With the day to day routines of working inside this pandemic Council resumed it’s normal scheduled meeting routine with two meetings each in June and July. This also included rescinding the temporary emergency powers granted to the Mayor during the early days of the pandemic. (More on that below). The agendas remained light.
Highlighted items of business included:
- Zoning Change for U-Haul to replace Front Room Furniture
- Emergency Mayoral Actions
- CARES Act Local Community Funds
Zoning Change for U-Haul to replace Front Room Furniture
This pandemic has been tough on residents and businesses alike, so when I learned a local U-Haul franchisee was looking to expand and relocate their operations into Springdale it was a ray of light. They were looking to move into the existing Front Room Furniture, build it out as an indoor self storage facility as well as corporate offices (~30 positions) as well as a truck pickup and drop off location. In order to accommodate these uses the business was requested an update to the planned usages for that location to allow the self storage as and to allow up to 8 of their trucks to be visible from the abutting highway.
The business was willing to screen the parking spaces to the West and East (which would be in addition to the natural hill already in place) to protect the view from the parking lot from the neighbors. Notably this space is directly next to the Kroger manufacturing plant which has semi trailers and loading docks to the East and the highway to the North.
I was both surprised and disappointed by the resistance (or lack of support) by the Administration and rest of Council to allow a few of these commercial vehicles to be part along the highway. I was the lone voice of support for this change to allow to allow the business to join our community. We are talking about visibility from the highway where directly West there are semi-trucks and a manufacturing plant, across the highway semi trucks and junk removal trucks, and to the East a large retail parking lot. The area was rezoned to allow self storage but not to allow the parking along the highway, so U-Haul was not able to complete its move to Springdale.
Emergency Mayoral Actions
To best accommodate continuing administrative needs during the Covid-19 pandemic City Council granted temporary emergency powers to the Mayor to allow him to take some limited actions that would normally require prior Council approval.
Some items were initially enacted by Administration through the emergency powers then when Council reconvened reviewed and modified or codified. For example the Mayoral Order 2020-1 that addresses outdoor dining eased restrictions on restaurants that wanted to offer this option to allow them to better space tables and guests.
CARES Act Local Community Funds
As part of the Federal CARES Act ~$25 Million has been allocated to Hamilton County to distribute to local communities to defray some of the costs associated with the pandemic. Springdale’s initial share has been allocated (~$261,913 based on the same formula used to allocate local government fund distributions from the State) and is in process of being assigned to various needs in the City for things such as sanitation of shared facilities (such as office space and the community center), some specialized emergency response equipment, and technology solutions to allow the City to maintain services if the offices have to close. More on this as the spend is finalized.