City approves access for proposed new business

Reporter Editor

After a lengthy discussion stalled, and it appeared the matter might die for lack of a motion, the Rockdale City council found common ground Monday and okayed a parking and access easement to facilitate a proposed new business venture.

The council unanimously voted to grant access across city property to the former Dollar General building, Meadow at West Cameron (US 79), which is under consideration for purchase by the Aaron’s company, a nationwide rental business.

The motion, by councilman Allan Miller, included a provision that vehicles exceeding 30,000 pounds gross vehicle weight be excluded from the agreement.

The Reporter has learned that Aaron’s has made inquiries about purchasing the building and property, and has estimated $1 million in business the first year.

The company has indicated it would remodel the building and also provide some drainage work.

‘BUSINESS FRIENDLY’— Mayor Larry Jones said the easement proposal codifies the practice of vehicles parking along the Meadow Street side of the business, off the actual street but on city property, which was the practice when the site housed Dollar General and previous businesses.

“It’s been referred to the city attorney, who signed off on it,” Jones said.

Miller, who said he did not know what the proposed new business was, said he was concerned with the possibility of a loading dock being built, truck trailers being unhooked and left at the facility for 4 or 5 days.

“Suppose that happens and we have a sewer stoppage under the truck that requires access,” he said. “They could say they won’t have to move it.”

Miller told the council “once you do this (okay the easement) you’re giving it away forever.”

Jones said he was worried a delay by the council, to further study the matter, “might be a deal killer.”

‘BUSINESS FRIENDLY’—“I don’t know if they are looking at other cities or not, if this a ‘Rockdale or Cameron’ situation,” City Manger Kelvin Knauf said.

Council member Melody Dawson said she hoped Rockdale “was trying to become a business friendly town, to attract businesses in.”

Jones asked Dawson if she wanted to make a motion to approve the easement.

She did not and no other council member spoke until Miller offered a compromise.

He suggested granting the easement but restricting parking and access to vehicles under 30,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, something which would allow vehicles up to a single-axle bobtail truck but not tractortrailer tandems.

That measure passed on a unanimous 5-0 vote.

In other business, council members:

• Prioritized utility projects including a new water well, water tower, water meters and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.

• Accepted the annual audit report as presented by Atchley & Associates. The report listed a “clean opinion.”

• Heard Dawson commend the Rockdale Police Department on reducing the number of junked cars reported in Rockdale from 57 to 4.

• On a 4-1 vote, with councilman Willie Phillips voting against, approved an interlocal agreement between the city and Municipal Development District (MDD) for administrative and employee benefit expenses relating to the new MDD executive director position.

• Took no action after an executive session for discussion of land for a new water tower.

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