1. Calling the Roll.
Mayor Euille called the meeting to order and the City Clerk called the roll. All the members of Council were present.
2. Public Discussion Period.
(1) Van Van Fleet, 26 Wolfe Street, spoke of the Beachcomber Restaurant opposite Chadwicks, noting that when he was president of Old Town Civic Association in 2006, they thought adaptive reuse of the building was the right way to go. He said the building has been languishing there for the past six years and now it has become the model for demolition by neglect. He said he understands the City has been coming up with an RFP for the building to lease it out as a restaurant, and he cautioned that there are other uses of that building, such as office use. By leasing the building, they will not get the full value, so the building should be sold and put the money back in the open space fund.
Staff was asked to report to the City Manager and to Council on the comments and suggestions that were made during the recent waterfront walk, for staff to provide an update on the status of the Beachcomber, and what the staff's thinking is right now on the building to have a discussion on whether it wants to be the landlord or whether they want to sell it outright.
(2) Bill Hendrickson, 304 E. Sprig Street, said that three years ago, Council approved the urban forestry master plan, a plan to increase tree planting and care in the City. Unfortunately, Council has failed to take any concrete actions to implement the plan, and it is disappointing. He said the tree canopy has declined significantly over the past decade or so, tree planting and care is one of the cheapest and most effective means of improving public health and the environment, and the City does not appear at this time to consider trees as an investment. The City needs to change its mindset and think of tree planting and care as an investment that more than pays for itself and needs to direct the Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities to take it seriously and develop a practical plan for change.
Mayor Euille invited Mr. Hendrickson to attend a Mayor/Manager meeting with staff to talk about the issue.
(3) Poul Hertel, 1217 Michigan Court, said on the Beachcomber, he would urge Council to not just throw it away immediately, as it is an opportunity to incorporate it into a holistic waterfront park experience in the waterfront plan. Mr. Hertel said on trees, he couldn't agree more, especially in light of the experiences Council approved the cutting down of 100 mature trees on James Bland property and the same day it adopted the tree plan. Mr. Hertel said he hoped they could turn a corner and have a more thoughtful dialogue between the City and citizens, especially in view of a pattern, which he demonstrated last month. He said the same thing happened with the Potomac Yard Metro EIS deliberations. He asked for it to be advertised and it never was. He said he has yet to receive an apology from the City staff regarding last months activity.
REPORTS OF BOARDS, COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES
ACTION CONSENT CALENDAR
3. SPECIAL USE PERMIT #2011-0068