What’s Happening at City Hall?

Can You Believe It’s August Already?

What’s Happening at City Hall?

Even in August, things aren’t slowing down much. We’re at 21 public meetings (down from 23 in July). Nothing is written in stone, so use this link to keep up with the latest schedule changes. https://cityofwinterpark.org/government/boards/

Social Notes from the Last Commission Meeting

Something’s Rotten at City Hall. The dais where the Commissioners sit has termites. Like the Trojan Horse, the beautiful custom woodwork facing the audience harbors an invading army. Before the army gets out and attacks the entire building, the dais will have to be dismantled and removed and the invaders eradicated. Here’s hoping the City of Winter Park is more successful than the Trojans were. Search is underway for an artisan to design a replacement.

Body cameras for Winter Park’s Finest are in the FY2020 budget. And the Commission voted not to demolish the building at Progress Point. A majority agreed they would wait and see what happens with redevelopment plans for the Orange Avenue corridor. The City did, however, mow the grass at Progress Point. Neighbors are grateful.

Schedules for Commission, Advisory Boards and 3 Task Forces

Commission meetings are held the second and fourth Monday of each month, beginning at 3:30 pm, in the Commission Chambers on the second floor of City Hall. They go until they’re finished – typically until 5:30 to 6:30 pm unless there is a controversial item on the agenda.

Nineteen citizen boards advise the Commission on topics ranging from Police Officers’ Pensions to Lakes and Waterways and Code Compliance. A full list of these boards and board members can be found at the City website (above link). The August schedule is on the chart below.

In addition to the standing advisory boards, there are currently three task forces, which are formed for a single stated purpose with definite beginning and ending dates. The three task forces are described below. You are urged to attend their meetings.

Charter Review Advisory Committee

This task force is formed every 10 years for the purpose of updating the Winter Park City Charter. The Charter is our City’s ‘Constitution,’ its primary governing document. Some major issues are under discussion, making these meetings interesting and relevant. Meetings are held once a month at the Community Center from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The first hour is devoted to public comment, so best be on time. The next meeting is Tuesday, August 27.

Orange Avenue Steering Committee

The purpose of this task force is to decide the parameters of a zoning ‘overlay,’ which will establish guidelines for the redevelopment of that stretch of Orange Avenue reaching from 17-92 to just north of the corner of Denning and Fairbanks. Meetings are held twice a month from 5:30 to 7:30 pm in the Commission chambers. The next meeting is Wednesday, August 7.

Old Library Reuse Task Force

This group is charged with recommending to the Commission the proper disposition of the current library facility. The task force meets twice a month in the Commission chambers at Noon. The next meeting is Wednesday, August 14.

Coffee Talks

Not only do we have official commissions, boards and task forces, we also have informal gatherings with the Mayor and Commissioners where you can let them know what you’re thinking and find out what they’re thinking.

The Mayor’s Coffee Talk was in July. Coffee Talks with the Commissioners will be held 8:00 to 9:00 am at the Winter Park Golf and Country Club, 761 Old England Ave.

Commissioner Greg Seidel – August 8.

Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel – September 9.

Commissioner Carolyn Cooper – October 10.

Commissioner Todd Weaver – November 14.

Here’s the August Lineup.

The Chapman Room and the Commission Chambers are on the second floor of City Hall.

Note: this schedule is subject to change. Check the City website link at the top of the article for the latest information.

  • author's avatar

    By: Anne Mooney

    Anne Mooney has assumed the editorship of the Winter Park Voice from founding editor Tom Childers.

    Mooney got her start in New York as a freelance line editor for book publishers, among them Simon & Schuster and the Clarkson Potter division of Crown Books. From New York, she and her husband and their year-old toddler moved to Washington, D.C., where the two ran a newswire service for Harper’s magazine. “We called it Network News,” said Mooney, “because it was a network of the Harper’s writers, whose work we edited into newspaper style and format and sold to papers in the top U.S. and Canadian markets. We were sort of like a tiny UPI.”

    The newswire ceased operation with the death of Mooney’s first husband, but Mooney continued to write and edit, doing freelance work for Williams Sonoma cookbooks and for local publications in D.C.

    In 2005, Mooney moved to Winter Park, where she worked as a personal chef and wrote a regular food column for a south Florida magazine. She took an active interest in Winter Park politics and was there when the Winter Park Voice was founded. She wrote occasional pieces for the Voice, including the Childers bio that this piece replaces.

    The Winter Park Voice is one of a large number of “hyper-local” publications that have sprung up across the U.S. in response to the decline of the major daily newspapers and the resulting deficit of local news coverage. The Voice’sbeat is Winter Park City Hall, and its purpose is to help the residents of our city better understand the political forces that shape our daily lives.

