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City Council met on the evening of U.S. Army Sergeant Kevin Ramon Dunn Day, Monday, August 8, 2011, before a packed house full of Dunn family members, City employees, anti-Veolia troops and a smattering of opponents of the Dominick’s police outpost. The full chambers, plus a lengthy discussion on budget priorities, lent heaviness to the evening, but not enough to outweigh the joy and honor clearly seen in Sgt. Dunn and his family. No fewer than 15 family members surrounded the honoree after he received a framed copy of the proclamation, and beaming members of VFW saluted him.
Alderman Delores Holmes, Fifth Ward, later thanked the Mayor for agreeing to honor Sgt. Dunn. “I think that is something we need to do more of,” she said, adding that service to our country should be recognized. Mayor Tisdahl thanked Sgt. Dunn’s mother for telling the City about his service. If the City knows of such extraordinary service, it will be honored by City and citizens alike – Sgt. Dunn received an extended ovation from all present.
There was more to the evening than honoring the sergeant, however. Liquor at D&D Foods, more work on the Civic Center, canine day care, and zoning approval for a new 550-seat performance space and 1026 Davis Street all were approved by the six aldermen present, and a sign at Office Depot will get a second chance.
D&D Finer Foods at 825 Noyes St. requested adding liquor to its list of finer food offerings. Under the current ordinance, D&D’s $5,000-a-year Class V liquor license (which gives some indication of how many classifications there are in the City code) allows only beer and wine. Rather than create a new classification, staff recommended amending the current Class V to allow the sale of liquor in grocery stores. Council introduced the measure without much comment other than Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, reminiscing about the departed Matt Nevada’s on Asbury Avenue, owned by the same family that owns D&D.
A new zoning classification is needed for “domestic animal daycare centers,” according to staff. Currently, canine daycare fits rather uncomfortably within “retail uses.” Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, asked about minimum standards within the code, saying that there was no indication of square feet per animal required. She also called for a designated outdoor area for walking dogs. Ald. Rainey agreed. The measure was introduced without further debate, but the committee expects minimum standards to be added before final passage next meeting.
A new 550-seat live music venue with attached restaurant may be coming to 1026 Davis St., the current home of Tom Thumb. Council passed the major variations needed, including increased building height and zero setback rear lot line, in order to give the project a legislative green light. Council then suspended the rules to approve the variances immediately.
Zoning classifications struck again, however, as Ald. Rainey asked why the project fell under the classification of “cultural facility.” Steve Griffin, the City’s director of community and economic development, said the presence of a fixed stage made it a cultural facility. “I think we ought to start looking at these [classifications],” said Ald. Rainey.
The proposed sign on the Office Depot on Green Bay Road, rejected by the Sign Review and Appeals Board (SRAB) as being 11 inches too high on the Green Bay side and 5 feet, 6 inches too high facing Jenks Street, will be appealed to the Planning and Development Committee. Under City ordinance, when an appeal is filed the committee may either uphold the SRAB’s decision or agree to hear the appeal. Ald. Fiske moved agreement with SRAB and rejection of the appeal, but Alds. Holmes and Rainey disagreed.
The location was the key. “… especially on Green Bay Road. I definitely want to hear their appeal,” said Ald. Holmes. As a result, Office Depot’s appeal will be heard on Sept. 26 by the Planning and Development Committee, over Ald. Fiske’s “no” vote.
City Clerk Rodney Greene then read an announced line-up change for AT&T U-Verse customers. Those wondering what would become of Nicktoons wondered no more after Monday’s meeting.
Citizen comment presented a full roster of City employees and their supporters protesting efforts to privatize City services. Examples cited included poor night janitorial service at the Library since it was switched to a private company, and the prospect of less efficient and careful snow removal. That debate will continue throughout the budget season.