Essentially, Tammy related to me HOW the proposal regarding the super majority vote got to the table. It evolved over a period of year and a half. I appreciated the input.
However, the WHY seemed to be elusive. Some time was spent talking about other cities having this same super majority requirement to override P&Z. Tammy said many cities have it. That is true, however I know a little bit about that.
When I was a real estate development loan officer I spent many, many hours working with developers and cities and their codes and zoning requirements. I certainly don't have a scientific study, but my experience says that cities that have this super majority requirement are usually the larger cities. The smaller cities and towns do not. Why? Because it's harder to collude in the smaller towns and cities than in the larger cities. In the smaller towns everybody knows each other. The people in smaller towns know who they voted for and hold their elected officials responsible for any irregularities. Large cities do not have that kind of familiarity. Thus, that leads to more regulations and control, well advised or not.
That provides the credibility of the point that Tammy made in which I must agree. She states that the requirement of a super majority to override P&Z makes it harder for politics to become an issue. I agree with that. However, the reason is somewhat less noble than presented. It is a math exercise.
There are 10 members on P&Z Commission. Including the mayor, there are 7 votes on City Council. A super majority denial of a zoning case in P&Z would require 8 votes for denial, and to override the P&Z vote, 6 votes to override would be required of City Council. Can you imagine the political shenanigans required to do this? Of the total 17 votes votes, one would have to fail to manipulate the 8 votes against a zoning change, then have to manipulate 6 votes of Council for the zoning change. That is manipulating (pro and con) 14 of the 17 votes. Folks, I don't think we're sophisticated enough in Rowlett for that type of behavior. I'd pay admission for that show.
Although Tammy is correct in stating the requirement of the super majority minimizes political influence, I think that risk is extremely minimal. I think her position is technically accurate, but the practical considerations seem to appear very thin in eventuality. As far as other cities having this requirement, I don't give a flip.
I certainly don't agree with everything the P&Z has done. I think they have made some bone head mistakes in the past. On the other hand, I don't agree with everything City Council has done. However, I do always try to cite my reasons for both approvals and arguments against. In this country, we call it "differences of opinion." I seem to always have one. Because of that, I don't ever expect to be invited into the Rowlett Mutual Admiration Society. They're a little smarmy for me.
Tammy made a valid point. But it wasn't sufficient to change my mind. I still want the people I vote for to keep and honor the authority they posses and continue to have an oversight position on everything. I think a majority vote should prevail. If staff makes a mistake, it is the City Manager's fault. If we make a mistake in selecting an elected official, it's not their fault. It is ours. They are expected to do the right thing. Think for yourself.