News Release from: Clintonville Area Commission – February 21, 2017
The location of the March meeting of the Clintonville Area Commission has been relocated to North Community Lutheran Church at 114 Morse Road. The 7 pm start time has not changed. The primary consideration for the location move is a scheduled presentation by Vision Development regarding their plans for apartments at the Dixie Warehouse site on Indianola Avenue. This presentation is the third requirement of the amendment to Section 3363.01 (File Number 2797-2016), approved by Columbus City Council on December 5, 2016. Said legislation states: “In order to obtain said zoning clearance approval, if the site of a proposed extended stay hotel lies within the boundaries of an area commission or civic association, the applicant shall formally consult with the area commission or civic association about the details of the project and shall submit documentation that said consultation has occurred.” For Vision Development’s presentation to the CAC, the key words in the legislation are “formally consult”. As it currently stands, the project will not need, and the developer is not asking for, a single variance. As the residents of Clintonville and the CAC need to understand what these words mean to our process, the chair of CAC researched what public participation means for project developments. A very helpful website was: https://www.epa.gov/internationalcooperation/public-participation-guide
As shown in this website, there are 5 levels of public participation:
Inform: provides the public with the information they need to understand the agency decision-making process. This level is on the spectrum to remind agencies that sometimes there is no opportunity for the public to influence decision-making and simply informing them is the appropriate activity.
Consult: the basic minimum opportunity for public input to a decision. Consult simply means to ask. There is no invitation to sit down together and work on things in any cooperative way.
Involve: the public is invited into the process, usually from the beginning, and is provided multiple if not ongoing opportunities for input as decision-making progresses. However, the agency is still the decision-maker and there is no expectation of building consensus or providing the public with any sort of highlevel influence over the decision.
Collaborate: the public is directly engaged in decision-making. Collaborate often includes the explicit attempt to find consensus solutions. However, as at involve, the agency is still the ultimate decision-maker.
Empower: provides the public with the opportunity to make decisions for themselves. The most common activities at this level are public voting or ballots, but there are other techniques available as well. In general, agencies are not permitted to delegate their decision authority to the public, and creating a fair, legitimate, and inclusive process for empowerment beyond basic voting is complex and challenging. Using these levels as a guide, a formal consultation would entail asking for public input that may or may not be incorporated into the plans. The goal of the public participation at this level is to obtain and consider public input and the promise is to consider public input and to provide feedback as to how that input influenced any of the developer’s ultimate decisions. The goal of the commissioners of the Clintonville Area Commission for the March meeting is to hear from Vision Development and to understand the parameters of their site plan. We want the community to have a full update on the future of the site and to thoughtfully consider those plans and offer ideas or thoughts on the plans. The commissioners look forward to a productive and informative exchange of ideas