The expectation was that the next step in the development of the Union Square Campus – which was continued from the Feb. 16 meeting – would be approved at the Tuesday, March 16 City Council meeting, but it wasn’t.
The proposed project is for a mixed-use development with approximately 250 apartments built over ground floor retail and a seven-level parking deck.
Instead, by a 5-to-4 vote, the City Council continued the item until the Tuesday, April 6 meeting.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan voted for the continuance along with Councilmembers Goldie Wells, Michelle Kennedy, Yvonne Johnson and Sharon Hightower.
Vaughan said that she was requesting the continuance, so the City Council could hold a work session on the proposed development plan on Tuesday, April 6 and then vote to approve it later that evening at the public forum meeting.
Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann said, “I see no reason to postpone this item. We have a full package of information and they have been working on it for over a year.”
Vaughan said, “I’d like to hear a little bit more information about the developer.”
Hoffmann said, “Are you questioning the work of the Redevelopment Commission and staff.”
Councilmember Justin Outling said, “I’m concerned about the prospect of a delay.” Outling said that delaying the project could affect the interest rates.
City Manager David Parrish, who usually stays out of council discussions, said, “I know they have some flexibility. It can possibly wait until the first meeting in April, but it can’t wait any longer than that.”
He said that there was some risk involved in delaying the approval even three weeks.
Hoffmann said, “I’m not willing to take those risks.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower noted that some councilmembers were always talking about the need to have more work sessions and now they were objecting to a work session. She said, “We should at least have the work session and then vote on it the first meeting in April.”
Councilmember Goldie Wells said, “I’m concerned I don’t want to cause a delay in the project. I hear a little angst in David’s voice and that is what makes me concerned about it.”
Wells added, “We usually have the work session before they get on the agenda.”
Following the vote, the City Council will hold a work session on April 6 on an item that was on the agenda for approval at the Feb. 16 meeting.