Nader Maroun

Katie Zilcosky / WAER News

The first of the approvals needed for the symphony tower project came from Syracuse Common Councilors Monday, but not without some dissent.  The $18.3 million dollar plan will turn the tower into a Hyatt extended stay hotel.

The agreement basically forgives more than $550,000 in penalties and fees with a promise by owner/developers Ed Riley and Gary Thurston to hire local and minority workers.  City chief of staff Bill Ryan says it’s a straightforward deal that benefits the city.

Syracuselandbank.org

At least two Syracuse Common Councilors are starting to take a stand against the almost automatic sale of hundreds of tax delinquent properties to the land bank and not giving others the option to buy.    About 30 properties were on this week's agenda, and Councilor Nader Maroun voted no on all of them.  At the council's previous meeting,  Kathleen Joy  issued a  similar protest "no" vote on land bank properties.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Those caught parking in front of a fire hydrant or in a fire lane in Syracuse will have to shell out twice as much in fines starting July 1st.    The hefty $40  penalties are among nearly three dozen increases in parking fines approved by common councilors Tuesday.   Parking in a handicap parking spot without a permit will get you a $75 ticket, up from $50.  However, nearly all of the other fines increased by only $5.  Councilor Nader Maroun says they haven’t changed since 1997.

Ashley Siu/WAER News

Public transport was one of many topics discussed at the Ida Benderson Seniors Action group forum where seniors addressed their needs. Drucilla Adams has a tough time walking up hills and has been affected by a change in bus routes.

“When there’s no bus, I can’t get there unless someone picks me up.  I’m concerned because I know it’s a university section but we still are in the area and we still need some transportation on the weekends.  I don’t go anywhere on weekends; I’m like in jail.”