Joel Russell Explains Resignation from Zoning Revisions Committee; Comments on King Street Rezoning

Joel Russell explains his recent resignation from the Zoning Revisions Committee. Download PDFs of his letter to the Planning Board and his comments on the Chamber of Commerce recommendations on the King Street zoning.

September 22, 2010

To the Planning Board, Mayor, City Council, Office of Planning and Development, and Zoning Revisions Committee:

I am attaching a letter to the Planning Board explaining my reasons for resigning from the Zoning Revisions Committee. I want to be open and transparent about this and do not want it to be the subject of rumor and speculation. This was a difficult and complicated decision for me, and I have laid out as best I can my reasons, as well as some suggestions for moving forward in a constructive direction. As my letter references comments on the Chamber of Commerce recommendations on the King Street zoning, I have also attached these comments. I hope that this material clarifies some important issues and is helpful to the City as it deliberates on the future of zoning in Northampton. Thank you for your attention to this letter.

Sincerely yours,

Joel Russell

See also:

Northampton Media: “Chaos on King Street” (9/21/10)
Joel Russell abruptly resigned last week from the city’s Zoning Revisions Committee (ZRC), which he chaired.

…[Russell] cited undisclosed health issues as his reason for stepping down…

“I have one request,” Russell wrote: “that the public be presented with some alternative viewpoints (not necessarily fully developed proposals) on the Chamber of Commerce’s proposal for the HB [Highway Business] district on King Street.

“The ZRC,” he continued, ”exists to ensure that the public interest is served, not simply to expedite a proposal put forth by one interest group, however well-crafted and ‘vetted’ it may be.”

Videos: Zoning for King Street, 9/21/10  

Chamber Plans to Take King Street Proposals to Planning Board if Zoning Revisions Committee ‘Bogs Down’ in Process (6/25/10)
Dennis Bidwell, member of the Zoning Revisions Committee and chair of the Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Committee, advises: “If we get to September, we get to October, and we’re feeling like it’s bogged down in process, and meanwhile, folks are waiting for something to happen, we [the Chamber] would go to the Planning Board and say, ‘Act on it’.”