Public Comment 08/22/22 at City Council Meeting | Stonecrest Citizens Coalition

My name is Malaika Wells. I’m a Stonecrest resident in D4 and President of the Stonecrest Citizens Coalition. 

After reviewing the Urban Redevelopment Area resolution on tonight’s agenda, I failed to see how the area described in Exhibit A fits the requirements of a “pocket of blight.” I found it odd that this resolution’s exhibits did not include a map of the area in addition to the legal description to make it easier for citizens and stakeholders to understand the area being described. 

Because there is no reasoning shared in the agenda packet as to how the area was determined to be blighted, because the exhibit did not include a map of the area described, because the city hasn’t shared any updates with the community regarding the Stonecrest Development Authority or the Stonecrest Housing Authority or how such designation would impact the Comprehensive Plan and the previous and/or current activities of the the aforementioned authorities. – the vote on the resolution should be deferred as to provide for more discussion and input from the community. 

Regarding the Urban Redevelopment Agency, once again, I implore you to explain to citizens how it’s possible that council can be both council and “not council” when participating as members of that agency. Why are no other Stonecrest citizens or stakeholders members? I again note that most URA meetings are spent in Executive Session, minutes from those sessions are not made available to the public even upon ORR, and no updates regarding decisions you make or votes you take during those sessions are described in available recorded videos of those meetings. 

I am asking that you add to the next council agenda a discussion of the URA, its purpose, intent, scope, vision, mission, values, policies and procedures, including the purpose and intent of adding a line item for this agency in the city’s budget, how the agency is organized, how members are appointed, and the terms of appointment. 

This request speaks to continuing issues of transparency and accountability from council, as the council are also the only members of the URA. Thank you.