A new shopping center for Midway is on track again after the city council reversed a previous decision and preliminarily approved the latest step in the development plans.
At its Aug. 13 meeting, the council unanimously approved preliminary plans for the center at the intersection of Islands Highway and Isle of Wight Road. The same plans were voted down during the council’s July meeting.
Property owner Heather Brannen wants to establish a 6,500-square-foot building for a shopping center at that location. In May, the council accepted a recommendation from the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission to grant Brannen the preliminary permission needed to proceed with engineering work.
Because of its location, the project was presented to the Liberty Gateway Design Review Board. When the DRB’s recommendation came before the council in July, council members and others asked numerous questions about which way the building would face, how the parking would be sited, the need for an access road, and other matters.
After a public hearing and many comments, a motion resulted in a 2-2 vote. Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington broke the tie by voting against the recommendation. The same plans for the location and the siting of the parking were adopted at the August meeting.
In several recent meetings, the council discussed the First Responders First appreciation event Sept. 29 at Dorchester Academy. Police, fire and other emergency personnel will be honored.
The September council meeting will be 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Councilwoman Melice Gerace will brief the council on Midway fire services, while Washington will present a nine-page fire-services agreement between Liberty County and Midway and Midway’s volunteer fire department.
County Administrator Joey Brown and Fire Services Coordinator James Ashdown attended a council work session Aug. 27, during which they explained the plan for countywide fire protection and Midway’s role in it. They answered numerous questions from council members, and Brown told the council Midway should decide on participation by the first of the year.
That visit was a follow-up to a previous Midway council presentation by Brown and Liberty County Commission Chairman John McIver. Midway is the first municipality to face a decision on the countywide fire plan.