GREENSBORO — The Greensboro City Council voted 7-2 Tuesday to delay until July a vote on a controversial ordinance that would set new standards for non-residential buildings.
In an unusually contentious discussion, council members argued over the merits of delaying a vote on the ordinance, which has been under discussion by city staff and the council since April.
The so-called “good repair” ordinance would adopt an inspection code designed to cover “nonresidential buildings or structures that fail to meet minimum standards of maintenance.”
The city has already held three drop-in meetings to gather suggestions and opinions from the public and businesses about the proposed ordinance.
Council Member Justin Outling, one of the ordinance’s strongest supporters, said discussions about such a law have been going on for years through different councils. To delay a vote another month would be simply putting off something that could be done now, he said.
Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson, who made the motion to continue the vote, said she had heard from 16 people with concerns about the ordinance that need to be addressed.
Several council members asked what would be accomplished during a 30-day delay. City Manager David Parrish said the city could hold weekly meetings with business groups and individuals that are interested in discussing the ordinance before a final version is written.
And while some council members said they believe businesses and the public have had plenty of time to weigh in on the ordinance, a majority of members voted to continue the vote with the stipulation that any ordinance would take effect 30 days after approval.
In other news, the council:
- Approved 8-1 its 2019-2020 annual budget. The $566.1 million budget includes a 3 cent per $100 property valuation tax increase that will pay for a larger contribution to the city employees’ retirement fund and a reduction in the amount of savings the city uses every year to cover its expenses. The budget also includes pay raises for city employees.
Outling voted against the budget.
One proposal in the budget has been delayed and may be changed at the next council business meeting in July. The city had proposed suspending the city’s premium SCAT paratransit services for the disabled after 8 p.m. and on weekends. City officials agreed to continue the service and bring a new proposal to the council in July.
- Voted unanimously to rezone a small property at 2301 Battleground Ave. The Greensboro Zoning Commission voted to rezone the land in April and opponents appealed to the council.
But residents appeared Tuesday before council to say they had worked out an agreement with the property owners and now support the rezoning.
The land, no bigger than a tennis court, is a small corner of a larger tract where a former PNC bank sits. Unlike the majority of the property, which is zoned commercial, the tiny triangle of land was zoned residential and has been left unpaved and undisturbed for 50 years.
ALB Enterprise Holdings, the new owners of the property, plans to tear down the bank. The Greensboro company owns Mythos Grill and plans to relocate the restaurant from its current Battleground Avenue location to the new site.
On Tuesday, attorney Marc Isaacson announced that the company will preserve the trees on a 25-foot buffer of land and also convey a 6-foot-wide buffer to property owner Jennifer Leung, whose Markland Drive home sits next door to the bank property.
Leung spoke to the City Council and said she now supports the rezoning.