Council Roundup: New Mint Tenant Contract Approved

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City councilors gave the city manager and city attorney the go ahead to enter into a lease with a new tenant for the now-vacant Mint restaurant location.

Councilor John Odom was the only councilor that voted in opposition.

Hanah, LLC will take over the space located at One Exchange Plaza under a new lease agreement. Allen said that he did not have a copy of the contract for the council to review, but that it would be completed soon. The city will charge $18.47 per square foot, which would increase 2 percent each year of the five year lease. Included is a five-year renewal.

The original tenant, Raleigh Restaurant Group, opened and operated The Mint restaurant, which closed in April well before its lease was up.

Read more about what happened with The Mint here.

Downtown Church Rights Noise Complaints
A Downtown Raleigh church responded to weekly noise complaints during the evening meeting of the city council.

“For a number of years now we’ve been accused of having too much noise by Glascock Street,” said Bishop William Spain a senior pastor of The Glorious Church in downtown Raleigh. Spain said that the Raleigh Police Department monitored the sound from the church for over a year and found that the church was in compliance with all noise ordinances. Spain said that they were not aware of any changes that were made to the ordinance.

Spain said that the church no longer holds weeknight service and thought that after a community meeting that things would be moving forward.

He went on to recount several incidences with neighbors and Raleigh police officers. He said that an officer interrupted a service demanding that everything stop. “He used such language as, ‘I’m tired of you people. The captain is tired of you people and the community is tired of you people,’” said Spain, adding, “It sounded racist to me.”

Councilor Eugene Weeks suggested sending the issue into the Law and Public Safety Committee meeting so that it can be discussed further. The next meeting will be held on June 26 at 9 a.m.

Public Safety Facility Consultant Hired
The city will begin contract negotiations with Burns and McDonnell to begin Phase One Threat and Security Analysis services for the proposed Critical Public Safety Facility.

The new facility will be built on a vacant, city-owned parcel on the corner of Raleigh Boulevard and Brentwood Road. The consultant will evaluate the six-acre site and develop threat and security design criteria for the conceptual design.

The facility will house the Emergency Communications Center, Emergency Operations Center and an information data center. It could also house a district police station.

Planning Commission Gets UDO Review Extension
The Planning Commission will get an additional 45 days to continue its review of the draft Unified Development Ordinance. Initially, the commission had 105 days to review the document, but members knew that it would likely take longer.

Prior to the official review process, commission members broke up into small groups to discuss possible changes to move the review along as quickly as possible.

Since March, the commission has been reviewing the document at almost all of its public meetings and at scheduled evening meetings. Unless the commission asks for another extension, it could present its recommendation to the council at the July 17 meeting.

Unlike the Planning Commission, the council doesn’t have a specified review time limit and could hold onto the UDO indefinitely before final approval.

Special Event Signage Ordinance Changed
In a seven to one vote, city councilors approved changing the law governing special event signage.

Councilor Thomas Crowder called some of the recommendations unreasonable and problematic and voted against it.

The recommendations, which were made by the Special Event Signage Task Force and approved by the Law and Public Safety Committee last week, include adding a new section of the city code defining special events on private property.

Temporary businesses would be eligible for a 20-day permit once a year and allowed up to fives signs that are no larger than 64 square feet.

Permanent businesses in non-residential areas, civic and fraternal organizations would also be allowed a 20-day permit and one sign no larger than 64 square feet.

A weekend special event permit would be valid for three days and could be obtained three times a year. The signage restrictions are the same as those of permanent business.

Special events that are held in residential areas are limited to one day, four times a year and no permit is required. There are also no signage restrictions.

The code would also allow sandwich boards to be no more than six square feet and five feet high.

Crowder said that 64 square feet would amount to a sign that is 8 feet wide and 8 feet tall. “I think that’s extremely unreasonable,” he said, adding that it would be a blight on the public right-of-way.

He also said that the five-foot-tall sandwich boards pose a safety risk.

The ordinance will be reviewed in six months and Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin said that changes could be made after that time.

The permit would cost $76.

The change was prompted by complaints from a business owner who was cited for using costumed employees to advertise her business during the Halloween season.

QR Codes Coming to Public Notice Signs
About 250 Public Notice signs will be replaced with larger signs and include Quick Reference Codes. QR Codes, as they are often called, are a popular advertising technique that when scanned by a smart phone links to a website providing more information about the product or service.

The QR Codes will be included on the signs to provide more information about the project.

The city will spend $7,500 to replace the signs.

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