On the agenda for Tuesday’s Bowling Green City Commission meeting is a vote on changing the way the commission votes on ordinances.

Currently, the commission votes on both the first and second reading of ordinances, but only the second vote is binding.

Although it is rare, commissioners have changed votes between the first and second reading.

Under state law, ordinances must be read twice. Voting on a first, nonbinding reading, however, is required only by city ordinance.

Changing that policy was discussed at a city retreat Tuesday.

Commissioner Dana Beasley-Brown said at the retreat the current process is “confusing for the general public,” with many people thinking an ordinance is final after a first vote by commissioners.

But Commissioner Sue Parrigin said the public “deserves to know how we feel about something” before a final vote.

While no vote was taken at the retreat, there was a consensus of the commissioners present to put it on a commission meeting agenda for further discussion and a vote. Commissioner Joe Denning was not at the retreat.

City Attorney Gene Harmon said at the retreat that state law does not mandate that a first reading of an ordinance be voted on, and an informal poll of other municipalities showed that many others don’t have their governing bodies vote on a first reading.

The proposed changes to the city ordinance include an exception for an “emergency ordinance,” where a vote on a first reading will still be required.

Also on the agenda for the 4:30 p.m. meeting at City Hall is a second vote on a rezoning for a large multiuse development on Russellville Road.

Developers are seeking to rezone 83.41 acres at 6309 Russellville Road from agriculture and general business to single-family residential, multifamily residential, highway business and light industrial. The development plan includes a 19.88-acre multifamily portion that will have up to 456 apartments, a 16.33-acre portion along Russellville Road to be zoned highway business and a 35.1-acre portion that will be light industrial.

Commissioners approved the request 5-0 at the Jan. 20 meeting on first reading.

– Follow News Director Wes Swietek on Twitter @BGDNgovtbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.

– Follow News Director Wes Swietek on Twitter @BGDNgovtbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.


(1) comment


I agree with Ms. Parrigin. The first reading let’s the community know how the commissioners would vote. It shows transparency and puts the community on notice of changes. The time between the first reading and vote and the second reading and vote allows the community to express their support or opposition. Without the preliminary vote, the voter doesn’t know who to lobby to change their position. Keep the transparency. Keep the ordinance of two readings, two votes.

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