Community Input, Transparency Key to Decision-Making
As alderman, I am committed to involving the residents of the 49th Ward in every significant zoning and land-use issue in the 49th Ward. That’s why I established the most transparent decision-making process of any ward in the city.
No land-use decision is made without a thorough and public airing of all the issues. I refer all zoning and land-use issues to the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee, which consists of representatives of the major community organizations, business owners, and ordinary neighborhood residents. The Committee, which I formed when first elected in 1991, thoroughly reviews all 49th Ward land use proposals, including building design, landscaping, parking, and its impact on the surrounding community, to ensure that the proposed project is a positive addition to the neighborhood.
I urge the proponent of the zoning change to listen carefully to the concerns and recommendations of the Committee and incorporate them into his or her plans. The Committee will vote to either recommend that I support the proposal, oppose the proposal or support the proposal with modifications.
On all but routine proposals, I will ask the proponent to also present the proposal to the community at large. Once again, I encourage the proponent to listen carefully to the concerns and recommendations of the community and incorporate them into the final plans.
Comments and recommendations expressed at the community meeting are considered carefully by the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee before the Committee makes its final recommendations to me. Frequently, the proponent changes his or her proposal based on Committee and community input, and several more Committee and community meetings are held before the Committee makes a final recommendation.
I reserve the right to reject the recommendations of the Committee, but in the vast majority of cases, I abide by the Committee’s recommendations.
In all significant zoning and land use issues, I issue a public statement about my decision and the reasons for that decision. The statements are delivered to constituents via email and posted on the 49th Ward web site.