DAPHNE – City Council members want to study a proposal to develop a downtown municipal-owned parcel as a commercial development before they vote on leasing the site.
The Daphne City Council will vote Dec. 20 on a request by the Daphne Downtown Redevelopment Authority to lease a 25-foot by 112-foot parcel for 50 years. The council voted unanimously Nov. 15 to table the proposal.
Councilman Ron Scott said he had concerns about the plan.
“I have some real reservations about this item,” Scott said. “I've been on the council a long time. I was here when the Industrial Development Board, we made an investment. I think long term, it's going to be good, but we've spent a lot of time and a lot of money, and we've seen no results and we're now looking at another speculative situation. I've just got a lot of issues that are going to need to be resolved before I think we allow one of our organizations that we are responsible for appointing the members, although they do have some constitutional power, to get into the real estate business.”
“Before we lease a piece of property that is a city park right now, it's going to take a lot of convincing for me to support this position,” Scott added.
Council members said the plan will be reviewed by the city Building and Property Committee at that board’s next meeting on Dec. 13 before being brought back to the City Council for a vote on Dec. 20.
Councilwoman Tommie Conaway, who is council liaison to the Downtown Redevelopment Authority, was not present at the Nov. 15 meeting. Before voting to table the lease plan, council members said they felt Conaway should be present at a discussion of the proposal.
The parcel is located at 1761B Main St. near City Hall.
According to the lease proposal, the site would be developed as a mixed-use commercial and residential development. The ground floor of the site would be a retail space, while the upper floors would be residential.
The plan would also not allow the building to be used for professional office space or any restaurant or business that allows prepared food and alcoholic beverages to be served.
Under the plan, the city would lease the property to the Downtown Redevelopment Authority for 50 years at a one-time price of $50.