In a stunning decision, the Branham City Council reversed its decision to allow Mescalito Coffee to build parquet on Alamo Street outside of its operations.
Council members voted 5-2 against allowing parquet, despite the fact that the rules set out by the city in the parquet manual when it was approved last June were strictly enforced by downtown businesses, the information showed.
Several citizens voted in favor of the parklet at the council meeting, and only one spoke out against it.
The parklet guideline was approved in June 2022 by a vote of 5 to 1. Council member Clint Colby was the only one voting against the guideline at the time.
Economic development manager Susan Cates began the discussion on Wednesday with some background.
“On June 16, 2022, the council passed a downtown parking resolution regulating downtown parking,” Cates said. “This conversation started over a year ago. It was a widely publicized and proven process. It also took months of effort by the city council, the Main Street board, and our city staff.
“I’m saying this because there were some conversations like, ‘I didn’t know about the parquet manual.’ I think the council did a very good job of sparking this conversation.”
“After the approval of this parklet guide, an initial window was created. Within two months, a company can apply to install a parklet, with a total of six possible parklets allowed. During this time, only one application for parklet was submitted, which we are talking about today,” she said.
Before citizens were allowed to speak, Councilman Atwood Kenjura spoke about the reasons he changed his vote to prevent parklet.
“Everything Susan said was right and it was a difficult decision,” he said. “I love parklets when we originally voted for them. Unfortunately, I don’t know if it’s a lot of misinformation or what, but the outrage about public parking spaces has been overwhelming.
“I was walking the streets on Tuesday and talking to people, and it’s mind-boggling that (losing) those two parking spaces would just be detrimental. I wish we could postpone it, but today the vote is yes or no. I’m going to vote against it now just because we need to pay more attention to parking.”
Council member Leah Cook responded to Kenjura by saying that the Brenham parking debate has been going on since before she was born.
“I don’t think more awareness or having a poster or a forehead tattoo will make people know where there is suitable parking in Branham,” Cooke said.
Sherry Harber, who owns a downtown building and leases it to businesses, was the first to speak and was the only person to oppose parklet.
“I have been coming to Brenham since 2005. I currently pay taxes,” she said. — I have four objects of commercial real estate. A few months ago, I spoke to the city council about allocating parking spaces for retail stores to create outdoor seating areas for restaurants and cafes under the guise of hardwood floors.”
She handed out a flyer to members of the media and others in attendance that was close to what she had just said during the meeting; She doesn’t want this parklet to exist.
However, from 10 to 12 citizens voted for the parklet.
Business owner Tiffany Howard, who is renovating a downtown store, said she doesn’t think downtown has a problem with parking.
Pete Simpson, owner of Floyd’s Wine Lounge, read an email he sent to council members.
“We have no problem with parking in Brenham. We have a select few noisy people who have had their fair share of time to be heard,” he said, reading his email. which. We have tested it. You have checked it. I would hate to see us break that commitment.”
After a speech by about a dozen citizens, the council members voted against Mescalito Park, contrary to what they had approved in the leadership.
This matter is not expected to be formally considered by the council again.