motion" attempting to tell the commission what to do since he saw their charge of a year ago as handing the reins over to them without later dictating how the presentations should be scheduled or made. Torino noted that he saw no fixed reason why there could not be more meetings scheduled following the March 8 meeting and recommended the board not try to interfere with the Planning Commission's plans. Asselta dropped her motion.
Village Administrator Robert Schoelle as a sitting member of the Planning Commission noted that the commission felt that having received this detailed report with tremendous data, they were anxious to share it with the community, and understood that even the trustees have not yet seen the report. They chose the high school cafeteria to provide a large and informal environment in which to comfortably share the preliminary information with as many residents as wish to attend. The meeting is designed to be information sharing as well as gathering.
Superintendent of Building Mike Filippon commented, "There seems to be a misconception that the report is complete. It is being adjusted as we speak. The report is in two parts -- the beginning explains the data in the second part. The Planning Commission sent recommendations for adjustments to the report and they are being made now." This is part of the reason why none of the POAs had received the report as this paper went to press.
Arnold Finnemore asked the board to consider assuring the residents that no action would be taken on the parking study until after the community had ample time to review it themselves and share in the discussions. The trustees assured him that they were not ready to take any action on the subject, particularly as they have not even seen the report. Some residents noted that there have been times in the past in which they felt the board did take action before all of the information had an opportunity to circulate. A public hearing environment in which to discuss it prior to any board action was sought. The board thanked him for his input.
The board and village staff did say that they would work with the press to publicize the meeting and any other important information on the subject. A copy of the report will be available shortly in the Garden City Public Library for review within the facility. Each POA will receive one to two copies of the report prior to the March 8 meeting and those interested in helping to spread the word about the upcoming meeting and the study should contact their POA.