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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of March 4, 2014

I began video recording the City Council in 2012, because of my desire that the City do it on their own as any modern 21st century community began doing long ago. I had people tell me that they couldn't make it to the meetings, but they would like to see what is going on. I was also told by some council members that my summaries did not truly reflect the record, so having a video/audio recording cannot be misinterpreted.

So below is the City Council meeting. With each agenda item, you can click on the links and it will take you to that specific point in the meeting. You can always drag the marker on the video display to the point in the broadcast that you are interested in seeing.

Agenda about the City Council meeting of March 4, 2014
- Go to this link if you would like more information about the Agenda items.

Highlighted Links below take you straight to that point in the video.

Invocation by Reggie Longcrier

Special Presentations
A. Presentation of FY 2014-2015 Board and Commission Work Plans. Presenters will be allotted no more than five (5) minutes to make their presentations to Council.
Board/Commission Presenter
1. Library Advisory - Board Kathy Ivey
2. Citizens’ Advisory Committee - Mike Holland - Dave Leonetti
3. Community Appearance Commission - Steve Bowman
4. Community Relations Council - Neal Orgain
5. Hickory International Council - Hani Nassar
6. Hickory Regional Planning Commission - Brian Frazier
7. Hickory Youth Council - Toni Abernathy - Dave Leonetti
8. Historic Preservation Commission - Larry Triplett
9. Parks and Recreation Commission - Tony Wood
10. Public Art Commission - Brian Frazier
11. Recycling Advisory Board - Norm Meres
12. Business Development Committee - Alan Jackson

B. Inspiring Spaces Committee Update - Presentation by Andrea Surratt, Assistant City Manager

Persons Requesting to be Heard:
Larry Pope

Consent Agenda:  

New Business - Public Hearings
1. Resolution and Order for Petition of Moretz Mills, LLC to Close a Portion of E Avenue SE. -  Re-Opening of the Public Hearing continued to this date from February 4, 2014
Chuck Hanson - Public Services Director

Skipper Smith - Owner of Catawba Paper Box - Opposes the Closing of E Avenue
Fan Smith - Opposes the Closing
Lisa Valdez - Attorney for the Smith's
Andy Rhoney - Sales and Marketing Director for CPB 
- others spoke also

John Moretz - Owner of Moretz Mills, LLC - Speaking for closing E street
Corey Gaines - Gaines Motor Lines - Trucking Consultant/Driver 
Ryan Edwards - Southeast Retirement Planners, Inc - Prospective Tenant
Ellie Bradshaw - Attorney for Mr. Moretz

Meg Locke - Owner of Hollar Crossing - wants the groups to come to an agreement
Ted Cooke - Speaks about the reality of the roads in the area and access and transition of property to future purposes.


***City Council Deliberation*** - City Council Decides to table the Public Hearing until the city Council meeting on March 18, 2014

Hound on the Meeting: - Thoughts about the Hickory City Council meeting of March 4, 2014

The issue of the evening was the Public Hearing for the Petition by Moretz Mills, LLC to Close a Portion of E Avenue SE. - On December 6, 2013, Patrick, Harper & Dixon, Attorneys at Law, presented a petition on behalf of Moretz Mills LLC, one of the property owners of property abutting a portion of E Avenue SE, requested the City to abandon a portion of this right-of-way.

This turned into the Moretz Mills Development project owned by John Moretz versus Catawba Paper Box owned by Skipper Smith. Mr. Moretz wants E Avenue closed because he is redeveloping his building and incorporating a parking lot across the street and he wants his customers to be able to cross the street without concern for traffic.

Mr. Smith's business received a Hickory Well Crafted Business Award on April 16, 2013. His business uses that street as an access road to accept (ingress) and deliver (egress) goods to his business. Currently it isn't a busy street and there are only a few trucks coming through the area per day, but he believes that this street is vital to the health of his business. This road gives them complete and direct access to Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard leading to I-40 and beyond.

Mr. Moretz's building project is very important to the revitalization of that area. He is investing $10+ million in this project and already has 11 tenants who have signed up to lease spaces.  He says he is willing to help redesign street access for trucks to use F Ave Dr SE, instead of E Ave SE.

This issue was to come before the Council back on February 4, but time was allowed for the two organizations to continue to negotiate. Staff, the Attorneys, and the Council agreed to punt the issue to tonight.

Each side brought forth new proposals on this evening during the public hearing and both sides made valid points; but there was also some rhetoric and hyperbole, as one would expect. It was clear that most of the Council was uncomfortable about making a decision on this night and both parties had expressed that they had positive proposals on the table. I think both sides expected the Council to pick their particular proposal.

The Council voted 4 (Mayor Wright, Hank Guess, David Zagaroli, and Jill Patton) to 3 (Brad Lail, Bruce Meisner, and Danny Seaver) to give these two organizations one last chance to come to an amicable agreement over the next 2 weeks.

The Hound: After listening to each side, I think that Wright, Seaver, Zag, and Patton did the right thing here. These people do need to come to an agreement. If we are going to see revitalization and the community moving forward, then we are going to have to work together on progress. There is nothing wrong with giving people every opportunity to do the right thing. If they come to an agreement, then everyone wins. If they don't, then someone's feelings will be hurt.

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