Day Two of the City Council rules committee’s hearing on Eighth District Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller’s zoning-overlay amendment played host to fewer foes, as Germantown Community Connection (GCC) executive board members took the microphone to express support for the Chelten Plaza developers.
They cited job creation and a community cooperation agreement presented to them by Pulaski Partners as reasons why. GCC president Betty Turner began her testimony with an outline of demographic statistics of Germantown saying that the average household income was only $30,000 a year.
“It just makes sense,” Turner said. “This project will give a much need boost to the economy in Germantown.”
Later, a lone protestor clad in a bright yellow “No Dollar Tree” T-shirt took the microphone for one final plea. “Dollar Tree did not become big on Wall Street by paying people generous wages, or hiring lots of community individuals,” Thomas Sharpless testified.
Pulaski Partners, who are the developers behind the controversial Chelten Plaza project, provided the committee with their Economic Opportunity Plan – as promised during Tuesday’s hearing – along with the GCC community cooperation agreement.
Critics labeled that agreement as an outline of vague commitments signed by the developer but not by the GCC yet. The economic plan states that Pulaski Partners will make a good faith effort to provide “approximately 100 full/part-time jobs” with city residents comprising at least half of its workforce. A quarter of employees would represent minorities with nearly 20 percent of the employees being women.
During his testimony, developer Patrick Burns told council that the majority of jobs would be part-time due to the nature of retail businesses. After a brief public-comment session, the bill was moved for full Council consideration; it will be up for first reading Thursday and second reading and final passage on Dec. 1. The public will be permitted to comment.