Changes to the Zoning Ordinance require a review by the Planning Commission, and on January 13, they unanimously recommended against a Super Majority requirement. Their rationale was best expressed by D. Steve Thode. "Such a Super Majority requirement, essentially that if you're absent you're counted as a No vote, would force some otherwise well-meaning, public-spirited volunteers for public service, to think twice about whether they want to be placed in a position where their commitment to family or to their job, was read as some sort of denial of their civic obligations."
But City Council members, at their January 18 meeting, seemed skeptical. Karen Dolan, joined by Bob Donchez, indicated a zoning applicant who wanted a decision from all five members could simply request a continuance, and added that they are bound by a super majority requirement in their own decisions.
Bethlehem resident Al Bernotas, who supports the proposed change, told Council that there really is no excuse for an absence. "You're talking about twelve meetings a year, two or three hours a day. I don't see why that should be so difficult." He questioned whether absentees are really interested in doing something "good for the City", or just "want another line on their resume."
Council will vote on this proposed change at their February 1 meeting.