The Planning Commission on Jan. 9 concluded the hearing for Steadfast’s proposed project next to Unisys. Two separate uses were proposed – a Target store on 13.4 acres and high-density housing on the remaining 10 acres. The vote was 3-1 for approval, with Commissioner Brad Morton dissenting. Commissioners Neil Lonsinger, Richard Schweinberg and Chandra Krout voted for the project. Mary Binning resigned from the commission in December and has not been replaced.
Steadfast’s representative seemed unprepared for the meeting. He said he didn’t anticipate that members of the audience would be allowed to speak. Thus, he hadn’t “arranged for any of the project’s supporters” to attend. His statement raised a question as to the number of genuine supporters the project has. On Jan. 9, 14 residents either spoke against or submitted written comments against the project, with negative remarks focused on the housing element. No resident spoke in favor of the project. By contrast, Steadfast “arranged” for 15 supporters to attend the December meeting. Steadfast’s campaign of offering residents a free lunch for listening to a one-sided sales pitch apparently didn’t generate long-term interest.
From the dais, Chandra Krout, who is Frank Ury’s commissioner, said residents shouldn’t be allowed to make public comments because the hearing had been continued from December. Some residents asked before the meeting began if they could speak during the hearing. The clerk said all speakers who wanted to comment about Steadfast’s project would be called up to the microphone when the item was heard. Krout was overruled in her attempt to prevent residents from commenting about the project.
Steadfast will present its proposal to the council on Feb. 20.