As I traveled home tonight after the Planning & Zoning Commission's public hearing on the urban gardens issue, my mind traveled many different directions.
I was thinking about what a great community we live in, here in Springfield, Missouri, and what fabulous people there are dwelling among us all, in the Queen City.
The text amendments brought for the discussion tonight were questioned, not just by the public but, also by the Commission itself, and between the people and the Commission, they had some of the same questions I had but, they had questions I hadn't even thought about.
There were questions about pesticides, about hoop greenhouses and the water they displace, many, many questions about the conditional use permit fee and nothing much said about a license fee, at all.
The commission seemed very happy with the public comments they heard tonight, and just as Senior Planner Daniel Neal had earlier indicated in an email to me, the P & Z Commission tabled the text amendment indefinitely because they hope to see the City Council create a committee to consider all the pros and cons of urban farming.
A clear distinction was drawn between an urban garden for personal use, or even that of selling produce off-site, and an urban farm, with an on-site stand and maybe even hoop greenhouses.
There is definitely a lot to be discussed and there are plenty of people who appear to be ready to engage in that discussion.
To sum it up in a nutshell, I think Commissioner Matthew Edwards said it about as well as it could be said, "We want to make it easy on community gardens but, keep the standard high for urban farms," Edwards said. "We definitely need to do this (encourage urban gardens and farms) but, we have to be careful with what we do here because, it will set a precident."
So, I could tell you about the wonderful discussion. I could go on with quotes about the concerns and ideas offered but, I would prefer to say, at least for tonight, the system seems to have worked. Besides, Wes Johnson from the News-Leader was there. He'll surely file a "professional" report on it tomorrow, and even get paid for it. :)
Earlier today, I got an email from my brother, who has a little venture of his own going on in the blogosphere. He found himself frustrated because he was trying to say too much at once, and I don't think he'd mind me sharing that. I reminded him, that is the beauty of a blog. There's no one limiting your word count. You've got all the time in the world to take care with one issue before moving on to the next one you believe to be important, "I self-impose deadlines on myself all the time, so I keep pressure on myself. I try to remind myself that I don't get paid for this!" I wrote. "But, to me, and perhaps to you, it is about more than getting paid for it, it's about serving the public by sharing information we think is important for them to know. Right?"
And, of course, my brother agreed because he IS my brother.
So, I think I might have had the wonderful opportunity to have played a role in something big and something with a happy ending tonight by sharing what I did about the issue with others, I have a sense of satisfaction about that tonight. Nah, I don't have the "big-head" thinking I did anything special or was the cause of the great turnout of wonderful people at the meeting tonight, don't get me wrong. But, if I want to think I might have played some very tiny part in what happened at City Council Chambers tonight, just humor me. It's all I get for the trouble.
This song is dedicated to all the lovely people who turned out at the meeting tonight. Every one of them was "gold."
Related: Zoning commission tables garden talks, source "Springfield News-Leader"