Thursday, December 5, 2013

Council Meeting of 12/3/13 with commentary and time stamp notation. The Ball Park Meeting.

This meeting is two hours and 39 minutes long. For my previous post with my analysis of the agenda and a link to the agenda, follow this link.

I am only reporting on what I think are the high points of the meetings, so there may be things that interest some people, especially zoning issues, that I do not report on.

Public hearing:

BILL NO. BL2013-588 charges from R6 to SP zoning for properties located within the Woodland-in-Waverly Historic Preservation District at 2107, 2111, and 2115 White Avenue. This is the neighborhood in which I live and that is why this interest me. This rezoning would permit replacing of three duplexes with their six units, with eight units of single family cottage cluster development. The duplexes are "non-contributing" to the historic character of our neighborhood. Former Councilman Roy Dale is the developer of this project and speaks in favor. Four neighbors speak in opposition including Pete and Betty Horton. Pete is the most active member of our community and is the previous chairman of the neighborhood organization. He is a great guy but I disagree with him on this issue. Council member Moore defers the bill for two meetings. (See 0:22:50-038:00)

BILL NO. BL2013-595 is an amendment to the Phillips-Jackson Street Redevelopment plan and is part of the Sounds baseball park proposal. A lot of people speak in support and only three in opposition. Those in support include the influential and powerful and lots of average folks. I sampled this hearing but did not watch it all. Sharon Hurt, President of the Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnerships; Debbie Dale Mason of the Chamber of Commerce; Mark Wright, President of the Historic Buena Vista; and attorney Gregory Ramos are among those who speaks in favor.

Among those who speak in opposition is Bruce McNeilly. He makes an impressive argument in opposition giving examples of failed similar projects in other cities (1:11:17). There is a machine vote on the bills and the vote is 32 yes, 2 no, 1 abstention and 5 not voting. The two "no" votes are councilmen Glover and Tenpenny. Councilman Tygard recorded himself as abstaining. Those who did not vote include Stites, Evans, and Weiner. To view the public hearing and Council vote on this issue see time stamps 0:41:05 through 1:22:10.

The Consent agenda passes without anything being pulled.

RESOLUTION NO. RS2013-920 is not on the consent agenda. This is part of the Sounds baseball park deal and required 27 votes to pass. The vote is 30 "yes", 2 "no", 4 "abstentions" and 4 not voting.

Bills on Second Reading:

BILL NO. BL2013-593 is part of the Sounds ballpark deal. It authorizes Public Improvement Revenue Bonds by the Sports Authority.

BILL NO. BL2013-594 is also part of the Sounds ballpark deal. It approves an agreement for the acquisition of property.

There is an amendment proposed to 593 by Councilman Tygard that would have made the deal considerably better. It would require that if the accompanying proposed mixed use private development did not get built, the sounds would pay the lost tax revenue the development would have provided. Councilman Dominy does a great job explaining that if the project is built as proposed, this amendment would have no impact but the amendment protects the tax payers if the accompanying development does not occur. The vote on 593 is 28 to 7 with 1 abstention and 4 not voting. The seven "no" votes include Tygard, Grover, Standly, Claiborne, Tenpenny, Dominy and Mitchell.

To see the discussion on these two bills see time stamp 1:28:30 through 2:29:10

I have thought long and hard about the issue of the ball park and have closely followed the issue and would like to support this project. I think it is a good project, but if it is not a risky project for the tax payers, then why would the proponents oppose Tygard's amendment? Without that amendment, I could not support it, but it would be one of those difficult decision. If the proponents could make a strong argument why this is a good deal even without the amendment or why the amendment would endanger the deal, I could still be persuaded that this is a deal worth supporting. As of now however, I would have had to vote "no," if I had a vote.

Here is the Tennessean's summary of the meeting: Sounds ballpark project 'moves one step closer to reality'

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