A procedural note about Wednesday's Redevelopment Authority meeting ...
The seven-member RDA has final say over whether to give Tom Tousis an option to the develop the 1.5-acre lot at the corner of Washington Avenue and West Boulevard. Unlike City Council committees, which make recommendations to the full council, the RDA is a stand-alone entity because it is the legal owner of the land.
That means any developer who wants to build on authority-owned land needs approval from the RDA to proceed. In Tousis's case, he needs the RDA to grant him an option on the site before the City Council will consider his project. In other words, Wednesday's meeting is a critical vote for the controversial West Racine project and, in theory, the RDA could stop the proposal before its reviewed by the City Council.
One member of the RDA is elected. Alderman Jim Spangenberg represents the City Council on the authority. The other members are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council to five-year terms.
Members include: Spangenberg, Pete Karas, Scott Terry, David Lange, John Crimmings, Cory Mason and Robert Ledvina. The City Development department staffs the RDA.
The RDA used to have two aldermen. That requirement changed after Karas resigned his seat and the council voted to reduce the required number of aldermen on the RDA from two to one.