Roswell to vote on Canton Street task force

Roswell is accepting applications for Youth Advisory Council from students grades 9-12. (Courtesy City of Roswell)

Credit: Karen Zitomer

Credit: Karen Zitomer

Roswell is accepting applications for Youth Advisory Council from students grades 9-12. (Courtesy City of Roswell)

Roswell City Council will hold a special called meeting Tuesday night to vote on the selection of seven people to serve on the Canton Street Promenade Task Force — a committee that will give city council and the mayor recommendations on the proposal to close a portion of the street to vehicular traffic on weekends.

The vote will follow a day of confusion over whether the officials would vote on the task force appointments in a closed-door executive session.

The city received more than 80 online applications for the volunteer roles from residents, business operators and property owners who wish to serve.

The appointed members will address the benefits and problems that could arise by creating a pedestrian promenade, and report their findings to City Council.

Mayor Kurt Wilson and City Council discussed the task force applications during executive session Monday, following a regular meeting. But there was uncertainty earlier in the day on whether there would be a vote during that closed portion of the meeting, which would’ve violated state sunshine laws, according to the Georgia First Amendment Foundation.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution made inquiries to Roswell Monday asking for confirmation on when the vote would take place. The AJC learned via an evening email from spokeswoman Julie Brechbill that the vote would be held during a special called meeting on Tuesday.

The Georgia First Amendment Foundation says democracy works best when government bodies allow the decision-making process to take place in public.

“Certainly, for matters involving personnel decisions, they are able to have executive session to discuss things in private,” spokesman Richard T. Griffiths said. “But that decision and the votes on who to appoint and the roles that will be undertaken, must be done in public.”

Similar to the AJC, Roswell resident Susan Tyser said she did not receive a reply to an email sent to Wilson Monday morning asking when the vote would take place.

Tyser is a Canton Street Stakeholder, a group of businesses and residents who have been vocal in their concern that a road closure before a parking deck is built will hurt their establishments and disrupt neighborhoods. A statement from the group said they received conflicting information on when the vote would be held until finally receiving confirmation of Tuesday’s special-called meeting.

Other stakeholders, such as Jenna Aronowitz, co-owner of 1920 Tavern, say their trust in the task force appointment process is low and they believe some council members will be biased against them.

She submitted a task force application.

“… Only eight business owners have applied and pretty much all of us have been vocal. So pretty much all of us are out (of consideration),” Aronowitz said.

Tyser said she and husband, Matthew, who is a former Roswell councilman, both submitted applications to serve on the task force.

“My biggest hope is that the mayor and city council members will listen to the task force,” Susan Tyser said. “… If it comes back that it is not feasible to do this (project) either right now or at all, or in this way, I just hope that they listen and don’t just go ahead with the plan regardless.”