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City Council Minutes

January 4, 1999
 

January 4, 1999

The City Council met in regular session at 7:00 p.m. with Mayor David J. Wooten presiding.

Those Commissioners in attendance were: Commissioners Watkins, Rice, Saunders, Swafford and Vickers.

Mr. Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer.

Commissioner Watkins moved to approve the minutes of the December 14th Council meeting; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

DISCUSS RENEWAL OF SPECIAL USE PERMIT FOR NEW EARTH SERVICES

Attorney Collison advised that New Earth Services had previously requested an extension of their special use permit but the matter needed to be tabled as there were only three Commissioners present (approval would need four votes).

Mr. Condon came forward to advise Council that most of the repairs that were required under the previous special use permit have been completed. Due to the extent of the repairs, he was unable to get the business in operation before the crab season ended and the special use permit expired on December 31, 1998.

Since the start of operation is not planned until April lst, Mr. Collison recommended that a public hearing be scheduled for any additional comments so that if the permit is granted for one more year, no one can come back to challenge it. Time for advertising would allow for the public hearing to be scheduled for January 25th. Commissioner Swafford advised that he would not be present that evening but Mr. Collison stated that the vote would not be taken until the meeting following the public hearing.

Commissioner Rice motioned to advertise for public comment within the specified time frame that the attorney has set and begin with-the process as soon as possible; seconded by Commissioner Watkins. Motion carried 4 to 0 with Commissioner Saunders abstaining.

DENIAL OF REZONING REQUEST FOR ZION UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

Mr. Collison advised that Council's decision to deny the request was made at the December 14th meeting. Pursuant to their deliberations, he has drafted the "Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law" for the Mayor's signature.

Commissioner Watkins made a motion to authorize the Mayor to sign the "Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law" on this particular case; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

SYLVIA BROHAWN'S REQUEST TO INCLUDE "ACCOUNTING" AS PERMITTED USE IN R-3 DISTRICT

Ms. Brohawn's request was to include "accounting" as a professional use for property at 311 Byrn Street which she is under contract to purchase within the R-3 zone. Commissioner Rice advised the City cannot change zoning for a specific piece of property. If her request was granted, it would apply to every piece of property that is zoned R-3.

He then presented the Mayor and Council with some suggestions that he feels might work, including a public hearing to receive input from anyone who might be in an R-3 zone. One of his suggestions was to have a special use permit rather than an automatic use for the property since special use permits have a time frame attached to them. It could also be stipulated that there could be only one special use permit per structure to alleviate someone from buying a building and renting it out for commercial purposes. Another suggestion was to limit employees to two (which would include the owner/operator); restrict hours of operation; restriction of signage since it's a residential neighborhood and that the term of the permit should not exceed five years or be transferable. Any and all costs, which accompany these requests, must be borne solely by the applicant and any violation of the special use permit agreement shall constitute grounds for revocation of said permit at any time.

By doing it this way, the City can maintain a neighborhood ... not change it. Also, the definition of "professional office" must be determined inorder for this to work.

Mr. Collison asked if this is being looked at comprehensively so that physicians, offices would be eliminated as a permitted use to bring them into this provision as well? Commissioner Rice noted that this issue would need to be addressed on its own. He feels that "physicians' offices within residential districts have become a real detriment to the residential character of the neighborhood." If anything needs to be in a commercial venue, he believes it should be a physician's office or dentist's office. Their appointments are over-scheduled so there are many patients within a 15-minute time frame. Commissioner Vickers stated that they have more than two employees also.

Mr. Collison advised that a public hearing would need to be scheduled for the zoning change as well as one for the special use permit, depending on Council's decision. The process could take 45 days.

Commissioner Rice made a motion to begin the process with next week being the finalization in-put from the Council; seconded by Commissioner Saunders. Motion carried unanimously.

DISCUSSION ON HIRING CONSULTANT FOR RESTRUCTURE OF CITY'S ZONING LAWS

Commissioner Saunders noted that, from everything that she has seen since she has been on this Council, "we have a hodgepodge-of zoning." She feels that even though the City has good people on the various boards, they don't have the time or expertise to undertake this at a full-time pace. Her understanding from the County is that it took them at least a' year between the study, presentation to the Commissioners and public in-put.

Commissioner Saunders made a motion to bid out and hire a qualified firm or persons to do this study and work closely with the City and to have the Finance Chairman find the money to do this. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Watkins and carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders made an additional motion to have the guidelines for advertising in place by March 30, 1999. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and carried unanimously.

