September 30 - October 7, 1998

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CREN's Council Review -- September 28th Meeting


Council Rejects Billboard Moratorium
There were 28 items on the regular agenda. Twelve more were added on the supplemental agenda and one was walked in at the meeting.
The next meeting will be October 12.

Billboard Moratorium - The Council failed to pass an ordinance which would have prohibited zoning permits for any new billboards for six months.

Councilman Park, arguing in favor of the moratorium, said that residents had made it clear in recent public hearings that they wanted a moratorium. Opponents of billboards have argued that alcohol and tobacco ads are often targeted in low-income neighborhoods.
Councilman O'Connell pointed out that there has been no increase in signage space in the last few years and concluded that there was no need for the ordinance. The Commission on the City Plan had recommended denial of the ordinance because the billboard industry in Hartford is willing to voluntarily self-impose a moratorium. The Council voted 5 to 3 in favor of the ordinance, but 6 votes were required for passage.

The moratorium was intended to provide time to develop a comprehensive billboard policy. Councilman Park said after the meeting that he intends to continue to develop such a policy.

Hartford Parks Trust Fund - The Council voted on three Hartford Parks Trust Fund ordinances:

It passed an ordinance for $100,000 worth of improvements to Elizabeth Park. The funds will be used for the green house, adjacent buildings, and associated site work.

It tabled an $825,000 appropriation for the restoration of park ponds at Keney Park, Pope Park, Goodwin Park, and Elizabeth Park. The funds would be used for planning and to install filtering devices to improve water quality.

It tabled a $300,000 appropriation for improvements to Batterson Park. The money would be used to construct a new ticket booth, renovate the bath houses, install a new play apparatus and grills, and purchase new sand for the beach.

Plan for City Youth - The Council directed the City Manager to initiate a "formal process for the discussion, review, and implementation" of a comprehensive plan to improve services to the city's youth. The plan was completed by the City of Hartford Department of the Human Services with input from education officials, staff from community-based organizations, state agencies, and philanthropic institutions.

If you have any questions about the agenda, call the Council at 522-4888 or CREN at 249-1416. The Citizens' Research Education Network is a non-profit information center for Hartford community-based organizations.

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