Council gives tribe 30 days

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Take it or leave it.

That’s the essence of a resolution the Suffolk City Council adopted Wednesday that gives the Nansemond Indian Tribe 30 days to decide if it will accept the city’s February offer to lease 8-10 acres of land at Lone Star Park for Mattanock Town, a proposed tribal museum and Indian village replica.

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Councilwoman Linda T. Johnson cast the lone dissenting vote, saying she felt the like the city is &uot;drawing a line in the sand&uot; with the decision.

The resolution gave the tribe 30 days to make a choice on the revised February proposal, calling it the city’s &uot;best and final offer … to proceed with the development of Mattanock Town.&uot;

If no response is received or the offer is rejected, the council will proceed with abolishing the Mattanock joint Task Force. City Council established the group last spring to study a proposed site for the tribal museum. The task force is made up of citizens and city and tribal representatives.

The group hasn’t met since December, when communications among task force members broke down after the tribe refused to share its business plan with the group.

That, along with the Nansemond’s request for full ownership of approximately 100 acres of property at Lone Star lakes, has divided the city and tribe.

The city’s revised February proposal would lease the tribe 8-10 acres. But after a specific time, the property would be sold to be tribe for a nominal rate so long as Mattanock Town met specific performance guidelines.

Under the city’s proposal, the tribe and the city would share joint costs, such as roads and water and sewer lines.

Although the resolution sounds like an ultimatum, City Manager Steve Herbert said the resolution is an effort to get talks started between the city and tribe.

&uot;I’m not sure I’d say it’s an ultimatum. I’d call it a specific clarification by the council,&uot; Herbert said.

Herbert told council members that the resolution asks the tribe to &uot;reconsider the offer the city put on the table,&uot; and that he believes the resolution the best way to get talks back on the table.

Dot Dalton, a spokeswoman for the Nansemond tribe, declined to comment on the resolution, saying she had not yet seen a copy of it.

The tribe had refused the February offer in the past.