Andrea, as you'll no doubt recall, spent most of last Thursday in the City Plan Commission meeting, waiting for them to get 'round to the Lower Greenville Planned Development District discussion. During the public hearing, Andrea liveblogged this update:
Michael Davis says he does not support fee waivers "of any kind" based on his experience with Deep Ellum in the past. He says that's "asking a whole lot of staff to work for free" for the next 90 days.Six days later, over on his blog, Davis further explains his position concerning the fees and the plan itself. Read the whole thing. But here's a relevant excerpt:
It may make some people upset, but I protested the waiving of fees for businesses in this zoning proposal. We are currently in a recession and our City Planning and Development staff has experienced several rounds of layoffs. The resources are not available for such a waiver. If a bar or restaurant closes down before the process even gets voted on by City Council (and then you have eight months to get the SUP), that's unfortunate and makes me wonder if there are other factors involved and if you are using the zoning process as a scapegoat to get out of your lease. Let's do the math:Per Angela Hunt, that'll happen either next month or in February, at the latest.
The application fee is about $1,200. Does putting together $1,200 in eight months ($1,200/8 = $150) make you close down a good business? You aren't required to get a lawyer to fill out the application. Most of the successful business owners in Deep Ellum represented themselves during that area's rezoning process, and they were under the age of 30. And going forward, $1,200/24 months (the duration of most SUPs) = $50/month.
While I am Vice Chair of the City Plan Commission, I represent a district that is far less affluent than the area surrounding Lowest Greenville. Do we waive their fees as well? It's a slippery slope, in my opinion, and I sincerely hope that no fee waivers are added back in when this zoning proposal reaches City Council.