Like Elvis, common sense has left the building at Davidson Town Hall!!!
Or maybe to be more accurate, it left the seats of Commissioners Jim Fuller, Rodney Graham, and Stacey Anderson on Tuesday night.
When the Davidson Board faced a question of allowing fellow commissioner, Brian Jenest, to recuse himself from voting on an issue directly related to a project his design firm is doing, these three Commissioners actually forced Jenest to vote after he said he had a financial interest in the vote.
Yes, you read that correctly.
These three commissioners forced a fellow commissioner to vote when he clearly said that if the issue did not pass, he could suffer a financial consequence.
aShortChronicle previously reported that Jenest planned to ask for a recusal on the redesignation of the historical area on the Westmoreland Farm property related to the Beaver Dam viewshed. Jenest's firm ColeJenest&Stone is doing the design work for the West Branch development on the same property. To his credit, Jenest followed through with that commitment.
Unfortunately, these three commissioners thought they knew more about Jenest's interests than he did and decided that he should vote against his own wishes.
Ultimately, only Commisioner Cashion showed common sense and voted to allow Jenest to recuse himself.
Start watching the tape of Tuesday's meeting at the 40 minute mark. This is minutes after the public hearing. If you want to watch the hearing, start at minute 19.
During the hearing and in the questions afterward it was clear that a significant portion of the proposed West Branch neighborhood, including the commercial neighborhood services portion, would no longer be in the historic designation if the change in historic designation was approved. The impact would be that the Historic Landmarks Commission would no longer have design approval authority over more of the proposed West Branch development. Getting that approval could have been a particularly tricky thing for the commercial area and removing that requirement has a definite benefit to Jenest's project with the Westmoreland family.
After Jenest was forced to vote, he abstained. That actually counts as a "yes" since he was not excused. The historic designation change was actually unanimously approved.
So what does all this mean???
It means to have a "conflict of interest" in Davidson, you apparently have to have wads of cash being directly stuffed into your pockets a la Pat Cannon for a majority of the Board to recognize it. Anything other than that is apparently some sort of gray area.
With all the potentially controversial development projects on the docket including the Catalyst Project and potentially a new hotel at Exit 30, that's not a place where citizens want their government to be!