Brawley Council Looks To Create Survey For Downtown Businesses
BY CHRIS FURGUSON
The City Council of Brawley is currently looking at creating an incentive program for businesses to encourage moving to or staying within the city’s “Downtown” section. This comes after a presentation by council members George Nava and Donald Wharton during their meeting on April 4, 2017.
Tuesday evening’s presentation was the result of a recent, impromptu meeting between several local developers and the two council members at a downtown Brawley restaurant. The purpose of the meeting was to help develop a survey for downtown business owners and operators and to discuss some possible incentives to encourage businesses attraction and retention.
“We got some great feedback,” said Nava during the presentation.
Among the developers at the meeting was William Haendiges, the owner of a plumbing service that recently purchased several properties in the city. Haendiges’ projects include the former Firestone tire dealership just off the Plaza area and a burned building that had previously contained Mona’s restaurant just south of Main Street.
Among the incentives proposed by the business owners were:
- A tax credit on the installation of commercial water meters, something the city requires new businesses to do.
- A relaxing on requirements by the city for owners seeking to repurpose existing buildings. (An example would be requiring a new owner to replace or install a sidewalk).
- A sales tax credit for new businesses.
The council also heard a list of questions that could be delivered to those with business licenses once finalized and approved.
As the report was a presentation and not an actionable item, the council did not cast a vote.
Nava had made a previous attempt at creating a connection between the city and the business community through a “Business Advisory Committee.” Unfortunately, a lack of interest and the inability to form consistent quorums led to the end of that committee.
In other Brawley news…
• A long-contested development project on the northern part of the city was partially approved by the Brawley City Council during their meeting on April 4, 2017. The council approved the first reading of a zone change that would allow a five phase townhouse project to begin in the northern part of the city.
Developer Jay Goyal, presented a townhouse project for the property on the northwest corner of River and Palm Avenues to the council for their approval.
In 2016, Goyal had proposed a mobile home park for the area, but a lack of support from the city Planning Commission, along with community resistance to the project, led the council to reject the proposed zone.
Changing the zoning area designation requires a public hearing at an advertised meeting. it also requires council approval.
The project had received approval from the planning commission with 28 conditions, one of which was the maintenance of a proposed park/storm basin by a Community Facilities District (CFD) or Home Owners Association (HOA). While Goyal had requested the city create a CFD for the property, the council quickly rejected this idea.
“We haven’t had the best luck with CFDs,” said Mayor Sam Couchman.
The council then passed the first reading of the ordinance change. A second reading will need to take place at another meeting before the project can begin.