The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

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City Council, June 17

Neck and Horizon TIF Districts extended 10 years
Opposition to ordinance limiting bar and restaurant openings
Marc Knapp

Summer is here and City Council meetings are now only once a month for the next 3 months. Yesterday’s meeting was held at the Grace on the Ashley Baptist Church, on Bees Ferry Road. So little of note occurred at the meeting, it was hardly worth facing the traffic getting there.

The two most important items on the agenda was the extension of the Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) Districts – the Neck and Horizon. As the Mayor said, both TIFs were created before the recession of recent years. The severity of the recession virtually prohibited the development that was planned and hoped for. In consequence, the life of both TIFs needed to be extended to make up for the lost years. Council agreed to a 10 year extension for both.

The Neck Area Redevelopment Plan was extended from December from December 21, 2029 to December 21, 2039. The maximum amount of indebtedness remains fixed at $119 million. The Horizon Redevelopment Plan has been extended from December 16, 2033 to December 16, 2043. The public documents made no reference to the maximum amount of indebtedness.

The County has signed off on the amendments but the City has agreed to a request by County Council Chairman Pryor to set aside $500,000 for a new community center for Rosemont, a community in the Neck Area. According to the Post and Courier, the County School District has also agreed to extensions but only for 5 years for Horizon.

The City’s plan to limit opening times for new bars and restaurants on Lower King Street and the Market Street areas brought out some citizens in Citizens Participation. All were opposed to the City’s plans or called for caution. The Mayor noted that the proposal was before the Planning Commission and entailed a public hearing. We sympathize with the Mayor and Chief Mullen and share their concerns for the impact of growing bar and restaurant numbers. But the opponents of what would be a discriminatory ordinance – established bars and restaurants favored over new- have a point. Council member Alexander has publicly stated that his support for the proposed ordinance was a mistake. Maybe others are having second thoughts too.

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