The vote was 4-0 unanimous for the motion to send the proposal back to the city’s Planning Commission for more study and more detailed and drawn to scale plans for the proposed facility that wasn’t with the original proposal for a special use permit to build the new Food Pantry on open pasture land on Wacota and Jefferson (Hwy. 35) streets owned by Greg Harris. Council members Jack Hoschette and Josh Gergen were absent from the meeting.
The Plan Commission gave negative recommendation to the board after discussing the proposal in its meeting last week Monday, Oct. 3.
Pete French, Director of the Prescott Food Pantry, tried to clarify his plans for the new facility, which include both a food pantry and a thrift store to help pay for the cost of the new building along with an area set up for a farmer’s market and gardens.
“I was told to put down everything the property would be used for, now or in the future and perhaps I was too expansive putting words in like BINGO or convenience store,” French explained to the council members. “But the fact remains we need this or we’re going to go away. We need to have more space and we need the thrift store to pay for it.”
French stated he didn’t believe there wouldn’t any additional be traffic problems considering there aren’t any at its current location at the POWR Building at Canton and St. Croix streets. He said there would not be any on street parking and that the new facility can co-exist with its new neighbors the way Freedom Park or other commercial ventures in residential neighborhoods.
“I would love to have conversations with the people in the neighborhood to make sure we’re good neighbors but we can’t do this if some persons are going around rattling cages in opposition.”
But Ray Hamilton who lives on Wacota St. said vagueness of new Food Pantry proposal plus a lack of business planning threaten to bring in more traffic and potentially jeopardize the whole proposal itself.
“I don’t want to make things worse for the Food Shelf but they’re planning to make things worse for me,” Hamilton said. “It’s not just the location itself but the fact his numbers are all off. If he thinks all the Pantry needs 15-20 cars a week to use the facility, especially the thrift store, it’s going to fail. The cost of a 6,000-square foot facility is going to be well beyond $200,000 and it’s going to need a lot more traffic than 15-20 cars a few days a week to survive."
Read the full story in this week's Prescott Journal on newsstands and in town on Wednesday.