GC Horizons at the Plymouth Common Council

Pitchforks and Torches were out at the Council Meeting

It was a very disheartening meeting of the Plymouth Common Council this past week. What should have been a relatively easy vote for the council, acting on the Plymouth Plan Commission‘s recommendation to rezone property for Garden Court’s GC Horizons project, went nowhere because of misunderstandings, miscommunications and emotional responses. The arguments at the plan commission meeting, some of them not much more than mudslinging, were apparently repeated over the last week, inundating the council with calls, texts and emails. The Plan Director, Ralph Booker, was not allowed to make his presentation nor present the recommendation of the Plan Commission. With no discussion, a motion to deny the rezoning was made, seconded and passed 4 to 2.

Some of the comments from the board after the vote were difficult to hear. It was said that this wasn’t the right location… This site was found after a year of searching, because the council voted down the site we presented last year. We vetted a dozen sites, some turned down by the City in pre-discussions and some because property owners were unwilling to sell or unable to make a decision to sell. This was a good site, following the Comprehensive Plan in a transitional neighborhood, adding apartments and single family homes in an existing neighborhood with apartments and single family homes.

From Ali Riza Kukuk on LinkedIn

The project was conflated with the motels on the north side of town, but not as a solution… just a spreading of the problem. Paraphrasing one statement made, “We (City, Council) should be directing our funds and efforts towards the motel issue instead of this project.” This is a specious argument since Garden Court has not requested any funds from the City. This project would bring in $14MM in outside investment to the community and put a new property on the tax rolls, maybe delayed by an abatement, but still, a property paying taxes above the current farmland rate. There is nothing preventing the City from investing in a different motel solution. These are different projects!

The volunteer Garden Court board stepped up to the challenge of helping with the housing problems in Plymouth with this project. They were encouraged by IHCDA, providing training and offered $14MM in capital investment. It is not the total solution, but it would have been a great first step. Hopefully, the effort hasn’t been completely in vain, but like me, many involved are feeling unappreciated and beaten down. Garden Court’s name has been dragged through the mud throughout these discussions. These were undeserved attacks on their reputation. We’ll see how or if this moves forward. Disheartening…

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