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Recording Joint Study Session Nov 28 2023 Council with P&Z This video is a benchmark educational tool for the Study Session’s participants: Ely City Council, the Planning & Zoning Commissioners, and City Hall…as well as the residents of Ely, MN. Listen to great questions and comments. I was personally impressed with the candor. Candor lets us truthfully identify problems and then agree on the best strategies to resolve issues.

These casual Study Sessions are a unique opportunity for us to observe elected officials, appointees and City Hall voicing residents’ and local business’ needs and concerns. Spoiler alert: the Chair of P&Z is not a resident of Ely.

Tonight’s Study Session is an informal discussion about current and future zoning, coding, permissible and CPUs (conditional use permits) which will lead to ordinance changes. The current list (those HUGE pages you see the Mayor holding) can be found in Sec. 11.40 of Ely’s City Code Our list is not completely accurate — listen to conversations. The City knows properties are not zoned/coded correctly. Tonight’s meeting was not for Council to make motions or vote. Candor was expected in their back-and-forth sharing.

This is a benchmark video, so you are not aware of individuals from Ely’s Open Communications group attempting to work and meet with P&Z and the City on housing issues (housing options, reasonable costs, locations, zoning, and research findings including but not limited to The Amenity Trap, a report published by Headwaters Economics ). Red lights are not green lights.

This is a benchmark video, so think about how the P&Z, the City, and Council Members deal with complicated issues. What are the strategies of the past, present and, more importantly, the future? Is the spinning-wheels (AKA shuffling-papers) pattern working? With limited staff, why are we constantly reinventing the wheel? Will big decisions and smaller ones be based on short-term or long-term effects? Little picture vs. big picture vision? At other City meetings, residents have shared examples of coding/zoning info and maps from other cities – are they discussed tonight? Example: Other cities’ choice of colors for zoning maps.

This is a benchmark video, so observe how citizens in attendance are or might be more fully engaged, meaning better comprehend what’s being discussed. The Study Session tonight is intended for open casual discussions among P&Z, Council Members and City Hall. The public may observe. No problem. However, without wasting trees, which and what appropriate materials (could be) provided and/or projected on screens – or in hallway – so all (including citizens in attendance) can visualize concepts, etc.? Yes, we don’t need to waste paper. Only 2 items were projected on the overhead screen for the audience in attendance and at home: the agenda and a section of the permissible and CPU list. The one huge map seen in the front corner was behind Ely’s Planning Administrator.

Citizens wanting a more transparent and accountable representative government are now recording Ely’s public meetings. There will be benchmarks as study guides. There will be follow-up videos marking progress. We are also setting up an accessible website for the public where we will discuss Ely Politics. The goal is to migrate forward together. Don’t kill the messengers or fight the messages. Humans are not perfect. Our governments are not perfect. Re(read) the messages, focus on We The People, think smart, fix the problems, and stay transparent. Our Preamble : “We the People…, in Order to form a more perfect Union…”

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