by Lisa Wilbourne
Greenville City Council Monday night rejected a proposal that could have profoundly impacted the way neighborhood concerns are expressed.
Councilor Max Joyner asked the panel to discuss changing the way appointments are made to the Neighborhood Advisory Board (NAB), the only city board comprised of neighborhood-chosen liaisons. Joyner sought to make it a council-appointed board.
Citizens in attendance overwhelmingly opposed the change, and told council the NAB would be less effective if it were council-appointed.
Neighborhood liaison Ann Eleanor told council she was coming forward not as a representative of her neighborhood, but as an individual, because the short notice of the item did not leave time for the neighborhood to meet. This sentiment was repeated by others. Adele Grier, neither a board member nor a neighborhood liaison, said she regularly attends NAB meetings and is always heard and treated as an equal. Rick Smiley talked about how the nature of the current process encourages participation by people who are not board members.
Joyner and councilor Rose Glover insinuated complaints have been made about the board not being inclusive, while Mayor Allen Thomas suggested the NAB find ways “to improve” instead of viewing itself as a “piece of fine china that can’t be touched.”
Councilor Marion Blackburn moved that all city boards and commissions be left as is, and five of the six councilors agreed. Joyner abstained from voting, though the tally was, technically, unanimous.
Chip Pennington announced a youth scholarship he is funding at Bradford Creek Golf Course.
The Chip Pennington Bradford Creek Junior Golf Foundation seeks to help disadvantaged kids learn the sport and then enter the course’s April to August junior golf program with a guaranteed amount near $3,000 per year, with the potential for increasing that amount.
The first year, the program will work with four to six kids identified by the PAL program.
Pennington has been a supporter of Bradford Creek and its golf programs since he went through the city’s Citizens Academy this past spring. During the Recreation and Parks tour, he offered to buy an accessible golf cart as a matching gift to the course.
He has since financed a pilot Bradford Creek program called “Chip and Putt” for Cypress Glen seniors, as well as sponsoring this year’s junior golf tournament.
Responding to a specific need of people who work uptown, council unanimously approved “E-tag” parking. For $150 per year or $75 for half a year, uptown residents and employees will be able to park in designated E-tag lots for an unlimited amount of time.
Staff expects to sell 220 tags, or 110% of the E-tag designated number of spots, bringing in $33,000.
The city’s Redevelopment Commission and Parking and Transportation Commission as well as Uptown Greenville have endorsed this as a way to allow for necessary longer-term parking.
Council also chose two of six potential sites for the construction of a parking deck. Both lots are on 4th and Cotanche streets. One is city-owned property, the under-used Moseley lots on the SW corner. ECU owns the other, on the NE corner. The sites will now undergo further study to determine which is most suitable.
Joyner moved for swift action, saying “If we believe in Uptown and want to reward those who work there, lots five and six are it.” Blackburn, casting the sole “no” vote, sought a one-month delay for research and gathering public input.
All six sites were ranked on the site’s ability to serve existing local businesses and leverage new development, and to meet traffic capacities and site development costs. The full report is here, beginning on page 273.
Wanting to keep work on the Pitt Street to Moye Boulevard greenway project local, Joyner voted against giving the design contract to Kimley-Horn and Associates, a Raleigh business.
City attorney Dave Holec said the city would no longer be eligible for the project’s federal grant money if a company was chosen because of a local preference.
Joyner supported Greenville-based Rivers and Associates for the work, the third of four top choices for the contract and the only local firm.
In a split vote, council denied additional time for public input on the so-called “three unrelated” occupancy standard at its Thursday meeting.
Blackburn, Calvin Mercer and Kandie Smith supported extra time. Glover, Joyner and Mitchell opposed it. Mayor Thomas broke the tie.
Joyner said the public would have plenty of time to comment later. Mitchell, seeing additional time as unconstructive, said, “I just don’t feel like [hearing from the same people I’ve heard from a lot of times].”
This discussion took place near the end of the meeting, as council reviewed Thursday’s planned agenda.
The video of the meeting is available here.
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This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 at 11:52 pm and filed under City News, Feature, News and Analysis and tagged with 3 unrelated, Bradford Creek, Chip Pennington, e-tag, golf scholarship, Greenville NC, Marion Blackburn, max joyner, mayor allen thomas, neighborhood advisory board, neighborhoods, parking, parking deck, Uptown. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.