GBCL meeting devolves into voting arguments

Voting was once again the main topic at Wednesday’s Greater Bustleton Civic League meeting.

Members were to vote on a new vice president, but the issue over voting and bylaws extended to the subsequent zoning matters, and left a sour taste in many members’ mouths.

An issue at many civic associations in the region, voting regulations have proven to be a particularly sharp thorn in the GBCL’s side.

The discussion revolves around who should be allowed to vote on various civic members: all dues-paying members, 19115 residents only or those who live near to and would be affected by a zoning variance.

Zoning matters

The following zoning matters were discussed at the May GBCL meeting:

1801 Grant Ave. The owners of a new Turkish restaurant sought a zoning variance to allow the use of a hookah in the establishment. Members opposed the variance 46-9.

256 Geiger Rd. The owners of Bambi Daycare gave a preliminary proposal for a private PreK-5 school. Members said they’d be open to hearing a full proposal for the school.

Though the bylaws have been read at several meetings, members do not have copies and cannot make amendments.

At the GBCL, members vote on zoning matters by holding up index cards. Some members feel — and the bylaws state — only 19115 residents who are dues-paying GBCL members should be allowed to vote. At past meetings, there have been instances of non-members showing up at one meeting to vote for a particular zoning case (usually a friend’s or neighbor’s), and 19116 residents voting on matters not directly pertinent to their zipcode.

Wednesday’s meeting was no exception, as arguments broke out surrounding zoning for a Turkish restaurant, private school and tattoo parlor.

Often times, as was the case with with restaurant variance, President John McKeever takes a first vote to ask 19115 residents if non-Bustleton members should be given a vote on a specific matter. The answer is always no.

When, at the end of the meeting a member read a letter requesting a special meeting to design a voting committee, McKeever said he would “take this under advisement.”

The meeting was adjourned just before 10 p.m. when Myles Gordon, lifelong Bustleton resident, was announce as the vice president, effective June 1. In his five-minute speech before the vote, Gordon said he’d advocate for every GBCL member to have a copy of the bylaws, stating his belief in “inclusion, not exclusion.”

The GBCL will next meet the last Wednesday of June. The location has not been determined.

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