  • author's avatar

7 replies
  1. Suzan Shaw says:

    Thank you for the update! Would it be possible for a local Winter Park carpenter, “artisan” to construct the dias??? I cringe at the thought of our taxpayer dollars paying for something extravagant, elaborate and “artisan.”Perhaps the high school’s shop class be commissioned?

    Reply
  2. LOL says:

    TERMITES. You’ve got to be kidding. Who believes that? Fake. Fake. Fake.

    Are they VPT?

    Very Political Termites?

    Would that explain why the termites are in the Dias and NO WHERE ELSE at City Hall?

    I can’t believe The Voice printed this story.

    100% City government propaganda.

    No one believes this.

    Commissioners sat FOR HOURS at the Dias AFTER the termite story was told at the City Commission meeting.

    Do you think ANY of said Commissioners would have sat at the Dias FOR EVEN A MINUTE if it was infested with a hungry mob of termites?

    Do you?

    Would YOU?

    C’mon Voice.

    THINK

    I know its Summer.

    But THINK anyway before you repeat whatever story the City tells you.

    Reply
    • Ha Ha says:

      Three weeks ago at the City Commission meeting, the termites were said to be an emergency requiring urgent action. Attendees were informed that the Dais would be removed immediately to prevent the termites from infesting the rest of City Hall. We were told the termites were all over the Dais.

      Today, three weeks later we get an entirely different story.

      Today’s story is termites are not in the Dais proper, but under it. Commissioners sat at the Dais today as if there were no termites on it, under it, or anywhere near it.

      Would you sit for hours on a platform that you knew termites were chewing away at?

      So, what will the story be next City Commission meeting?

      Termites moved to Timbuktu?

      Stay Tuned to the Voice for all the latest on the Termite Hoax, and all other things Winter Park politics.

      Reply
  3. Cigar says:

    The article says, “Something’s Rotten at City Hall.”

    Indeed,

    As governments stray from the core tenets of representation, they tend to erect barriers between themselves and the public they are supposed to serve.

    Sometimes this is done through new laws at the state and national level, or right here in town through new local ordinances.

    Sometimes it’s simply by not being entirely truthful with the residents.

    And sometimes it is done through physical structures – a dais for example.

    The ultimate design of the new City Commission dais (a fancy word meaning the super sized desk Commissioners sit at, as a group, during their City Commission meetings) may seem rather trivial. But whether it is a design that appears more welcoming and friendly to residents, or one that makes the commission appear more imposing, superior, guarded, and distant, matters.

    A lot of government is about symbolism.

    It is rare any more that a resident appears at the City Commission Public Comment microphone during the regular Public Comment agenda item for matters not otherwise on the agenda. Residents who do are customarily treated with no more than a curt, bureaucratic, “Thank you” from their mayor. Not exactly the type of reception that encourages public comment.

    Let’s hope that this new dais design doesn’t further discourage Winter Park residents from participating in their local government.

    Reply
  4. My Guess says:

    Odds are better than 50/50 that Winter Park will attempt to copy some version of Charlotte, North Carolina’s City Council dais when designing the new WP dais (see link).

    http://cbsnews3.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2016/09/27/e7bbfc87-40c4-47c1-9462-e5bc894143a8/thumbnail/620×350/4c33a64e796d6eef38e4c5f2771803c0/2016-09-27t022501z-909144840-s1beudqamvaa-rtrmadp-3-usa-police.jpg

    In Charlotte, the residents never get within 30 feet of the dais. And the dais completely walled off from the residents.

    Seats towards the front of the residents’ seating section are always “reserved,” so the actual distance between an average resident and the their City Council members is 50 feet or more.

    For public comment, the residents speak from a lectern in their seating section located far away from the City Council members.

    Council members and residents enter and exit the room through different doors, making unscheduled conversations between representatives and the represented next to impossible.

    A small section for press is located between the residents and the council members, to make the extreme distance between residents and their government less obvious.

    As in most major U.S. cities, Charlotte’s press reports what only the government tells them to report as it pertains to local government stories.

    The new Winter Park dais should come as no surprise to residents. It is only the most recent, and visible, manifestation of government that has forgotten whom it is supposed to serve.

    Reply
  5. N F says:

    Agree with SS about new Dais. The Mayflower also has a Wood Shop.

    Maybe if the Dais is “rotten” the people who use it should take that as a sign to get a new one which gives a better view of what Winter Park citizens really want and need.

    Reply

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