Council approves car dealership agreement/EDC partners with Elder Dodge for $500K

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : April 21, 2017

Group Photo
Monitor Photo/Erik Walsh
Members and friends of Elder Dodge and the Gun Barrel City EDC celebrate after Elder Dodge finalized agreements to open a location in Gun Barrel City April 19. Pictured are (front row, from left) EDC President Steven Schiff, Haydon Elder, Forrest Elder, Gun Barrel City Councilman Ron Wyrick, Gun Barrel City Councilwoman Linda Rankin, (back row, from left) Athens Steel Building Corporation contractor Keno Brown, EDC Vice President Michael Slingerland, Citizen’s Nation Bank Senior Vice President Cliff Bomen, Gun Barrel City Councilman Rob Rea, Gun Barrel City Mayor Jim Braswell, EDC board member Jim Osborne, Gun Barrel City Manager Bret Bauer and McAtee Realtor Brad Rummel.

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–The Gun Barrel City Council approved a performance agreement between the Economic Development Corporation and Elder CDJR Cedar Creek Lake, for the establishment of a Elder Dodge car dealership in the city. The performance agreement grants up to $500,000 in financial assistance, effective immediately.
During the citizen’s comments portion of the meeting, Councilman Rob Rea read from a prepared statement backing the approval of the agreement. He compared it favorably with the lost Emergicon business, pointing out that unlike the former, the car dealership would bring in sales tax revenue to the city in addition to supplying quality jobs.
In a similar move, the council accepted the skate park as a gift from the Economic Development Corporation to be part of the city’s master parks plan.
Two other pieces of business the council took up during its re-scheduled third Tuesday meeting, due to Early Voting beginning Monday concerned rezoning and replatting property. (Councilwoman Linda Rankin is running for re-election against challenger Craig Bastas. Polling will take place at City Hall.) Dusty Sherwood and Shaw Wayne sought to have their property at 633 E. Main Street rezoned from Business-2 to Single Family Detached Residential so the property could be sold to a couple who propose to open a church at the location.
Councilmen Rea and David Skains opposed the request. Skains saw it as a potential loss of sales tax revenue for the city, if not now then in the future. The property, once an auto parts and repair shop, has remained empty and dormant for a long time. Situated on the edge of the Tamarack residential subdivision, it is likely the property was once used as a church in the distant past.
Rea opposed the rezoning request because he regarded the action as “spot zoning” something he feels should be avoided by governing bodies, preferring rules made by master plans and general policies. “What if the church should fail, the city would have a residential property on Main Street,” he said. In addition, it would inhibit business development for there are many restrictions on what kinds of businesses can be operated within 1,500 feet of a church.
When the matter went to a vote, only Linda Rankin supported the rezoning request, as the rest denied the request.
The last item was tabled, as Rankin’s motion gained overwhelming support. A property owner in the county with a particular lot in the city’s Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction requested the replatting of two small properties into one lot, so he could continue to build a model home, he hopes to market and build on his 18 nearby acres in the county. The two-story structure is popularly called a “Tiny Home.” At 800-square feet and steel construction, the project is allowed by city ordinances. However, his neighbors in the Sundrift Subdivision, off Welch Lane, presented a united opposition to the possibility of developing such a neighborhood so close to waterfront cabins and lake houses.
Rea cast the sole vote favoring the replat of the two properties. Several times during the public hearing on the matter, Mayor Jim Braswell had to remind the public that the matter before the council regarded the replat not the granting of any type of business or sales activity, nor zoning ordinances.
“Just come down and look at what we’re talking about,” was repeated from those gathered in opposition, claiming Tiny Homes were going to impact the city for the worse and not the better.