1/20/2010

State of the City 2010

Posted by MJ

LUSJ has reported on  Mayor Tucker's 2010 State of the City Address.

 
The most substantive goal he’s setting for the year is total city charter review, by the mayor’s dormant Citizen Advisory Board, he told members of Lockport Rotary Club during his annual State of the City address Tuesday at Lockport Town & Country Club.
Tucker also called for updating of the city’s master plan, zoning and planning ordinances.
“Some of our current provisions are over 100 years old and simply outdated and unrealistic to address the challenges of today,” he said. “These are not easy tasks, they are time consuming and difficult, but necessary to adequately prepare our city for the decades ahead.

 
Personally, I find the zoning/planning ordinances and City Master Plan the most interesting and important. Ultimately these are what shape the environment that we live in. Current number based zoning (for example, no more than 40% lot coverage, 5% green space, 2:1 parking, etc) can give you the Lockport Plaza on S Transit or the Ulrich City Center from the same zoning codes. I wouldn't be surprised if the UCC had required variances to actually allow it to get built to the sidewalk. The last master plan done in the late 90's spec'd out development like UCC (hidden parking, street pedestrian friendly, creating a sense of place, etc. Most likely codes (or the plan itself) were never updated/enacted to make sure it happens. So we continue to get car-centric suburban develops DT like Family Video. Look to Hertel Ave in Buffalo to see a Family Video built on a corner. Look deeper and you will see they built it on an existing foundation to circumvent un-urban zoning that would have left it looking like a Wilson Farms. I really hope this goal goes somewhere and that some type of form based coding is introduced.

Other goals that Tucker listed for 2010, in pursuit of what he called improved “customer service” by the city, include:
• Enhancing the city’s Web site, elockport.com, to allow “live” hot-line reporting of residents’ non-emergency concerns, such as potholes, trash and tree-trimming issues.
This should work both ways. Residents should be able to see a list of registered complaints and their resolution along with date. Great feed back we could use to casually audit our government.
• Setting up City Hall to accept online and credit-card payment of property tax and water bills.
I say about time! I was surprised to go pay the water bill with the debit card only to see the "cash only" sign. This way I can even save the trip.
• Continued attention to quality-of-life issues, including parks maintenance and youth and senior citizen outreach.
With the sucess seen in gardening, ice pads, and general upkeep the city should establish a clear plan for the implimentation of volunteer efforts in the park system. The Olmsted Conservency has has great success in Buffalo. I don't suppose we'd have a group that large, but willing citizens should be able to more easily help out our parks.
• Landing a “cost effective” citywide curbside recycling program for residents “In a reasonable period of time.”
I'd be happy to see an integrated private garbage and recycling sytem. Use the freed up city workers to address other concerns around the city.
Seeing renovation of the Flight of Five canal locks to completion remains Tucker’s No. 1 priority, he said, but some big-ticket aspirations he’s identified in previous annual addresses — including reconstruction of the municipal parking garage at Main and Pine streets — are taking a back seat to fiscal reality. Tucker pledged to continue pursuing grant funding for a $10 million parking garage makeover but did not commit to a project on anything other than a someday basis.

 These are items too big to coment on in this post. Feel free to search older related posts on these two topics.

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