The topics for these notes will have regard for proper decorum in city council meetings, and my responsibility for maintaining order in those meetings.
I will begin by saying that it is the mayor’s responsibility for maintaining order. I was not prepared for the disorder occurring in the Aug. 9 meeting, but now I have to consider my role in these proceedings more carefully. This particular meeting was so disorderly that a man prepared to present a rationale for a zoning change was never allowed to make his presentation. The City owes this gentleman an apology and I have, in fact, made an apology for my part in the disorder (the apology was graciously accepted.)
Honestly, notice to those due a notice was a legitimate issue. The City intends to insure that the city council agenda is properly posted in accordance with Texas law. Also, in cases of requests for zoning changes, neighbors within 200 feet of the property proposed for a zoning change or variance are entitled to notice that must be mailed out by the city no less than 10 days before the city council meeting.
This issue will not go back to the Planning & Zoning Commission as their recommendations are advisory and the city council may still vote “yea” or “nay.” This issue remains unsettled. It is expected that this zoning change proposal will be back on the agenda for Sept. 13.
I want to let the public know in advance that I will be better prepared to keep order during city council meetings. Since I will not usually be voting on issues such as these, my most important function is maintaining order so that all can be heard without interruption by unsolicited questions and comments by the public.
Anyone wanting to speak must be recognized by the chair (the mayor); otherwise, that speaker is out of order and may be instructed to keep quiet for a time, or may even be required to leave if he or she remains disorderly. Submission is not what is being requested here, mere decorum is.
Van Alstyne is a great city, in no small part due to its interested and involved citizenry. We have a lot to look forward to here and a lot of progress to make. Forward progress in the quality, methods and decorum in government will be essential. I will write more on this topic.
Mayor Larry Cooper