Here's what happened when Zoom capped Mount Shasta City Council's meeting at 100 participants

Kelsey Shelton
Mount Shasta Herald

Mount Shasta city councilors were advised to continue their meeting Monday evening due to an overwhelming amount of public participants and concerns over the potential for Brown Act violations. The majority of more than a hour and a half of comments focused on the city's General Plan 2045 and plans for Fourth of July fireworks over Shastice Park.

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With the Zoom platform's 100 participant cap, many who attempted to join the meeting remotely were unsuccessful – creating concerns that not all public commenters would have the opportunity to be heard.

"It was an unintentional cap," said Mayor John Redmond. "It was a learned lesson."

According to city staff, this was the first time since meetings have moved online last year that there had been close to 100 participants attempting to attend.

"Unfortunately, we are having a public meeting where all the public cannot attend," said City Attorney John Kenny. After a short deliberation, councilor Tim Stearns moved to adjourn the meeting until April 19 at 5:30 p.m. Redmond seconded the motion, which was agreed upon unanimously.

Multiple hot ticket items were on Monday's agenda, including the potential censure of Stearns, who has been accused of bullying by city staff members. The meeting also would have provided a platform for the public to speak about the potential move of the annual Fourth of July Fireworks display from Lake Siskiyou to Shastice Park, and the city's General Plan 2045. 

More:Will there be a Fourth of July fireworks show in Mount Shasta in 2021?

General Plan 2045

While Monday's meeting never progressed beyond public comment, concerns about the proposed General Plan took up most of the time. The city council was not scheduled to approve the plan, but they were scheduled to hear an update from city planner Juilana Lucchesi.

The update, which would not have required any action from council other than to continue in the efforts to create it, would have provided an overview of the process so far, including public engagement efforts and results, development of the overall vision and each element included, as well as potential options for grant funding.

Public commenters spoke out against proposed land uses in the project, and were fast to slam the plan. 

"I am one of the people who are appalled by it [the General Plan)," said Troika St. Germain. "The way it is written, you can have a six story building next to a 100-year-old house ... there is no infrastructure for the way its drawn up."

Betty Kreeger expressed concerns regarding the city's public notice system, and claimed it is flawed since it only includes permanent residents of the city, and not long term or permanent renters in the area. "It addresses only notifications to owners, not tenants," she said.

Mark Miyoshi spoke out against the potential for rezoning land used for agricultural production within city limits. "This plan seems to be taking out productive agricultural lands with no consideration of replacing or moving them," he said. "We have people here making a living from agricultural efforts and we need them, no matter how small they are – we need those folks."

4th of July Fireworks

Several people expressed concerns over the decision to move the annual Fourth of July fireworks display to Shastice Park this summer. 

"I live on Jefferson, up the hill, and I know all the dry fuel in my area," said Doris Moss. "(It is) amazing how thick it is  ... it would only take one spark to explode our area. People would lose their property and some could lose their lives because there wouldn't be enough roadway in time to evacuate."

Michael Williams suggested that the fireworks display be held on New Year's Eve, rather than the Fourth of July in the heat of summer.

"It's the perfect time to have fireworks and not have them worried about," Williams said.

Want to provide your input?

The meeting and all public comments can be heard by visiting the city's website at: https://mtshastaca.gov/.

Information related to the General Plan 2045 can be found at: https://mtshastaca.gov/planning/general-plan-2045/ 

The continued meeting will be held via Zoom on April 19 at 5:30 p.m. and will allow more than 100 participants.