Council rules dominate vote on rezoning for F.W. Webb

Committee of Whole supports use change for F.W. Webb, 8-2, sending matter to full council for approval

The Salem News | By Dustin Luca
October 11, 2016

SALEM — City councilors voted to support rezoning land slated by F.W. Webb for a major expansion over to a business use Tuesday night, but challenges to the council’s rules dominated the conversation in the nearly hour-long, single-issue meeting.

The council’s Committee of the Whole met to rezone land at 293 and 297 Bridge St. to allow for a proposed expansion at the business.

The panel voted 8-2, with one councilor absent, to recommend that the full council rezone the site. A City Council vote will take place Thursday to act on that recommendation. A second vote later would be required to officially adopt the amended ordinance.

While it seemed clear the councilors would support the zoning change, based on an earlier non-binding vote, procedures and rules dominated the discussion Tuesday night.

In particular was the question of whether the committee had an obligation, or even an option, to allow members of the public to speak at the meeting.

The legal answer, in an opinion circulated by City Solicitor Beth Rennard before the meeting, is that the public had an opportunity to address the issue during the start of the process — a public hearing, which had since closed so council deliberations could begin.

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