June 2, 2020 Recap
Welcome to the recap. I typically try to pick an inviting image to accompany this recap, but to be honest, my heart is still heavy and I am still in pain over what I am seeing across this country. I am angered by the ongoing racism and acts of violence that have fueled the protests. I am concerned that the message is being lost with the images of looting. And that is not even to mention a personal verbal attack I have faced today because of the color of my skin.
But the work must go on. So let's get into it...
There were no items in Unfinished Business.
A. City Manager and Public Works Director gave an update on the parking signs, they have been ordered and should be installed next week.
B. Council approved the tentative adoption of the millage rate at 21 mils. This matches the millage rate adopted in 2019. The process requires us to adopted a tentative rate to begin the calculations and public hearing process. The report from the county shows a 11.23% increase in real property and 10.85% increase in personal property digest. Public hearings will be held on June 23rd at 11am and 6pm, and a third public hearing will be held on June 30th at 6:30pm. After the final public hearing on June 30th Council will then adopt the final millage rate. We are allowed to adopt a rate lower than the published tentative rate but not higher than it. 21 mils would generate an additional $210,000 and 20 mils would generate an additional $101,000. The rollback rate, which would not generate additional revenue is 19.335 mils. A part of the conversation on setting the millage rate is the state of the current economy and the hardships facing our citizens. We expect to see more appeals and more people unable to pay their property taxes this year.
C. MOU between the City and DCA Main Street program was approved.
D. Variance application for 1060 Ridge Avenue was approved. The applicant was requesting a variance on minimum lot size, code calls for 15,000 sf and his lot is 14,420 sf. All other code requirements will be adhered to.
E. Variance application for 6803 JBR Memorial Drive was denied. Applicant was requesting to eliminate the entire 50 foot stream buffer. Variance was denied per the Code Chapter 28 which states 2 reasons council should consider a buffer variance: (I have paraphrased the items below. To see the actual language click here.)
Property shape, topography, or other physical condition existing prevents land development unless the variance is granted.
Applicant presented an alternative plan which is also a requirement which indicated that some development could occur while keeping the buffer intact.
Unusual circumstances when strict adherence to buffer requirements create an extreme hardship and that the hardship can not be created by actions of the property owner.
It was my opinion that since the property could be developed a hardship did not exist.
And finally we became aware that the engineering plans presented by the applicant appeared to have been done without the knowledge of the engineer whose name and stamped appeared on them. This was discovered after the city engineer raised concerns and the engineer in question was contacted and indicated he had not worked with the applicant in recent years.
F. Rezoning request for 6803 JBR Memorial Drive was denied. The use of the proposed project would be acceptable, however with denial of the buffer variance the request for rezone was denied.
G. Council approved the design proposal from Clark Patterson Lee for Intersection Improvement Plan at Main Street and Mimosa Drive in the amount of $43,000. This design will provide us with pedestrian safety measures at this intersection to include a safe cross walk. Project will be paid for from SPLOST funds.
H. Scope revision for the Sexton Drive engineering project with Clark Patterson Lee was approved in the amount of $10,300. Earlier this year Council approved this project which will correct some flooding issues on Sexton Drive near McCurdy Park. Engineer has discovered some additional work will be required to complete the design. Also important to note that the construction of the project is anticipated to be greater than $650k and will be paid for from SPLOST funds.
New Ordinances and Resolutions
A. Ordinance 2020-03 to deannexation 5287 Mountain Village Ct and 694 Ridge Ave was postponed until DeKalb County has rendered their decision. The County would need to approve annexing the properties into unincorporated before the City could deannex them from our incorporated boundaries. At this time we do not know when the County will make a decision.
B. Ordinance 2020-04 to amend Chapter 28 Stormwater Utility, Article II was adopted.
C. Ordinance 2020-05 to establish language for the formation of a planning commission was adopted unanimously.
D. Ordinance 2020-06 to amend appendix A Zoning for the purpose of inserting planning commission in lieu of planning and zoning committee was delayed until a public hearing could be scheduled. Two council members questioned the process by which the committee would be formed. Although the council had just approved the language in the previous item. Discussion on this item has been ongoing for months.
E. Council adopted Resolution 2020-10 to fund Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) giveaway. This moves money away from the At The Table Event that likely will not be held due to gathering and social distancing requirements and allows the city to purchase N95 masks to be given away to citizens. Administration is also working to secure hand sanitizer. A date for the giveaway has not yet been set.
Council adjourned to executive session to discuss personnel. Upon reconvening the open meeting the motion was approved to enter into contract with Jarred & Davis to provide city attorney services to begin June 3, 2020 and that the existing appointment of Fowler, Hein, Cheatwood & Williams (current city attorney) would expire on June 30, 2020.
Disclaimer: This City Council Recap is taken from my personal notes and memories of the meeting. For the official minutes of the meetings please visit the City web page.