A planned compromise for parking at the former Kmart lot hassparked tension between Rochester’s two top elected officials.
"They called me and made an offer," Mayor Kim Norton toldRochester City Council President Randy Staver on Monday after hecriticized a meeting she had with the developer.
"I don’t like the behavior," Staver responded, pointing out thatNorton called council members opposed to the parking plan but leftout those who supported it.
The original plan and related lease was approved in a 4-3 votelast week, but Patrick Regan, president of Camegaran LLC, whichowns the property, reportedly called Norton to ask about acompromise to stave off a potential veto.
The effort appears to have worked. Norton said late Tuesdayafternoon that she has decided against issuing a veto after Regansaid he will restrict the use for parking to seven and a halfyears.
"He said he will not come back and ask," Norton said, notingnothing in the agreement modifies the lease approved on Feb.19.
"We have to accept people for their word," she said of theagreement to limit the lease to one 30-month extension beyond theinitial five years.
Camegaran had reached a lease agreement with city staff and MayoClinic to provide 729 parking spaces, with a proposed expansion tonearly 1,400 spaces. Norton has opposed the potential for a 10-yearuse, based on an initial five-year contract with the provision fortwo, 30-month extensions.
Norton said the lease agreement stands as approved by thecouncil, with a planned acknowledgement of the agreed 7.5 yearlimit expected to be voted on next week.
In discussing the agreement with Regan, Norton said invitedcouncil members Nick Campion and Annalissa Johnson, who had opposedto the original plan. Council Member Mark Bilderback, who providedthe third opposing vote, wasn’t available, she said.
Campion said during last week’s council meeting that the lengthof the agreement was a concern but on Tuesday pointed to potentialflexibility.
"There are ways to make this better for the community," hesaid.
On Tuesday, Campion released support of a plan to limit theinitial operation to five years, with potential extensions thatwould carry renewal fees at five, seven and nine years to fundpotential public improvements. It's a concept that was notpresented for a council vote.
Staver said Tuesday he believes the original agreement providesneeded flexibility.
"Seven years, to me, is a fairly short amount of time," he said,adding that redevelopment projects typically take years to moveforward.
He said the original agreement allows the ability to shorten thetime frame but also gives Camegaran a longer option, if needed.
He called the mayor’s effort to modify the agreement "amisstep," saying her options are to accept the agreement or vetoit.
"We have to respect our respective boundaries," he said.
Norton said she opted to take the meeting with Regan because shehad been left out of the original discussions.
"They didn't include me at all," she said.
During the Feb. 19 council meeting, Staver was joined by councilmembers Michael Wojcik, Patrick Keane and Shaun Palmer insupporting the original lease.
Immediately prior to the call for a council vote, Norton raisedher hand to speak but was apparently not initially noticed byStaver. When Staver went ahead with the vote after being informedthe mayor wanted to speak, she questioned the action.
"As someone with veto authority, it seems like it would be niceto get my question answered before you had the vote," she toldStaver during Wednesday’s meeting.
Her question at the time was based on the length of the originalagreement.