Mayor Colvin's Olde-Fashioned Politics

The Fayetteville City Council has invested millions of your tax dollars in order to encourage and stimulate economic growth downtown. Mayor Mitch Colvin recently made the personal decision to capitalize on that growth and purchased a commercial building downtown. But, Colvin’s building lies in an area the Fayetteville City Council designated as a “Historic District,” and our good Mayor was recently introduced to the red-tape of Fayetteville’s “Historic” bureaucracy that has long been the hindrance of many a good Cross Creek businessman.

You see, a few decades ago, the City of Fayetteville made a policy decision to preserve the “historical integrity” of several areas, including downtown.

“Design Guidelines” keep each structure looking the way it did when it was first built. You could say we want these areas to look “olde” and true to their original architectural style, including my personal favorite, “Richardsonian Romanesque.”

These guidelines are still in place, and if you want to upgrade a building in the historic district, you have to follow certain rules.

First and foremost, you have to submit an application for a “Certificate of Appropriateness” from the Historic Resources Commission before you do any work to your building. It’s a very simple form. I found it online in a few minutes:

Mayor Colvin submitted multiple COA applications, but his contractor made changes to the structure that were not included on the applications and were not pre-approved by the Historic Resources Commission, setting up a great deal of drama.

Battle with Commissioner

Bruce Arnold is a member of the commission. Arnold, along with his wife, own multiple downtown businesses. Arnold attempted to bring attention to the unapproved changes to Colvin’s building a few months ago. This caused a bit of a media stir, with Arnold even claiming that Colvin threatened to sue him over his allegations.

The exterior work on Colvin’s building is now completed. Of much concern to members of the Historic Resources Commission, Arnold in particular, were the paint on the building and the installation of glass and aluminum doors.

“Historic” Aluminum and Glass Doors

Colvin asked the Historic Resources Commission for permission to “amend” his prior applications to include all of the changes that were made the building. He argued that old photographs show the doors were once aluminum and the building was once painted, so Colvin gets to do the same in 2020.

Despite his photographic evidence, Colvin was apparently worried about the vote. He had his attorney, Jose Coker, of the Charleston Law Firm, try to keep Bruce Arnold and the commission’s chairwoman, Liz Varnedoe, from voting because of “prior statements” each had made about the changes. In short, Colvin claimed they were “biased” against him and couldn’t be impartial.

They voted anyways. Colvin won, 6-1. Arnold was the only dissenting vote.

Colvin Can’t Take a Win

Apparently, winning 6-1 wasn’t good enough for Colvin. So the very next day, he decided to trash Arnold on Facebook:

As of today’s date, Colvin’s post drew over 271 comments. Most of them are in support of Colvin, and many imply that Colvin is being singled out because he’s black. It’s not hard to see why. Colvin capitalized two words in his post: “RUDE” and “WHITE.” He also included the hash-tag “doublestandards.”

One Man’s Opinion

Colvin admittedly made changes to a historic building without prior approval. He then asked for special treatment from the commission. He got it. He won 6-1. But it wasn’t perfect enough for him, so he’s got to trash the dissenting voter, call out his businesses, and imply that race is involved.

And we wonder why Fayetteville is so divided?

Colvin’s complaints are old and tired and do nothing to bring us together as a town. I realize we are in the time of the “untouchable” executive, but a Mayor, like a President, should follow the same rules as everyone else and shouldn’t attack those who seek to hold him accountable to those rules.

If you don’t like the rules, you have more power than anyone to change them. Give that a try instead of attacking your constituents on social media.

Thanks for reading.

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