Friday, November 14, 2008

Looking back to the old council

Here are two recent stories that relate to the old Mesa City Council and the decisions that colored their past.

One story is more positive. A coffee shop has now taken the place of the old Venchell donut shop at the corner of Main and Country Club. You may recall that the donut shop was in the middle of Mesa's sign controversy because the owner was allowed to keep his old signs which were grandfathered in, but when he went to switch to new signs of the same size, he was prohibited.

It was these types of run ins with small business and larger gaffes like the Bailey's brake shop issue that ultimately led people to belive that Mesa was not a friendly place to do business. As people start to set up shop around town and we are becoming a destination for new businesses, hopefully the image of Mesa being a bad place to do business can by put to bed.

The other story is more negative. There is a battle about to take place over a 3 acre piece of property in the Superstition Springs area. Under pressure from some neighbors, the old council voted in 2001 to place limitations on the property preventing it from being an auto dealership. The property woner, an adjacent auto dealer, would like the council to reconsider this decision. The Mesa City staff has said that an auto dealership appears to be the only viable use for the site. However, some of the council is clinging to the old vote, believing that they should respect the 2001 decision.

It wasn't too long ago that Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert were clamoring to offer millions sales tax incentives to lure dealerships into their cities. Now, someone wants to open a dealership, adjacent to other dealerships, without tax incentives, and there is a question on if Mesa should allow it. Bear in mind, this is not the middle of some neighborhood. The property is clearly going to be commercial in nature, and the people who live near it are already used to having dealerships in the area. I'm sure they would prefer that the property was used for restaurants or something more pleasant, but the reality is that no one wants it for a non-dealership purpose.

The old council was probably right in their decision to place limitations on the project back then. However, seven years later, this decision should be revisited and the new council should be able to make the decision for themselves.

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