[update: Photos are uploaded [City Council Urban Water Front Rezone Land-Use Hearing], and some are added to this post.]
Wow. Wow. Wow!
I am back at home after a 5 hour City Council meeting during which nearly 100 people spoke on the topic of a proposal to change the existing urban waterfront zoning regulations on the "Isthmus" area of Downtown Olympia. Flood of emotion here. I'll try to keep it on track. The meeting was very informative. I heard many things that I haven't heard before. People who spoke seemed to be about 3 to 1 opposed v. supportive of the proposed rezone.
The rezone might result in what developer Triway Enterprises has marketed as a massive mixed use building that would, as it is currently slated, contain 141 "up-class" condominiums, which would be priced from between $800,000 to $1.2M (according to the proposal.)
Many passionate speakers on both sides. I am processing some photographs that I took during and before the meeting. I recommend that you watch the video of the testimony. All five hours - good to the last drop. Some of it might be infuriating. But you'll be a better person afterward!
I hope to have more about the meeting later on. There were many amazing moments. Some wonderful and some, frankly, horrifying things were said (e.g. the Triway advocate (lawyer) who engaged in blatant threats and condescension. But, I suppose, that might depend on your point of view.)
There was a lot of impressive testimony. Some I agreed with, some I disagreed with.
Some questions to ask after the hearing or when viewing the video of the hearing (which isn't on the Internet as of the morning of September 17th, 2008):
Did any of the speakers seem to be intellectually dishonest (even perhaps to the point of engaging in what might be considered to be "Double Speak" (as defined by George Orwell)?)
Which side of the rezone proposal presented a better argument, and why?
Pay attention to your feelings. How did you feel at various times throughout the hearing (or viewing the hearing?)
Did you hear anything new?
What was the most compelling testimony?
...many, many more questions could be asked. And hopefully they will. Make sure to keep an eye on OlyBlog.net for more information. By the way, I entered the discussion that has taken place on OlyBlog (it has been discussed since at least February) into the official record. (see http://olyblog.net/isthmus-2008)
Stay tuned for photos [photos are up].
The Isthmus from the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial: