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VOL. 126 | NO. 187 | Monday, September 26, 2011

Uptown on Agenda in Carpenter’s Final Meeting

By Bill Dries

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Shelby County Commissioner Mike Carpenter will take his last votes as a commissioner Monday, Sept. 26, ending a five-year and one-month stay on the county’s legislative body.


Carpenter is resigning from the commission effective Oct. 1 to become state director of StudentsFirst, the education reform group headed by former Washington schools leader Michelle Rhee. The group’s Tennessee effort is based in Nashville, where Carpenter will be moving.

The commission meets at 1:30 p.m. at the Vasco Smith County Administration Building 160 N. Main St.

Commissioners will vote on a second phase of the Uptown Community Redevelopment Plan already approved by the Memphis City Council earlier this year.

The three-year, second-phase plan includes new plans for Uptown West, the area north of The Pyramid along the Wolf River east to Main Street. It also includes improvements to Greenlaw Community Center, more acquisition of vacant property and plans for rehabilitation of existing single-family housing in the general Uptown area.

The items would be financed with tax increment financing, also known as TIF, revenues.

The plan also changes the maximum grant or loan amount for the Uptown Commercial Rehab Program. The $50,000 maximum would go up to $500,000 “for exception in case of essential neighborhood service,” according to the wording of the resolution.

The higher amount is part of a plan to leverage private financing for the long talked about construction of a supermarket in the area.

The commission also votes on third and final reading of an ordinance that brings the county’s window tint ordinance in line with state law for the use of the material that darkens car windows.

The standards involved are “light transmittance” and “reflectance.”

The current standard is no tinting that reduces the light transmittance in front windows below 18 percent or reflectance of any car window above 35 percent.

The change would make the standard no less than 70 percent visible light transmittance for the windshield and 35 percent for other windows. There is an exception for the standard installed shade band that comes with new cars.

The ordinance is sponsored by Commissioner Wyatt Bunker and is recommended by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Also on the agenda is a resolution to create an “election reform advisory board” to investigate and report its findings on how elections are conducted in Shelby County.

The resolution by Commissioner James Harvey had been delayed by the commission before. It is a continuation of a dispute by several Democratic candidates in the 2010 county general election. Republicans swept every countywide office in the election and the losing Democratic candidates filed suit in Chancery Court claiming a flawed election process. The legal claim was dismissed.

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