RACINE — A tied vote on whether to rescind the City Council’s move denying zoning for a would-be CVS pharmacy on Washington Avenue was broken by Mayor John Dickert, according to meeting minutes published Wednesday.
Some aldermen later questioned if the vote was proper, but City Attorney Rob Weber said he believes the rules were followed.
The 8-7 vote to reject rescinding the denial occurred during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, but a final vote tally was unavailable at that time because aldermen had asked to verbally change their votes due to confusion over the motion.
When the votes were changed — leaving seven aldermen in support of rescinding the City Council’s Aug. 3 vote denying zoning and seven against it — Dickert cast a tie breaking vote to defeat the motion.
Those aldermen who supported rescinding the vote that denied zoning to CVS were Mollie Jones, Mike Shields, Henry Perez, Steve Smetana, Sandy Weidner, Q.A. Shakoor II, and Terry McCarthy.
Those that voted against it were Jeff Coe, Ray DeHahn, Dennis Wiser, Mary Land, Jim Morgenroth, Ron Hart and Melissa Lemke.
Jim Kaplan — a supporter of the CVS project — had been at the meeting earlier in the evening but left before the vote because he was feeling ill.
The vote put what appears to be the final nail in the coffin of CVS’s 18-month quest to get city approval to build a 24-hour store at the southeast corner at Washington Avenue and Ohio Street.
The effort initially appeared to have ended on Aug. 3 when the City Council voted 7-6 to deny it zoning.
Perez’s request to rescind the vote had initially come in as a referral to the City Council’s Committee of the Whole. But in an unorthodox turn of events on Tuesday, the referral was requested to be extracted from the consent agenda by City Council President Dennis Wiser for consideration that night.
The vote on whether to rescind happened in short order, over the objections of several aldermen, including Weidner, Shields and Perez. They said the request should receive more vetting, but Wiser said residents wanted to have the issued settled.
City attorney weighs in
After the meeting, some aldermen questioned whether the City Council had properly approved Wiser’s request to suspend the rules and vote on the item that night.
On Wednesday, Weber said in an email that he had received a request from Weidner to review the recording of the meeting to see if the motion had been properly approved.
Asked if he had reviewed the recording he said “no,” adding “I believe Alderman Wiser correctly moved to suspend the rules.”
“If that motion had been challenged, it would have required a two-third majority vote,” he wrote. “I recall the Mayor stating: ‘Without objection, so ordered.’ Indeed, no one objected.”