STONECREST—Mayor Jason Lary announced at the Jan. 25 City Council meeting that he was making an early return to the city’s helm, after being on medical leave since November to seek treatment for cancer.
When Councilmember Tammy Grimes asked if the matter needed to be discussed in executive session, the mayor stated it was not necessary.
“I’m back,” Lary said.
After seeking advice from City Attorney Winston Denmark on how to procedurally handle the mayor’s early return, the city council agreed in a 5-0 vote at last night’s meeting to rescind Lary’s excused medical leave of absence until further notice. Councilmember George Turner made the motion for action, which was seconded by Councilmember Rob Turner.
As Lary returns, Deputy City Manager Plez Joyner is now on leave as his wife, Corrine, battles uterine cancer. Joyner told On Common Ground News in a text message that his wife underwent her first chemotherapy treatment today.
Lary said he and other city officials are praying for the Joyner family at this difficult time.
“With the Deputy City Manager being out to care for his family, I just thought it would be best for me to make the decision that I did,” said Lary, who himself is still under medical observation.
Lary told On Common Ground News today(Jan. 26) that although the City Council had approved his medical leave on Nov. 9, 2020 through March 2021, he’s back and plans to “power through” whatever he needs to in order to keep the city on track.
“Frankly, I didn’t like what I was seeing with the council’s proposed restrictions, proposed mandatory moratoriums on businesses and other things that are not in line with moving the city forward,” Lary said. “I don’t think we should place moratoriums on businesses when we’re trying to grow economic development and attract businesses to the city. We can use our ordinances and the city’s comprehensive land use plan to restrict certain businesses from obtaining special land use permits—not just ban businesses—especially during a pandemic. We’re in the middle of a zoning rewrite right now.”
At last night’s meeting, the City Council discussed its proposal to place a 120-day moratorium on gas stations with four of the council members saying their districts are saturated with them. Councilman Jimmy Clanton, however, said he doesn’t believe that the city should take a “one-size-fits-all’’ approach by banning gas stations throughout the entire city. Clanton said citizens need to have their say through public hearings and the city needs to come up with a definition for saturation and look at where gas stations are located and needed.
“There are miles of areas that are in dire need of closer gas stations in District 1, which is spread out,” Clanton said.
The proposed moratorium, which was introduced by Council member Grimes, was heard by council on a first read. No vote was taken on the matter. City Clerk Megan Reid said that work is now underway for an ordinance that would define saturation, among other issues, concerning gas stations and convenience stores.
In other action, the City Council set its budget retreat meeting for Thursday, Jan. 28, 6 p.m. The meeting will be held virtually via the city of Stonecrest’s Youtube channel.