Public comment on the revised Sign Ordinance (scheduled originially to begin at 7 p.m. tonight) will not begin before 9 p.m. tonight.
Last night marked the second meeting this week that the Planning Commission has had to start discussion on an item but not finish it. By 11:30 they had covered just some of the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan before deciding to stop discussion at midnight and pick it up again tonight.
The commission has to look at three major projects and intiatives before the county board meets next weekend: Rosslyn Gateway Redevelopment; Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan; the county's revised sign ordinance. They had scheduled three nights of meetings for the items, but it looks like three nights might not be enough time.
Although the commission votes on each item, the vote carries little legal weight. The vote is used to offer feedback to the county board which approves or fails the various projects and programs.
The pile-up of agenda items began Monday when the commission fell behind and delayed a vote on the Rosslyn Gateway redevelopment. They did not recommend approval of the Gateway site until after 8:30 p.m. last night, and that delay meant that they did not get to the Pike plan until almost 9 p.m.
Seventeen speakers addressed the commission regarding the Pike plan. Disccusion of the plan started near 10 p.m.
By 11:30, the commission was wondering whether they should soldier on or recess. And if they did recess, did they have to finish all the remaining work during their third scheduled meeting tonight or could they schedule a fourth? (On the agenda for tonight: finish the Pike neighborhoods plan then look at the county's sign ordinance.)
No one knew the best answer.
Presumably a fourth meeting would require a public advertisement, but staff on hand did not know how many days before the meeting they have to post the ad--is there time to advertise and hold a public meeting?
Given other scheduling conflicts, Saturday is being considered.
In the end, they decided to work until midnight with the idea that tonight's meeting would start with the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan and then cover the revised sign ordinance.
They will make a decision about a fourth meeting tonight.
"We need to be prepared to stay past midnight tomorrow," Planning Commission Chair Stephen Sockwell said last night.
The commission meets tonight at 7 p.m., in the County Boardroom, 3rd Floor, county board offices 2100 Clarendon Blvd. They have already taken public testimony on the Pike plan; public testimony regarding the sign ordinance will not begin before 9p.m.