MAYOR TO SIGN PROCLAMATION FOR "NATIONAL PERIANESTHESIA NURSE AWARENESS WEEK"

Commissioner Rice motioned to allow Mayor Wooten to sign proclamation for "National PeriAnesthesia Nurse Awareness Week" which is scheduled for February 1 through February 7, 1999; seconded by Commissioner Swafford. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGET AMENDMENTS

Commissioner Swafford made a motion to approve budget amendments for Financial Administration and Housing Department; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVE BUDGETED EXPENDITURES OVER $250

Commissioner Swafford motioned to approve the budgeted expenditures over $250; seconded by Commissioner Rice. Motion carried 4 to 1 with Commissioner Saunders opposing.

COMMENTS FROM FIRST WARD

Commissioner Vickers commended DPW for the great job they did spreading salt on Christmas Eve.

COMMENTS FROM SECOND WARD

Commissioner Watkins wished everyone a "happy, prosperous and healthy New Year."

COMMENTS FROM THIRD WARD

With reference to the Family & Youth Festival scheduled for the first Saturday in May, Commissioner Saunders made a motion to request the City's annual $350. financing (the County has already put in financing to help) for this event. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Swafford and carried unanimously.

She then made a motion to have the fruit stand ordinance in place by the last Monday in March; seconded by Commissioner Vickers. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Saunders pointed out that Cambridge Day is coming up on April 5th as well as the Appreciation Banquet which is usually scheduled for the first Wednesday in April.

Commissioner Rice said he would be happy to handle the Cambridge Day portion but requested that someone else handle the portion for the volunteers. Mayor Wooten stated that he had requested Mr. Kinnamon to handle some of the arrangements for the banquet and Mr. Kinnamon advised that he has tentatively set aside April 7th with the American Legion for the banquet. The Mayor then asked Mr. Kinnamon to get menu options for the dinner.

On another note, Commissioner Saunders stated that there is no garbage pick-up the day after Christmas or the day after New Years and some arrangements need to be set to cover pick-ups around holidays. She requested that this be put on the agenda for February to get input.

She further mentioned the fact that garbage is being put out before the time prescribed by law and asked Chief Wroten if he could have his people handle this.

COMMENTS FROM MAYOR WOOTEN

Mayor Wooten read a letter from Daniel Swafford, Jr. to announce his resignation from the Human Relations Committee due to health reasons. He acknowledged the work that Mr. Swafford has done on this committee and wished him well during his upcoming surgery and hoped that he could again serve on this committee at a later date when there is a vacancy.

COMMENTS FROM FOURTH WARD

Commissioner Swafford advised that it is time to be looking at budgets again.

He was unable to attend the Council meeting when the audit was presented but he wanted to publicly thank all City employees, Department Heads and the Council for working together in doing a fine job.

Sometime within the near future he will be requesting that the weekly payroll issue for City employees be put back on the agenda. There will be a little savings if it is done every two weeks, but he did not realize how strongly so many people felt about this.

On another note, he felt that something should be done with property assessments. Instead of penalizing someone for fixing up their home and then receiving a higher assessment with increased taxes, he felt that property owners should receive some type of a reward for fixing up their home, i.e. freeze taxes for five years. This could be discussed further at a work session.

COMMENTS FROM FIFTH WARD

Commissioner Rice mentioned the excellent job Commissioner Swafford did as Finance Chairman and commended him for the hard work he has done to get the audit to the level it's at.

With regards to property taxes as was brought up by Commissioner Swafford, Commissioner Rice feels they should be abolished and user fees for services should be charged instead. As an example, a piece of property could be assessed at an amount with $70. per year in City taxes. Garbage pick-up alone would cost more than that. He just felt this was a concept that should be looked into.

COMMENTS FROM PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR

Mr. Pritchett referred to his memo regarding the BNR upgrade. Commissioner Rice requested that this be put on next week's agenda.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

Mr. William Jackson, President of the Human Relations Committee, in referring to Daniel Swafford, Jr.'s letter of resignation, advised that he would hope that Mr. Swafford could stay on the committee even though he may be out for 3 or 4 months and hopes that he reconsiders his decision.

Commissioner Rice feels that Mr. Swafford was being fair to the Human Relations Committee and he still has an opening for an appointment which he will not fill until he is sure what Mr. Swafford wants to do.

Mr. Milton Walls came forward requesting an additional six months to do witnessing with use of a bull horn. Council felt he needs to come up with a specific plan. His ministering could be done door-to-door without the use of a bull horn and did not grant his request.

Ms. Judy Moody approached the podium to express thanks and appreciation on behalf of the Human Relations Committee for all the help that was given to them in 1998. She wished everyone a "happy 1999" and "if there is anything we can do, just call upon us. It

Commissioner Saunders thanked the press for being patient throughout the year and for taking the time to cover the Council meetings.

With no further business, meeting adjourned at 8:11 p.m.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting of Monday, January 4, 1999 insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon