Plaza ordinance on city commission agenda

According to an article reported to Historic City News and written by former Mayor George Gardner, the likelihood of city commissioners sorting out two major issues at one public workshop is remote.

In any event, the July 13th public workshop agenda for the commission includes discussion of a new ordinance for the Plaza de la Constitución as well as what architectural styles should go where in the historic district.

“We have to have a new ordinance, based on what the courts are likely to uphold,” City Attorney Ron Brown told commissioners last month in the wake of a federal court decision invalidating portions of a Plaza ordinance that banned all commercial activity.

Brown said, “We need enough of a standard for police and management to be able to follow.”

Since the federal court action, the Plaza has been open to unregulated activity, bringing with it not only sale of the four categories of visual art the court upheld – prints, paintings, sculpture and photography – but as well sunglasses, jewelry and other vending.

In the wake of the ruling, attorneys for the four successful Plaza artists have offered to settle that case for $52,000 in attorneys’ fees and $2,500 in “nominal damages” for each plaintiff.

The commission is expected to begin the process of repealing the current Plaza ordinance at its regular meeting following the workshop.

Brown is planning to update commissioners on negotiations initiated by the artist’s lawyers to settle their lawsuit.

Photo credit: Historic City News photographer Kerry McGuire

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