Commissioner-elect Cupid off to rocky start with her future colleagues
by Jon Gillooly
December 19, 2012 12:39 AM | 4261 views | 16 16 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lisa Cupid
Lisa Cupid
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MARIETTA — Commissioner-elect Lisa Cupid’s working relationship with the rest of the Board of Commissioners got off to a rocky start Tuesday when they refused her request to postpone a zoning decision until the next meeting, when she will be in office.

Luiz Urizar asked the board to change a 2.5-acre tract of property located on Six Flags Parkway east of Bishop Road from residential to industrial to allow him to store and repair his business’ semi tractor-trailers there, his attorney John Moore said.

There are currently two vacant houses and several outbuildings on the lot.

Four people spoke in opposition to the zoning change: attorney Kevin Ross, representing the Silver Creek subdivision; Courtney Edwards of Austell, who lives in the nearby Silver Creek subdivision; Cupid, and Robin Meyer, vice president of the Mableton Improvement Coalition.

Meyer said the proposal was “not the sort of high-quality, sustainable development the community needs,” and Cupid said the area in question has continuing conflicts between residential and industrial properties, but Moore said the county’s land use plan calls for the property to be priority industrial and pointed out that the county staff and Planning Commission recommended approving the zoning request. He also said the request had already been continued three times.

“(Cupid) was the one that was working with the community down there trying to work this out, and so she kept asking me to continue it to meet with the community, and we did meet down there twice,” Moore told the Journal after the meeting. “I was just trying to accommodate her and the community.”

While Cupid asked that the proposal be continued until the next zoning meeting, the commissioner she unseated in the Democratic primary, Woody Thompson, whose term ends on Dec. 31, called for the zoning change to be approved, which commissioners did in a 4-1 vote with Bob Ott opposed.

“I think holding it is more appropriate,” Ott said.

Were Cupid to have been on the commission, she still would have needed Tim Lee, JoAnn Birrell or Helen Goreham to have switched their vote for her request to have been upheld.

After the meeting, Cupid said she was disheartened by the vote.

“I cannot even express to you all the optimism I had in moving into this role, and how it sometimes may seem there’s a disparity between the district and the others is just a matter of perception or only a matter of the history of south Cobb’s development before the other areas, but today just seemed to communicate that there’s something greater going on,” she said.

Cupid questioned whether commissioners were making up their minds on issues before the meetings.

“What I was very shocked about is that there was no deliberation, no communication about the opposing comments, not a bit after (Ross) made such a compelling argument, not one iota of thought towards what he shared and the impact this could have on the community of residents,” she said.

“What is perhaps an eye-opener for me today, it just seems when one commissioner votes one way, everyone follows along without discussion, and it just gives me the thought that decisions are made prior to that meeting.”

It is not uncommon for some commissioners to bring a prewritten statement from which they read to the audience when justifying their votes.

Cupid said she needs a majority of votes to approve projects that will help south Cobb, and she risks hurting her ability to get those votes by speaking out against her fellow commissioners.

“I’m very concerned about that,” she said.

The good news, she said, is that Tuesday’s disappointment will make her a better commissioner.

“It makes me very sensitive for when other people bring up issues that pertain to their communities because this happened in my backyard, and I’m an incoming commissioner,” Cupid said. “If this could happen to me, then it means I’m going to have to be either more sensitive and diligent in investigating the comments and concerns of other constituents.”

Cobb Superior Court Judge Gregory Poole is scheduled to swear in Cupid to office at 2 p.m. on January 4 in the Commissioners’ meeting room.
Comments
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Just Sayin'....
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December 20, 2012
Commissioner Cupid will do an outstanding job. I do not live in her district, but would be proud to have her represent me.
Disrespect
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December 20, 2012
For the commissioners to not hold this is disrespect to Ms. Cupid.

For the commissioners to not respond to those residents is disrespect to South Cobb.

For Woody to say nothing is why he is gone.
JR in Mableton
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December 19, 2012
Ms. Cupid will be a great commissioner or South Cobb. I like her more every day.
J Johns
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December 19, 2012
That's exactly while ole Woody is out the door! Bye Bye Woody Woodpecker!
SG68
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December 19, 2012
It is going to be her district shortly and the other commissioner's should respect that.

