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BOC tonight: Added action items include one for special meeting on Board discipline procedures

Lakeland BOC (Board of Commissioners) members by a 3-2 vote have agreed to pursue a special called meeting to air grievances involving the BOC and MPC/DRC (Municipal Planning Commission/Design Review Commission) and possible disciplinary action.

The measure was one of three added to the BOC agenda tonight (3.12.20) by Vice Mayor Josh Roman, who said he had seven specific grievances he wanted to raise.  He said he was seeking help from fellow BOC members on setting up a meeting where those grievances could be addressed in a civil manner in the presence of a parliamentarian and an attorney with knowledge of state law which might be applicable.

Commissioner Richard Gonzales Jr. objected to the measure, saying, “We are all adults.” He added he felt matters could be handled in a regular BOC meeting.  Vice Mayor Roman disagreed, saying he believed discussing grievances against fellow BOC members at a regular meeting would conflict with the rules of procedure. The measure passed with Commissioner Gonzales and Mayor Mike Cunningham voting no.

There was no date set for the special meeting.

BOC 3.12.20

Another of the motions added to the agenda by the Vice Mayor addressed the process for dealing with the appeals process on issues coming from decisions made by the MPC/DRC. The measure was not discussed in detail, but appears to be an effort to create a path that would allow the BOC to act on any appeal of the MPC/DRC action with a 3-2 vote, rather than the 4-1 super majority that is now in place.

The proposal came one day after an extended and at times contentious MPC/DRC meeting to consider a sign package submitted by the developer of The Lake District (TLD), Yehuda Netanel.  The proposal was withdrawn by Mr. Netanel after a straw poll showed the sign package for TLD would not be approved. This motion passed 3-2 with the Mayor and Commissioner Gonzales voting no.

The third motion was added to address incentives for hiring a planning director for the City and it passed on a 5-0 vote.  The Vice Mayor said he would like for the City Manager to have some type of incentive to offer a prospective candidate for Lakeland city planner as well as conduct a nationwide search.

Forrest Owens resigned the position Feb. 14th after working for the City about a year.  Mr. Owens replaced Cory Brady who started as planning director in January 2018 and resigned in August that same year.  Mr. Brady replaced Tom Skehan who was planning director two and one-half years.

Mayor Cunningham said any incentive which could be used Mr. Horn would be a fantastic idea. Commissioner Wesley Wright said the city planner holds the pulse of where things go.  He said the market is not flooded with planners.

Link to original agenda: https://tn-lakeland.civicplus.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/921

Link to Livestream:  https://livestream.com/lakeland/events/9037499

The rest of the meeting

Michael Walker, finance and human resources director, gave the February treasurer’s report.  Link to report:  https://www.lakelandtn.gov/DocumentCenter/View/8941

Michael Walker


Deputy Matt Mercer with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) gave the February crime report: one theft of a trailer, one burglary non-residential and no residential burglaries or thefts from motor vehicles.

Among topics on the City Manager’s report were:

  • 2020-21 budget workshop is March 23rd
  • Town Hall meeting is 5:30 p.m. March 31st
  • Information about the Coronavirus is posted to the City webpage
  • 2020 Census forms are in the snail mail and residents are urged to complete the questionnaire
  • Tennessee Tree Day is at 9 a.m. March 21st at Plantation Hills Park
  • LAMP Concert dates have been set: June 6th, 27th, July 25th, Aug. 22nd and Sept. 26th

Addressing the BOC, Dexter Muller, Lakeland’s economic development consultant,

Dexter Muller

said Blue Cross Blue Shield is searching for a location in Lakeland for a primary care/urgent care clinic.  He then introduced Shawn Massey, a partner in TSCG-Memphis (the Shopping Center Group) who provided a series of slides on the State of Retail in 2020.  Link to story with slides: https://lakelandcurrents.com/february-edc-idb-meetings-state-of-retail-presentation/

As Mr. Massey presented a slide about The Lake District, a 160-acre mixed-use development at I-40 and Canada Road with Phase 1 scheduled to open this fall, he commented, “You guys are really ahead of the curve with The Lake District.”  He said it is an amazing project and Yehuda (Netanel, developer) is a visionary.

Shawn Massey, right

Resolution #4 was pulled from the consent agenda with the rest of the agenda approved unanimously.

Katie Autry was appointed to the Parks and Recreation/Natural Resources Board.  The resolution to appoint a member to the Board of Appeals/Stormwater Board of Appeals was pulled for lack of applicants.

Katie Autry

A resolution to negotiate acquisition of property for athletic fields was amended and then approved 5-0.

Also amended was resolution #4 relating to Flock cameras which will be installed in the City with data monitored by SCSO.  Lakeland Resident Jay Dorning asked if there should be language in the resolution noting the cameras must stay in Lakeland.   That amendment was added to the resolution before the vote of 5-0.

… Photos, video by Jim Willis, Lakeland Currents