City Council, May 16, 2016

"YouTube sensation" Ricky Dillon of Hoover will appear at the Brookwood mall Books-A-Million on June 8.

“YouTube sensation” Ricky Dillon of Hoover will appear at the Brookwood mall Books-A-Million on June 8.

The council will meet at 5 p.m. on Monday, June 13, for a work session to discuss the feasibility study for a new public safety building, and hear from the police chief. That, and the planned appearance by Hoover YouTube sensation Ricky Dillon on June 8 at Books-A-Million were the top news items in tonight’s brief meeting.

 

 

Members present: Michael Hallman, Britt Thames, Fred Hawkins, Vance Moody, Walter Jones, Patrick McClusky, Barry Smith, Alex Wyatt, Richard Laws and council president Bruce Limbaugh. Also present was Homewood Mayor Scott McBrayer.

Members absent: Peter Wright

Staff present: City attorney Mike Kendrick, mayor’s chief of staff J. J. Bischoff, Melody Salter, interim city clerk, with assistants, and Vanessa McGrath,  Engineering and Zoning Department.

Audience present: 6

Approved meeting minutes for April 25 and May 9, 2016.

Dropped by consent a 7 foot driveway variance requested on Oxmoor Road. No reason given.

The sign is moved and the Circle K is annexed into Homewood since this photo was taken in March 2015.

The sign is moved and the Circle K is annexed into Homewood since this photo was taken in March 2015.

Set June 13 public hearing before rezoning annexed parcels: The setting of public hearings continues on the agenda from the last meeting and concerns the proposed rezoning on four recently annexed commercial properties facing Lakeshore Drive:

  • Circle K at 1250 Columbiana Road – From Jeffco C-1 to Homewood C-2 (Neighborhood Shopping District)
  • One West Associates at #1 West Lakeshore Drive – from Jeffco C-1 to Homewood C-2.
  • Southeast Medical Homewood, LLC, at 35 West Lakeshore Drive – From Jeffco Preferred Commercial to Homewood C-1 (Office Building District)
Most Homewood residents are reminded each July 4 and New Year's Eve that the property at 201 Green Springs Highway is in unincorporated Jefferson County, which allows sales of fireworks banned in Homewood. This property and five others were subjects of an annexation drive to prevent undesireable developments on the Homewood city line.

Fireworks business owner Pam Palmer, also mayor of Adamsville, is disputing whether the annexation can close down her trailer on Green Springs.

A total of 9 parcels mainly in West Homewood were annexed last year from unincorporated Jefferson County to prevent another “digital billboard” or other undesirable development from springing up on loosely regulated county land. Following a prescribed process, the Planning Commission has heard all the cases first, including some opposition, before recommending these three be rezoned–a decision to be made by the council.  The city has halted the process temporarily for the for one of the properties, a fireworks business on Green Springs owned by Adamsville Mayor Pam Palmer, who is objecting to the annexation that has rendered her business illegal under Homewood law. Also set for rezoning are five Citation Court properties that will be heard on June 27. These properties also met some opposition in the Planning Commission hearing when an owner objected that he hadn’t been informed of the annexation. Those cases are now moving forward, however.

The annexations were accomplished by act of the state legislature last summer during the special session. The first attempt failed to get out of committee when sponsor Jabo Waggoner said a Buffalo Rock property on Citation must be removed. That done, the second submission succeeded.

Set June 27 hearing to rezone properties annexed last year on Citation Court: The five properties to be rezoned to Homewood M-1, Light Manufacturing include four owned by Bobby Ward or a company he heads at 129, 137, 159, and 167 Citation Court, and one owned by Henry Tyler at 209 Citation Court.

Set June 13 public hearings before considering changes to residential zoning ordinance approved earlier by the Planning Commission: The proposed changes were detailed in the April 5, 2016 meeting.

