Council's vote for exception is disappointing

Editor, the Advocate:

I don't think I have been more disappointed with a council vote than I was with the recent votes cast by council members Soliz, Hagan, Truman and Alvarez in regards to a request for a billboard height variance made by Lamar Outdoor. This issue was put before the Planning Commission, which voted overwhelmingly against (with one vote "for") granting the variance. When the issue was brought before the city council, former councilwoman Shirley Buckert, who served on the council when the ordinance was originally passed, spoke about the reasoning for it; Jan Scott explained how this ordinance fits into the community developed comprehensive plan and how approving the variance would be in conflict with the plan; and Planning Commission representatives Sharon Steen and Louise Patillo addressed why the commission voted against it. The only individual who spoke for it was a representative of Lamar Outdoor.

Despite an overwhelming vote from the Planning Commission, strong community support against the ordinance and no rational reason given for supporting it, council members Soliz, Hagan, Truman and Alvarez voted to grant the variance.

I don't fault the billboard company for making the request. They're just trying to make decisions that are in the best interests of their organization. However, the council vote, in my opinion, not only made a mockery of the individuals who give their time and talent to serve on the Planning Commission but also represented a total disregard for the constituents they were elected to represent. Which makes me wonder who exactly are they representing? It sure isn't this community!

Cheryl Johnson, Victoria