City Councilmember Justin Outling usually begins his “Java with Justin” meetings by talking about items on the agenda for the upcoming City Council meeting.
The meetings are held at the Dolce Aroma coffee shop at 8:30 a.m. the Friday before the monthly City Council business meeting held on the third Tuesday of each month.
This month the agendas didn’t come out until Friday, so Outling was left to talk about what he thought would be on the agenda.
Outling said he expected an item on the agenda that was the result of the New Garden Road Strategic Plan, which includes a provision that for rezoning requests in the New Garden Road corridor the city will hold a public meeting inviting the neighbors to discuss the rezoning request 60 days before the request comes before City Council.
Outling had said that if this is a good thing for the New Garden Road area, then it should be a good thing for the whole city and if such a requirement was going to be made it should be citywide.
Outling said that it was a question of fairness. He said, “If it’s a good thing then everyone in the city should benefit from that good thing.”
And he added, “Or if it is unnecessary then you should get rid of it.”
However, the item is not on the agenda.
The group also discussed the proposal brought forward by City Councilmember Michelle Kennedy to take the Parks and Recreation building on Maple Street and turn it into affordable supportive housing.
It was not a popular idea with the small group at the coffee shop. Phillip Marsh said that the city concentrated negative services in East Greensboro and this would be more of the same.
Outling said that he didn’t know enough about the proposal to have formed an opinion but his concern was that the city make the highest and best use of all of its assets, including the building on Maple Street.
The downtown trolley funded by Participatory Budgeting also wasn’t popular with those present. Marsh said, “Why do you have a trolley for four blocks.”
The group discussed issues involving homeless people; the need for more jobs, the fact that other cities in the state, Winston-Salem and Durham for instance, are doing better than Greensboro at growing their economies; the NC A&T State University engineering school; panhandling and other topics.
This week there were two special guests who didn’t say much but added a good bit of age diversity by their presence. Because of the two-hour school delay, Outling’s children, Clark and Clara, attended the 8:30 a.m. meeting. They spent most of the morning sitting quietly in the back of the room until encouraged by a photographer to get in the photo.