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Doomed commission awaits marching orders

Monday, February 9, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano

Urging its own demise, the Residential Design and Compatibility Commission took some time during its most recent meeting to see whether its dissolution had made headway over the past couple of months.

City Council passed a resolution to dissolve the RDCC in December and directed city staff to initiate code amendments that will ultimately return to Council for approval.

Now, a code amendment that would officially dissolve the commission is moving forward, as soon as the end point has been determined.

The RDCC was created in 2006 to consider waivers from the McMansion ordinance, in order to smooth the transition into the new laws. However, the work of the commission has dwindled in recent years. The resolution that Council approved noted that in 2013, the commission heard 12 cases, and in 2014 it heard 14 cases. Over those two years, the commission canceled six monthly meetings because there were no cases at all.

Variances to the McMansion ordinance (also known as Subchapter F) can be obtained through the Board of Adjustment.

Planning and Development Review Department planner Daniel Word said his department would be processing the code amendment. He estimated that it would be ready for Council in March, but right now it is unclear whether the amendment would go directly to the full Council or through one of the recently created Council committees.

“That doesn’t seem like it should take a month,” said Commissioner Karen McGraw. “It seems simple.”

Both Chair William Burkhardt and Word said that’s why it would only take a month, not longer.

Expressing some trepidation that the amendment might be lost, Commissioner Mary Ingle requested to be kept apprised of its progress.

“Because then we can keep watching to make sure that it keeps moving forward,” said Ingle.

Burkhardt said the commission would look forward to a progress report next month, adding, “Let’s leave that on the agenda until we don’t have an agenda.”

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