Dear Decaturish – Meeting attendance is not a straw poll

Posted by Decaturish.com July 18, 2018

Photo obtained via Facebook

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Dear Decaturish,

This letter is specifically addressed to Mayor Elmore and the Board of Commissioners of the city of Avondale Estates, the Planning & Zoning Board and the Architectural Review Board:

Thanks to each of you for the work you do for our city and community. You know better than most the love and care our citizens have for our historic neighborhood and your efforts to protect and nurture what makes Avondale Estates special is most appreciated.

With the recent vibrant discussions around the proposed Trammell Crow development, I and others have noted another issue that has risen to the surface. As many have spoken up recently in support of the proposed development in letters, in person to you and on social media, a chorus has come back via various channels that “you [we] need to come to the meetings”.

While we appreciate and support our open government structure and find it very appropriate that public comment is accepted and considered, it’s equally important to note that public meeting attendance and comment should not be considered the definitive indication of the community’s opinion on a matter. It’s been noted by many I’ve spoken with that attendance at meetings seems to correlate with stage of life. Those in the midst of raising children (I have four!) and in the heart of their careers often do not have the available free time to attend public meetings with regularity.

You were elected or appointed to your position because the citizens of AE believe in your ability to make decisions on our behalf. Every issue is not a referendum. Public meetings are not forums for a straw poll. We understand that there can be a potentially emotional element for you when public comment seems weighted in one direction or another and that it is helpful to hear as many voices as possible via whatever communication channel citizens choose to use. Importantly, we must all remember that you are free to vote as you think best, regardless of the volume of the noise or the results of any informal straw polling.

It even came to my attention that at the Planning & Zoning Board meeting of July 16, a public comment made reference to those that support the Trammell Crow development “don’t care enough to come and be here tonight”. I can tell you that is an uncharitable view and that I personally know dozens that wanted to be there but due to the busyness of a full life, were not able to do so.

Again, we believe in you and your charge to act in the best interests of Avondale Estates. We trust that you’ll use your best judgment in light of the information presented to you, along with an understanding that plans must and do change over time, to ensure a great future for our downtown.

It’s another beautiful day in Avondale Estates!

– Nick Purdy

President, Wild Heaven Beer

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