Woody is out and I suspect his vote was not so much in support for the request, as spiteful revenge for being overwhelmingly tossed out of office.

Holding off on a decision for a month or two in order to allow her to officially vote yea or nay is not going to hurt anyone.

Once again Ott is the only commissioner that did the right thing.
MountainMolehill
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December 19, 2012
Commissioner Cupid has not had an opportunity to work with staff and other Commissioners concerning zoning cases. All involved should not over-react to this situation as her work in this regard is effective when she is sworn-in. Give Commissioner Thompson credit for his community involvement in this case and accept his approval.
Not East Cobb
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December 19, 2012
Mr. or Mrs. MountainHolehill;

I'll ask you the very same question as was asked to Eastcobbdad.

Would you want a parking lot for tractor-trailers and the additional traffic they bring next to where you live?

Very easy to say it's not a big issue when it does not directly effect you.
Here goes Ott
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December 19, 2012
Already making moves to rope Cupid in to his shenanigans. I have no doubt he voted against this just to try and suck Cupid in as his pawn. As is his style he just votes no when everyone votes yes and he votes yes when everyone votes no.

Cobb Citizen
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December 19, 2012
How can anyone say that they thoughtfully considered the views of residents if no discussion or questions are presented? Especially with so much community support against it. I cannot say it is the right or wrong decision, but this disheartens the community when they feel that there arguments are not being considered. BTW @ eastcobbdad, I didn't see any bad mouthing, but more questions on why something was "squeezed in" when she will be sworn in in 2 weeks.

Lastly, thoughtful planning and less haphazard changes should be made in developing ALL of Cobb county. I cannot say what was at place here, but ALL commissioners should be held to give reasoning why the believe why a change (or no change) in zoning is moving Cobb in the right direction.
eastcobbdad
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December 19, 2012
So Ms. Cupid is bad mouthing the board members because they voted againist a zoning change that she opposed? That are they supposed to do, vote in her favor because she is going to be the commissioner next year? How about removing herself from the discussion due to a conflict of interest. She could have had an unfair influence on the vote because of her future position. Glad the others were not intimidated by her belly aching!!!
Not in East Cobb
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December 19, 2012
Quite easy for you make these comments as you are NOT a resident of that area. She and others who actually live in that area and will have to deal with more tractor-trailer traffic due to the commissions decision. Would want this next to your neighborhood?

Again the commission failed the folks of South Cobb while they talk out of the other side of their mouths as to how the South Cobb needs improvement.

The fact that MIC was against it, plus the S/D next the property should have been enough opposition to merit discussion.
Julie Smart
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December 19, 2012
That's life in the city said the kitty. Work and decisions have to move on and not cause a backlog...
Welcome Ms. Cupid...
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December 19, 2012
To the real world...
EEinsetin
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December 19, 2012
I was at the meeting and agree 100% with Ms. Cupid's observation. With so much information provided to them as to why this should not be approved, the board failed in their role to even discuss this matter or ask any questions of the opposing side. One commissioner did ask about the site plan and when told by attorney Moore that he did not have one, she dismissed the lack of having a plan and voted in the affirmative to pass it anyway along with the rest of the group. I commend Commissioner Ott for the leadership he displayed in this matter and respect him for not voting with the nod squad. We have elected officials making decisions for our area of the community who simply do not care about our area of the community. Why else would they ok a truck stop across from communities without sidewalks and in an area that is frequented by people walking to and from Six Flags, school bus stops, etc. They have placed these negative impacting businesses upon our community continuously and then have the never to say to our faces that "it is good business". They would never place this in their own back yard or impact their families. I will be watching the commissioners to see how they vote if something similar pops up in their community. What will they use as an excuse to turn it down? Shame on you Woody for crapping on our community one last time before you leave office. We have always deserved better from you. Lisa will bring the fresh thoughts that we need and the leadership we deserve. You have our support Ms. Cupid even if the rest of the commissioners don’t support you or our community – we have your back!
anonymous
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December 20, 2012
It has been discussed in work sessions and has been heard and held 3 times, they sit through hours of of talk before meeting and it is reviewed by the staff before evening going to the commissioners.
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