2017-12-01 / Front Page

Council amends workshop lineup

By Wm. Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND — With its workshop schedule set though the end of January, and 25 additional items circling in orbit for future meetings, the South Portland City Council took the opportunity Nov. 27 to make a few last minute tweaks.

Bumped from the agenda for Dec. 11 were two items – possibly amending council policy on management of the city’s capital improvement program, and its policy on meeting dates and committee appointments. According to City Manager Scott Morelli, when the latter topic reappears, it will include a proposal to staff some committees, such as the Bike-Ped Committee and the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee, via formal council appointment. Currently, these committees are manned by staff invitation, Morelli said, adding, “We feel that should maybe be a more formal process.”

Instead, the Dec. 11 agenda will feature two topics that promise broad public interest, based on recent strongly attended workshop sessions – establishing rules to govern so-called short-term rentals, such as renting homes via social media apps like Airbnb, and amending parking requirements for businesses in the Knightville district.

On Dec. 27, the council will review model language for an ordinance governing medical marijuana offices and commercial cultivation.

“This is request from somebody in the industry,” said Assistant City Manager Josh Reny. “It’s allowed in some communities, but not specifically allowed in our ordinances.”

The applicant will present the proposed language, Reny said, and file to request a vote on the proposal.

On Dec. 27, the council will also divvy up liaison duties for its members, as it does every year, and review the workshop schedule once more.

Councilor Claude Morgan said at that time he plans to introduce a new topic for his peers to consider placing on the schedule regarding the teen-led drive to create a skatepark somewhere in the city, a process begun more than a year ago.

“I’ve talked to them recently and had to eliminate the site they’ve had their heart set,” Morgan said, suggesting a new site outside of the Mill Creek area may be in play.

On Jan. 8, the council will review paving and streetscape plans for Westbrook Street, a zoning change request for a development at 30 Thadeus St., and plans for reuse of the former public works headquarters on O’Neil Street.

Jan. 22 will bring a review of design plans and a recent feasibility study for renovating the Portland Street Pier and creating aquaculture facilities there, as well as a review of rules governing when councilors may contact the city attorney. That issue was first proposed for review back in February.

Other workshop topics approved but yet to be scheduled (including the sponsor and the date added) include:

• Creation of a community banking program to facilitate affordable housing projects (Full council request on June 6; due for “this winter).

• Amending ordinances governing volunteer boards and committees (City Clerk Emily Scully, June 20).

• Creating a paid economic development director job (full council, June 26).

• Crafting zone rules for so-called “tiny homes” (Councilor Eben Rose, June 28).

• Amending the city’s purchasing policy (City Manager Scott Morelli, Aug. 28).

• Facilitating needed repairs to the Deake Street boat ramp to Willard Beach (Morelli, Aug. 28).

• Re-acceptance of Edgewood Road as a city way (a resident, Aug. 28).

• Vetting of a proposal to merge public transportation services with Portland’s METRO (Morelli, Aug. 28).

• Updating the Knightville Master Plan (full council, Aug. 28).

• Update the condition inventory and maintenance schedule for all city sidewalks and roads (Public Works Director Doug Howard, Aug. 28).

• Update on the city council’s list of annual goals (full council, Aug. 28).

• Upcoming union contract negotiations (Morelli, Sept. 19).

• Edits to city ordinances governing licenses and permits (Scully, Sept. 21).

• Creation of a traffic safety committee (Morelli, Sept. 21).

• Creation of a cemetery commission (Morelli, Sept. 27).

• Review of environmental issues at Ole Joe’s Pond (Morelli, Sept. 27).

• Updating broadband internet projects (Reny, Nov. 6).

• Review of Cottage Road safety improvements (Morelli, Nov. 7).

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