The Common Council's deliberations on an appeal over the Landmark Commission's rejection of the Edgewater Hotel project, set for Tuesday night, were postponed until Dec. 15 because of this week's blizzard.
Had the meeting taken place, three council members were expected to be absent: Larry Palm, Michael Schumacher and Thuy Pham-Remmele. That made getting the requisite 14 votes for an override especially difficult. Will the proposal stand a better chance next week, when only one or two alders are expected to be absent?
"It gives us another week to be lobbied," says Ald. Mike Verveer, who is against overturning the Landmark Commission's decision (See here for Jay Rath's reports). "But it also gives us another week to find a compromise."
The Landmark Commission's controversial ruling to deny expansion of the Edgewater prompted the mayor to declare it "a broken city approval process that needs to be fixed." The issue is that a handful of committees - including the Landmarks Commission - require a super-majority council vote to overturn their decisions, while most of the other commissions merely make recommendations to the council.
"Liquor licenses have to go to council," notes Ald. Paul Skidmore. "Plan Commission recommendations have to go to council. I think the role of the Landmarks Commission, the Urban Design Commission - take your pick down the line - should be to make recommendations to the council."
Skidmore reports that public interest in the Edgewater project is intense. "I've been getting between 150 and 200 emails a day, just like everybody else," he says. "I would say the vast majority are in favor of the Edgewater. Those against it have some interesting arguments."