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City Hallways (March 8) A bit of Elmwood on Jefferson

Making Jefferson more like Elmwood and Hertel

What do Elmwood  and Hertel avenues have that Jefferson Avenue doesn't? One answer might be available parking spots, but that's not the answer we're looking for here. It's a bit more bureacuratic than  that. A Special Zoning District.

These special districts create another layer of bureaucracy and also another layer of protection, depending on one's vantage point, with the Common Council taking a larger role in what gets developed on these commercial strips.

Council President Darius Pridgen, who represents the Ellicott District,  is proposing a Jefferson Avenue Special  Zoning District from Clinton to Genesee streets.

He says that strip is  getting threatened by over development and expansion of bars, taverns  and the like.

Additional regulation is needed, he said in a resolution.

Drilling  deeper into Issues Poll

As we said yesterday, the top three city issues among nine in the City Hallways issues poll were schools, then jobs, then guns/violence .

Schools was cited by almost 40 percent of the 94 voters as the most important issue facing the city. Not only did schools  get the most  No.  1 mentions, the  37 No. 1  votes was  more than three  times  the next most cited No. 1 issue,   racism/racial  inequalities,  mentioned  by 11 people at their top concern. What's more,  some who didn't mention schools first helped vote it the second biggest concern of the nine issues listed. Unemployment got the most votes as both the third and fourth most important issues.

At the  other end, taxes/city spending got  the  most mentions as the  least most important concern of the nine issues mentioned.

Some demographic info on the poll: About 62 percent of poll  participants provided demographic information. That data showed about 43 percent  over 50 years old, 43 percent  31 through 50, and 14 percent  30 or under.

Seventy-nine  percent  identified themselves as  white, 19  percent as African-American, and 2  percent as other. The votes cast for racism/racial inequities as the first or second most important issue appear roughly equal to the non-white vote.

Sixty percent identified as male; 40  percent female.

Neighborhood  News

The agenda for the March zoning board meeting  was released yesterday. It'll be 2 p.m. March 23.

Here's a few agenda items:

  • Watt's Architecture wants  to convert a church building at 467 Richmond  Ave. to a live performing  arts theater.
  • Westmont on North wants to build an assisted  living senior  complex at 279-291 North  St.
  • Carl Paladino's  Ellicott Development wants to convert a building at 66 Best.  St.,  into a medical  office.
  • Habitat for  Humanity wants  to build two  one-family homes with front  porches at 61-67 Wende St.
  • Dixon  Enterprises wants to build a three-story mixed  use building with two loft apartments on  474 Seneca St.


Calendar Items

For Today:
Council committee meetings today, starting with Civil Service and Finance in  morning, and Community Development and Legislation in afternoon.

Deep South Taco public  hearing  2 p.m., during Legislation Committee meeting. The restaurant got Planning Board approval yesterday.

Also at 2 p.m.,  Mayor Brown and Congressman Brian Higgins to announce $1 million donation to help build new Seneca Babcock Community Center.

For Wednesday:
Mayor Brown holding Community Roundtable Discussion: Where should  the city spend it federal dollars. Meeting 6 p..m.  at Hutch-Tech High School  on South Elmwood.

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