Mayor Bramson had stated at the September City Council meeting that the official vote to designate a developer for the Armory would take place in October. But at the October 17 legislative meeting no vote was taken and a designation for a developer's MOU was not on the agenda. City Manager, Chuck Strome, when asked said there was a possibility it would be on the agenda for the October 30 meeting when the Council will review a draft environmental impact statement by Forest City Residential on the City Yard which is adjacent to the Armory.
In September (see October 4, 2012 article in the Westchester Guardian) the five Democrats on City Council, led by Mayor Bramson in an advisory decision, had designated Good Profit, a farm to-table food market/ restaurant over the Save Our Armory Committee proposal for a cultural/performing arts center. Mayor Bramson has claimed each group had equal time since April to prepare their proposals and answer questions. However, Save Our Armory proponents had stated at the October Citizens to be heard that Good Profit had been in touch with City officials as early as January. Peter Parente, co-chairman of the Save Our Armory Committee, mentioned the possibility of a law suit by this Committee on WVOX the morning of the meeting.
At this same meeting at least one neighborhood was surprised to find out their efforts to stop a cabaret from being given a permit were not in vain. Mayor Bramson outlined two possible courses of action: Council could reject the application for a cabaret permit which would allow the applicant to reapply, or alternatively, could decide not to vote on the permit. The Mayor also requested an executive session before the vote was taken. After a lengthy executive session the Mayor asked for a vote to declare a negative declaration of environmental significance for Siete Ocho Siete's cabaret permit. Several council members objected. Both Councilmen Ivar Hyden and Jared Rice were not satisfied with the parking plan. Councilman Barry Fertel felt the owners had acted in bad faith by operating as a cabaret when Siete Ocho Siete had no permit. He added the neighbors were concerned about the noise at night. Both the negative designation and permit were denied. Some residents have raised questions about why Mayor Bramson was willing to extend courtesies to these owners to resubmit their plans but he had said the decision must be made in a timely fashion on the Save Our Armory proposal and this Committee was denied any further time to refine their proposal. Do we have a clear picture of the policies the Mayor is following now?
This is the second time in a week that City Council members have not followed Mayor Bramson's suggestions. At the previous Council meeting a proposal by Mayor Bramson to charge City employees to park in the City Hall parking lot had no support on Council. Does the lack of an agenda item on the Armory proposal suggest that City Council members may be weighing proposals more stringently?