Prohibited parking on Oxmoor Circle: Following a petition from neighboring businesses on the West Homewood industrial area, the city banned parking inside the circle. It will be posted by signs and street markings.

COMMITTEE REFERRAL AGENDA

To Planning and Development and Finance –  To consider building barriers on both sides of I-65 within city limits.

Special Issues – To consider 1) An amended tree preservation ordinance; and 2) A fence variance at 600 Hambaugh Avenue.

OTHER NEW BUSINESS

Set a June 13 public hearing for a fence variance on Hambaugh: The address is 600 Hambaugh Avenue. The matter will be discussed in committee first, see above.

FOLLOWMEApproved a Brookwood mall street closing: Brookwood Village Street will be closed June 8, 2016, from 1-9 p.m., for a Books-A-Million event featuring the YouTube sensation Ricky Dillon of Hoover, and other musicians.

Paid the bills: Invoices for the period May 9-13, 2016 were approved to be paid.

 

 

In announcements, Mr. Jones noted the passing last week of beloved former Edgewood Elementary teacher and principal Shannon Burgess, of an extremely rare form of bone cancer, osteosarcoma.

City Council meeting, May 9, 2016

COUNCILPANO

The mayor makes his comments to the council following regular business.

An enterprising TV cameraman came midway to find only a handful of spectators and the $2,500 trash can item already approved. Of note tonight, beside rescheduling the next meeting to avoid conflict with high school graduation, is a traffic study approved for the problematic Reese Street.

Members present: Michael Hallman, Fred Hawkins, Vance Moody, Britt Thames, Walter Jones, Barry Smith, Peter Wright, and council president Bruce Limbaugh. Also present was Homewood Mayor Scott McBrayer.

Members absent: Patrick McClusky and Alex Wyatt.

Staff present: City attorney Mike Kendrick, mayor’s chief of staff J. J. Bischoff, Melody Salter, interim city clerk, with assistant, and Vanessa McGrath and Greg Cobb, Engineering and Zoning Department.

Audience present: 10

Opened applications for a vacant Ward 3 library board seat. Former member Matt Chapman has moved. The application period will be closed at 5 p.m. May 20.

They're staying.

They’re staying.

Dropped, by consent agenda, a request to remove the Cyprus evergreens between SOHO’s parking lot and 18th Street: The idea had been to make it easier to walk from SOHO to the main street. 

OLD BUSINESS

Rescheduled the next meeting from May 23 to May 16: May 23 is the date of Homewood High School graduation.

(Related) Moved four public hearings from May 23, 2016, to June 27. The hearings set for the May 23 meeting, which is now rescheduled to May 16, were moved forward a month. Three include proposed rezonings related to properties annexed from Jefferson County last year in the wake of the furor over a digital billboard installed on Circle K property on the Homewood city line. The hearing includes that property, as 1250 Columbiana Road, and adjacent parcels at 35 West Lakeshore Drive, and One West Lakeshore Drive. Also to be heard are changes to the zoning book proposed and recommended by the Planning Commission on March 1.

Raised parking fines: Parking fines were raised from $5 to $20 and fines for parking in a fire lane raised from $20 to $100. Mr. Jones commented before the vote that although he agreed with the increase, he thought the city should do a better job keeping up to date with costs and raise fines, charges, fees, etc. up more incrementally. 

A signaled cross walk was approved for this intersection.

A signaled cross walk was approved for this intersection.

Approved a cross walk for Clermont and Sutherland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approved an extra sign for for Stock & Trade Design Co. The upholstery, curtains, etc. business is at 3048 Independence Drive (U.S. 31).

Approved up to $8,500 to address Overton Park playground equipment: There have been complaints about the safety of new equipment, which is designed for 8-12 year-olds but may be dangerous for younger children. The expenditure is to reconfigure a climbing wall.

Voting no: Michael Hallman.

Traffic along Reese Street is a nightmare.

Traffic along Reese Street is a nightmare.

