The Corsicana City Council rejected two alcohol requests at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

The first request was an appeal from Van and Gaby Neason, to allow alcohol to be served at their rental hall at 301 E. 3rd Ave. The business is located in the former Whiteselle’s building.

Several residents and Police Chief G.M. Cox spoke out against the granting of a variance in that case, saying that there have been acts of violence in the past, and that unruly behavior is not well-regulated by the owners and renters. The Neasons spoke on its behalf, arguing that they’ve made improvements to the property to contain rowdy crowds with fencing, and the rental agreement calls for renters to hire security if they charge for admission and serve alcohol.

“It’s a place you can rent,” Van Neason told the council. “It’s not a private club.”

The council rejected it unanimously.

The second request was for a variance to the alcohol ordinance from the owners of the Tiger’s Den, at 1921 S. 45th St., to be allowed to sell beer and wine within 1,000 feet of a school. The Tiger’s Den is near Corsicana High School.

Speaking out against that request were half a dozen residents, and Corsicana Superintendent of Schools Don Denbow.

“We feel like this is a necessary ordinance, and should remain as it is,” Denbow told the council.

Also speaking against its approval were Alvis Reeves, of Impact Corsicana, and Marc Smith with Landmark Baptist Church.

“You said you’d keep it away from schools, churches and daycares, but you keep bumping it up,” Smith said. “C’mon people.”

Speaking on behalf of her clients, attorney Sarah Keathley argued in favor of the variance, saying that the owners need the alcohol sales to compete with other convenience stores. She said the store is currently closed for renovations and repairs.

The council also voted unanimously to deny that variance. The final vote was met with a burst of applause from the audience of about 60 people.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jacobs@corsicanadailysun.com



CITY COUNCIL MEETING BRIEFS

Downtown overlay changes proposed

The downtown district’s overlay, which are merely an additional level of rules for downtown, have been changed once again, this time to allow some outside displays of merchandise — up to 32 square feet. The outside displays can be bigger, under the proposed rules, if the merchandise is outside-related stuff, such as lawn mowers or yard art. Another change would allow night and weekend parking on specific streets, with a permit.

The overlay will come before the council for a vote at the June 3 meeting.

Downtown buildings already violating the rules won’t be required to conform immediately. However, if a property owner changes something on a building, the new changes have to conform to the new rules. Unchanged, older parts of buildings won’t fall under the rules.



Non-profits request funding

Representatives from a series of charities and non-profit agencies requested city assistance in the next budget, including the Navarro County Association of Disabled Citizens, which wants help to buy a van; Navarro County Animals at Risk, which sought a grant to continue its low-cost and free spay/neuter program; Project Flag at Bunert Park is seeking a concrete walkway from the street to the flags; Single Believers Ministry wants help to beautify and restore Woodlands Cemetery; Corsicana Emergency Corps requested funding to continue its work on traffic and crowd control; Weather Radar Systems, which provides early warnings for bad weather, asked for continuation of its funding; The Navarro County Expo board asked for continued support; Child Advocates of Navarro County requested help for abused and neglected kids; and the Lakes Region MHMR Center asked for help, as well.



Zoning change approved

Although already rejected by the city council once, a plan to build some duplexes off Mamie and Gorman was finally approved by the city council Tuesday, with one slight alteration. Instead of approving multi-family zoning, the council approved duplex zoning on the four lots owned by Don Boyd. Boyd has eight lots that are on Mamie, Brillhart and Gorman, just off North Beaton. Four are already zoned multifamily, and he is putting two triplexes on two of those lots. He was requesting multifamily for four other lots that were zoned for single-family residences. The council did an on-the-spot rezoning to duplex zoning.

The measure passed with three votes to two. Council members Ruby Williams and Stephen Andrews voted against the rezoning.



County emergency truck covered

The Office of Emergency Management got approval for a carport for the county’s Mobil Operations Center, a large RV-style command center, that will be parked at the county jail. Also approved was the use of a metal storage container to hold supplies for a future crisis. It will be behind the carport, closer to the jail. The city’s ordinances normally forbid carports and metal sheds.



Library fees changed

The council approved canceling the out-of-county user fees, and changed the after-hours rental of the library room to a flat $10 an hour.



Interurban car progress slows

City Attorney Terry Jacobson reported that work seems to have slowed on the reconstruction of the city’s Interurban rail car, currently at a shop in Alabama. He recommended that the council set a specific date for the car’s completion, or go pick it up and complete the work here.



Council discusses franchise fee

In a work session prior to the regular council meeting, the Corsicana City Council discussed the possibility of increasing the Atmos gas franchise fee 1 percent over the current 4 percent, but only briefly. Mayor C.L. “Buster” Brown said he’s changed his mind and is now opposing the increase.

“I’ve kind of had a change of heart,” Brown told the council. “I didn’t realize gas prices have gone up as much as they have.”

Three council members would be needed to bring it to a vote in a regular meeting, he said.



Williams and Wilson sworn in

Council woman Ruby Williams and Tom Wilson were sworn in again as council members. Wilson won the May 10 election, and Williams had no challenger for her seat. The results were officially canvassed, as well.



Williams named pro tem

Ruby Williams was reappointed as mayor pro tempore by Mayor C.L. “Buster” Brown.



Andrews requests trash assist

Stephen Andrews, precinct 3, asked that residents participating in the pilot trash pickup program bring their bins in from the curb after the trash has been emptied. Resident Diana Rawlins pointed out that all rubbish must be within the bin with the lid closed.

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