The City Council, unable to muster a quorum to vote on an apartment project because of conflicts of interest by three of its members, has voted to send the permit application for the proposed complex at 516 N. Atlantic Blvd. back to the Planning Commission.
The commission rejected the 34-unit project last December, but the developer, Atlantic Villa Development, appealed to the council.
Three of the five council members said they had conflicts of interest that prevented them from voting on the project. Mayor Michael Blanco and Councilman Talmage V. Burke are attorneys who have represented people connected with the proposed apartment site, and Councilwoman Mary Louise Bunker is the beneficiary of a family trust that owns property nearby.
City Atty. Leland Dolley said that normally all three would be excused from hearing the appeal, but in this case the council would have been left without a quorum. At Dolley's suggestion, Blanco, Burke and Bunker drew lots, selecting Bunker to hear the case with the two remaining council members, Michael Messina and J. Parker Williams. Bunker's presence provided a quorum, but she was not required to vote, and abstained when Messina and Williams voted to send the issue back to the Planning Commission.
Dolley said reconsideration is necessary because the commission failed to make its reasons clear when it denied a permit for the project.