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Roberto said there was nothing wrong with the idea of a performing arts center, but asked Perkins to consider the class differences between those who spoke in support and those who spoke in opposition. Those who spoke in suppor appeared to be more affluent.
Of the research and recommendations from the task force, Roberto said, "these numbers are probably flawed but the process is deeply flawed."
He said that the democratic process had been subverted by attempting to bypass the voters, and that the mayor was engaging in class warfare for the benefit of the wealthy.
After the speakers, the council voted on Wade's motion to have a bond referendum in November. The motion passed 7 to 2 with Perkins and Councilmembers Marikay Abuzuaiter, Yvonne Johnson, Nancy Vaughan, Kee, Matheny and Wade voting in support. Councilmembers Nancy Hoffmann and Dianne Bellamy-Small voted in opposition.
After the vote Perkins said that his vote with the majority means that he now has the option to bring the item up again for reconsideration at the next two meetings, and he has consistently voiced his support of moving forward on limited obligation bonds without a referendum and has been a dogged proponent of GPAC in general.
Perkins suggested that the council might reconsider the item between now and next month's meeting. Wade will have vacated her council seat to take her seat in the North Carolina state Senate by then, and Tony Wilkins will be serving in her place.
In other business, the Greensboro
planning administration again demonstrated that they are out of touch when they recommended denial of a request that had been approved by the Zoning Commission for property at 3411 and 3501 Groometown Road. The council approved the rezoning 7 to 1 to 1.
Bellamy-Small voted against the rezoning and Vaughan was recused because her husband, Don Vaughan, was representing the applicant, who wanted the largely undeveloped area rezoned for retail.
The applicants, Gene and Betty Petty, had overwhelming support of the neighborhood, even though the planning staff had said the use was incompatible with the surrounding area. The Zoning Board's decision had been appealed and one speaker at the council meeting opposed rezoning the ruling because of vague concerns about traffic and the effect on a nearby park.
The council also approved allocating $75,000 to explore the feasibility of a joint university campus downtown. The first phase of the proposed project would involve an 80,000 to 120,000 square feet building. The Gateway University Research Park, another joint university project, already has over 100,000 square feet of available space.