Rules to speak at council lightened

By Andrea Cordle
Southwest Editor

Every so often, a city needs to update its governing rules.

At the July 18 meeting, Grove City Council approved a measure to modernize the rules of council, but there was one proposed amendment that drew a debate.

Councilwoman Laura Lanese suggested that council do away with its rule for each agenda item that only allows three opponents and three proponents to speak on the item.

“I would rather we be known as more accessible, rather than less accessible,” said Lanese.

She said if someone takes time out of their day to address council, then the members should allow that.

Councilman Steve Bennett voiced his concern with the amendment, saying council already has the authority to waive the rules and allow additional comment. He sees no reason to change the current rules. He also is concerned that without a limit, someone could try a filibuster.

“Keep in mind, this is a business meeting,” said Bennett.

The other council members were in favor of Lanese’s amendment.

Council president Roby Schottke said council needed to give people their voice. Ted Berry said he was not in favor of denying anyone the right to speak. Berry also said in regards to Bennett’s filibuster concern, that council could always suspend public comment.

Councilman Jeff Davis said there has been several issues in the past six months where council suspended the rules to allow more than three people from each side of the issue to speak.

“Though we typically suspend the rules, I would prefer to move in the direction of more transparency,” said Davis.

The councilman said if speakers become repetitive, the chair could address that.

With the exception of Bennett, council voted in favor of the amendment and the resolution unanimously passed.

Council will still abide by a time limit for speakers of three minutes for each person.

In other news, after a brief debate, council approved a development plan for a retail center to be located south of Stringtown Road and east of Marlane Drive.

The plan includes demolishing half of the Days Inn motel and building three buildings that would house retail and restaurant space. The concern for the plan was traffic.

“That is a tough out for patrons going onto Stringtown Road,” said Davis.

Berry said he likes the development plan, but voted against it due to the safety issues concerning traffic.

“This is just going to add to the problem,” said the councilman. “We need to solve the traffic problems.”

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