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Danville City Council – LIVE! (7/5/16)

SouthsideCentral was LIVE! at Tuesday’s Danville City Council meeting. This article is now complete, so enjoy the most comprehensive recap of the meeting.

Here’s the preview of the night that we published in the original version of the article.

  • John Gilstrap will open the meeting for the first time as mayor.
  • Gary Miller will do the prayer and lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • The public comment section is next.
  • The minutes will be approved.
  • Final votes will be taken on economic development incentive grant money and an authorization to issue bonds for capital improvement plans (just an authorization, nothing more).
  • New business is mostly zoning cases tonight. The only one that will be contested will be Dr. Jeff Smith’s application for a Special Use Permit to move his veterinary clinic from the county to a lot next to the old Servitex laundry on Piney Forest Rd. There’s significant opposition from some of the neighbors in the residential area around the spot, but they really don’t have a legal case to block it. We’ll have to see what their appeal to emotion will do to the council.
  • The final part of new business is to reestablish term limits for the Danville Industrial Development Authority.
  • We’ll wrap it up with the around the horn section then move to the work session.

Now let’s get to what happened.

Dr. Jeff Smith has brought a lot of people to support his proposal.

We’ve got 2 Planning Commission members here, Harold Garrison & Tommy Dodson. That’s almost more than attend a regular Planning Commission meeting. Heh. Rob Melton’s in the back and Sharon Bohannon & Dolores Reynolds are on the front row.

We’re underway. After the prayer & Pledge of Allegiance, there’s a special proclamation that wasn’t on the agenda.

Mayor John Gilstrap reads a proclamation for outgoing Mayor Sherman Saunders and also presents him with a plaque.

Sherman Saunders was surprised about this and is deeply honored. He makes a speech at the podium.

Theresa Carter is the only one in the public comment section. She talks about the deteriorating conditions at White Rock Park. She also says she busted someone dumping tires there today.

After interacting with Theresa Carter for years on Facebook, it was a pleasure to finally meet her tonight. She’s an amazing person and I just love her spirit.

After that, the old business flies through. The cases from the Planning Commission are up next. We move to the big one of the night, Jeff Smith’s proposal to move his vet clinic to Piney Forest Rd. in a new building.

Jeff Smith makes his presentation and uses 9 of his 10 minutes. Just like at the Planning Commission, his presentation preemptively knocks out the opposition’s arguments with cold hard facts. Jeff Smith gets it, folks.

Rob Melton is up first with his opposition.

Melton’s demeanor is much more low-key than previously. He makes his case against the vet clinic and this time, Melton finally gets my respect. He doesn’t show any bluster as he just talks about his opposition reasons.

Paulette Dean is up next and she speaks about her high opinion of Jeff Smith.

Frances McMillan is up next.

McMillan lives on South Woodberry Ave. and has been there 54 years. She brings up her same points that she used at the Planning Commission meeting, but they’ve all been invalidated already. She gets a completely dead reaction from council members as her three minutes run out.

This speaker never identified herself and nobody asked her to.

Our next speaker plays an audio of barking dogs recorded at Hollywood Pets on Tuesday morning. Hollywood Pets doesn’t have the sound abatement fencing and treeline that Smith will have, so her audio doesn’t really prove anything. She speaks against the proposal and gets the same dead reaction.

Sharon Bohannon speaks in favor of the vet clinic. SouthsideCentral hearts Sharon Bohannon. Heh.

Brenda Bowman is up next and speaks highly of Jeff Smith & his proposal

Chatham Animal Clinic owner Dr. Paul Ervin speaks in favor of Jeff Smith’s proposal.

And that’s the end of the public hearing. Alonzo Jones makes the motion to approve and the debate starts. Fred Shanks notes Smith has done his homework. This will pass as I’ve identified enough “Yes” votes.

And indeed it does with a clean 9-0 vote. Everything else passed as well. In the around the horn section, everybody congratulates Earl Reynolds as the new Deputy City Manager. James Buckner announces that his proposal for the trolley service between Averett and downtown. Gary Miller says that he came up with the idea six years ago (when Buckner was wearing diapers, bitches!). Heh. On to the quick work session.

There’s no official seating assignments in the work session, but here’s a look at the changes. Lee Vogler moved over to the other side of the table and left Fred Shanks out by himself on the far right. Madison Whittle took Buddy Rawley’s old seat. Sherman Saunders took John Gilstrap’s position at the table.

City Council members are also appointed by the Mayor to serve on various boards and commissions. The only thing newsworthy out of that discussion was about the committee that recommends the appointments to the other boards and commissions. The chairman of that three-person committee has traditionally been the vice mayor, so Alonzo Jones got that chairmanship. Since Jones was already on the committee, Mayor John Gilstrap could have simply left the committee as it was by just swapping Gary Miller (the former vice mayor) out with Jones. But he didn’t, as he appointed James Buckner to the committee. That leaves Gary Miller on the outside. Let’s be real, that wasn’t an accidental oversight.

We move to a closed session for economic developments, and we’re going to call it a night here. They’re still doing the final around the horn section after the closed meetings for now, and it’s time to get that changed. John Gilstrap, are you listening?

Thanks for reading the most detailed recap of Tuesday’s Danville City Council meeting. It’s only here on SouthsideCentral!

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