Council members oppose cutting panel - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Council members oppose cutting panel

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Posted: Friday, June 5, 2009 8:18 pm | Updated: 1:26 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

A Mesa proposal to eliminate the Downtown Development Committee was strongly opposed by council members Dennis Kavanaugh and Dina Higgins at a meeting last week.

A Mesa proposal to eliminate the Downtown Development Committee, a longtime resident advisory board that focuses on planning and zoning issues for a square mile of downtown, was strongly opposed by council members Dennis Kavanaugh and Dina Higgins at a meeting last week.

The plan is to let the Planning and Zoning Board, the advisory committee that deals with similar issues for the rest of the city, also take charge of downtown. The move is an effort to streamline overlapping functions.

But Kavanaugh and Higgins said that cutting the downtown committee would be a bad idea, especially at this time when downtown is poised for big changes, including a light-rail extension on Main Street. Kavanaugh said besides cutting residents' role in decision-making, eliminating the committee would mean losing out on an advocacy group that focused on "holistic" planning for downtown - one that pushed for the streetspace project, as well as locating the Mesa Arts Center downtown.

Kavanaugh also opposed another plan to scale back functions of the Design Review Board, saying that would limit residents' participation in ensuring that developments suit the community.

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