The sixth new business topic out of seven presented by the Mr. Griffin is titled Consideration of Approval of Resolution 12-A-74. Sounds like the other resolutions the Council was asked approve except for Mr. Griffin’s comment ‘this has to do with the hotel.’ Mr. Griffin said that resolution 12-A-74 is basically a bookkeeping entry to return $3,500 to the Economic Development Reserve Fund. The same $3,500 approved on August 27, 2012, as an incentive “… to a privately owned nationwide hospitality investment firm that specializes in the acquisition and management of midscale, select and limited service hotel properties. …” (Source: ABL Hotel LLC) Resolution 12-A-74 was approved without fanfare, a question, or an apology from the Council for it over exuberance of a ‘developer’ who has “purchase the old, now vacant, Ambassador Inn”. The Council held no closed session to privately discuss with the power brokers and the Economic Development Director how they were snookered again as they were with the paint recycler.
Earlier the Council approved Resolution 12-85. The first ‘bookkeeping’ resolution of the two approved. This resolution “[r]elinquish[ed] the Main Street Solutions Grant in the Amount of $299,004 … Closing Out the Grant Project.” In common English language, the Main Street Solutions Grant is taxpayers’ money for the Zene Street project (or boondoggle depending on one’s point of view) that will be returned to the State. Seems investors (tenants) are unwilling to put their own money at risk in the Zene Street Project. The City Manager was requesting authorization to preemptively return the unspent taxpayers’ money to the State and closed the project before the State asked the status or for their money. Mr. Kearny abstained from voting for or against the resolution even though he was advised only committee members could do so.
New Business started out with a presentation by Mr. Pete Burgess updating the Council and the public on the status of the future Farmers Market. Note: I have worked with Mr. Burgess helping to build the raised plant beds at Clarke Elementary School; a great idea of Mr. Burgess’ that fully funded by Farm Bureau. When Mr. Burgess first presented the idea for a farmers market at a County Commissioners’ meeting it was just that a farmers market. A place, where local farmers could market the fruits of their labor directly to the local community. Over time and I suspect due to a lack of private (investors) money the farmers market has morphed into$500,000 community center and farmers’ market building, built using grants (taxpayers’ money). It seems the City and County would want to test market the idea before spending $500,000 for a building.
The Council meeting opened with a public hearing regarding two separate zoning issues. The first of the public hearings concerned a tract of land on the corner of Oxford Road and Ruin Creek Road. Apparently a buyer wants (or wanted) to locate a business on the corner that has been undeveloped for 30 years or more. Mr. Griffin open this topic saying a verbal withdrawal for the zoning change had been made although without a written withdrawal, therefore the Council had to approve or deny the re-zoning request. Ms. Dunston stated that the rezoning request should be rejected because the zoning change ‘did not fit the neighborhood’s look.’ There was no one speaking in favoring the re-zoning and there were four speakers opposed to the re-zoning. Each of the four speakers made a clear and unified objection to the re-zoning request saying a business at that location is not beneficial to their neighborhood. I have talked about the various projects that have lacked private money to make them happen now here is a place that private money could make something happen and to the betterment of a community at large. If those who oppose re-zoning this tract of land would collectively purchase the track, then request it be re-zoned as a park or sanctuary they could protect their overall interest in their neighborhood blocking any future investor’s intention to place a business at that location.
Dr. Wesley Crews, a minister, made an impassioned request for city leaders to forbid sagging pants. He said no one is doing anything about the sagging pant issue. I thought that standards of dress where the purview of the home or church not the government’s unless inappropriate i.e. nudity. If ‘parents’ are unwilling to set appropriate dress standards and minister are unable to educate their flock, why would we think government can establish dress standards? Councilperson Rainey’s comment about dress standards in the ‘60s reminded me of two great issues of that time, lady’s skirt lengths and men’s hair length. I remember watching school administrators compel young ladies to knell verifying her skirts length was appropriate. I had to stand so the tops of my ears could be inspected verifying my hair length was appropriate. I agree a man’s pants should not be sagging. I also think there are better uses of government’s limited resources than to initiate a Federal case over sagging pants.