Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Tuesday at Town Hall


● Mayor Knox stated that the current elected officials consulted with both the town attorney and outside counsel regarding the Hyatt Hotel Lawsuit during a closed session. He could not comment further at this time, but said more information is forthcoming.

● Five citizens voiced opposition to the Hyatt Hotel during the public comment period. Their objections included the following: disregard for Planning Board’s unanimous 10-0 decision against the conditional rezoning, previous board member “manipulated the facts” by stating that CSD would be relocating (CSD is purchasing the building), a better location is for sale behind Davidson Clinic that is zoned for a hotel/six stories, light pollution, privacy and safety for residents of Westside Terrace and Lakeside Avenue, traffic, and parking. A resident of Westside Terrace stated, “We want to live peacefully, too.”

● A resident voiced major concern regarding the proposed Watershed Ordinance Text Amendments and the lack of public notice. Ordinance “Built-Upon Area Limits” states that with the Low Density Option (single family home) “Development shall not exceed a built-upon area of 24 percent.” The resident stated that this text amendment is unfair to the nine mill home owners in the Delburg area (and other homeowners in the Critical Watershed). She would like to renovate or demolish and rebuild her 1911 home. According to the 24% impervious rule, she could only build a 100-300 square foot home with a driveway and garage. However, a developer would be allowed to buy several lots and build a master plan with 50% impervious using engineered stormwater. The resident requested that her lot be grandfathered or she be allowed more time to build before the text amendment potentially passes.

● The remaining speakers focused on using taxpayer funds for another Mobility Plan, lack of infrastructure, and the solid waste fee.

● The board unanimously approved the first “Community Dinner” to be held on The Green, possibly on Town Day (May 5th). Economic Development Manager, Kim Flemming, stated that the main course, water and tea for 500 citizens will be provided by the town at a cost of $3,500-$4,000.

● Assistant Town Manager, Dawn Blobaum, presented the board with six options for the Public Facilities Project. The board voiced unanimous support for additional police and fire space. The board then created “Option Seven” (aka PAUSE) which includes: studying the plan for 90 more days, allowing a public referendum, looking at it holistically, potentially using the current town hall for fire and police, and looking for a creative solution (potentially using an existing building) for administrative offices.

● Mayor Knox and Town Manager, Jamie Justice, addressed public concern regarding the Mobility Plan. They both stressed that the plan will address four types of transportation (pedestrian, bicycle, automobile and transit), not just walking and biking paths. Commissioners David Sitton and Autumn Michael both continued to push for synergy between the Comprehensive Plan and Mobility Plan. Michael expressed concern that we are “putting the cart before the horse” by creating the Mobility Plan first. Commissioner Matthew Fort requested that the town “put a fresh set of eyes” on mobility in the future, whereas the current firm chosen to study our mobility, Alta Planning, was the same firm that studied the town's mobility in 2013.

Quotable Moments

“It was more of a shriek--my facial expression.”
- Commissioner Sitton responds to concern that the Watershed Ordinance Text Amendments favor developers over single-family homeowners.

“To the hotel speakers: We hear you. We hear you. We hear you.”
Commissioner Matthew Fort addresses the Hyatt Hotel lawsuit.

“This is not another plan to put on a shelf.”
- Town Manager Jamie Justice acknowledges concerns about the redundancy of mobility plans.

“The perfect financial storm.”
- Commissioner Jane Campbell notes the debt-trifecta problems that could price residents out of their homes: Mi-Connection/Continuum, $15 million Public Facilities Project, and the Mecklenburg County tax revaluation.

“Our charge was limited.”
- Public Facilities Steering Committee Member, Dave Cable, states that the Steering Committee worked extensively to guide the project, but was not charged with addressing funding sources.

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