Approved up to $5,600 for a traffic study of Reese Street: The contract, which will go to Skipper Engineering, will be reduced by the city doing the traffic count portion of the job in-house. Reese Street has been the subject of controversy since the council, on the recommendation of the planning commission, rezoned a part of former A&P building for a brewery/taproom and future canning operation. The council later considered rezoning Reese Street itself under a form-based code to encourage a shopfront development with sidewalks and street lights. That idea was dropped and the connector between 18th Street and the Little Donkey, Octane and Steel City Pops businesses may be part of a larger Master Plan revision focusing on downtown Homewood.

Approved up to $2,500 for a single four decorative trashcans downtown.

Approved up to $2,700 for an ad in Business Alabama Magazine.

An example of scaled down cell phone transmission equipment.

An example of scaled down cell phone transmission equipment.

Approved a franchise agreement to allow small cell phone transmitting equipment in the city right of way. Cell phone companies are turning to smaller transmitting equipment affixed to buildings, such as the Verizon antennae recently approved for the top of Dawson’s parking deck, to get signal in urban areas. This franchise for Crown Castle is for more such equipment. Mr. Thames noted that the Rec Center could use some better signal.

COMMITTEE REFERRAL AGENDA

To Finance – To consider 1) Declaring a 2003 Ford Expedition surplus property; and 2) Opening three city alleys to advance the ServisFirst construction.

To Public Safety– To discuss on street parking on Oxmoor Circle.

To Planning and Development – To consider the rezoning of five annexed Citation Court properties, discussed in  March and April Planning Commission meetings.

To Special Issues – To consider a fence variance at 600 Hambaugh Avenue.

OTHER NEW BUSINESS

Set June 27 public hearings before considering rezoning five Citation Court properties: The properties are the same that have been heard in the May Planning Commission meeting and recommended rezoning from Jefferson County I-1 (Light Industrial), to Homewood M-1, (Light Manufacturing District) after being annexed from Jefferson County last year.

Approved the levying of city taxes: This authorization to levy taxes and allow the county to collect them (for a charge) is done yearly as a matter of routine.

Approved or re-approved the homestead exemption on city property taxes.

Paid the bills: Invoices for the period April 23-May 6, 2016 were approved to be paid.

Park Board, May 5, 2016

Signs like this came down across Alabama after a state AG opinion based on Alabama's 2013 open carry laws. Homewood responded earlier this year.

Signs like this came down across Alabama after a state AG opinion based on Alabama’s 2013 open carry laws. Homewood responded earlier this year.

The May discussion clarified changes made in the Overton Park playground equipment and removal of signs banning firearms due to statewide petitions citing Alabama’s 2013 open-carry laws. The firearms ban remains in place in the Rec Center itself. More, below.

Members were cautioned to renew their memberships before the pool opens May 26, the day after school lets out.

Members present: Chris Meeks, chair,  Gary Isenhower, Michael Murray, Keith Stansell and Marjorie Trimm.

Members absent: Jody Brant and Paula Smalley.

Staff present: Berkley Squires, public service superintendent, Rusty Holley, Rec Center director, and board secretary.

Audience attendance: 1

Approved the April 2016 meeting minutes.

Announced change of playground equipment at Overton Park: The parks department will pay for changes to equipment, making it safer for young children. The equipment present is designed for 8-12 year olds.

Change in firearms policy explained: The removal of signs banning firearms was the result of an organized legal challenge to public facilities and municipalities across the state including Homewood, Vestavia and Hoover, citing the state’s 2013 firearms carry law. The state legislature in that law took control of all firearms regulations to itself–nullifying local regulations–and enumerated changes (State Code 13A-11-61.3). The bans could have remained in place if the areas were limited access or posted with security guards, which they are not. For the same reason–the presence of security guards–firearms are not allowed inside the Rec Center. Firearms are not allowed in schools.

For more information from al.com:  http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2016/04/signs_banning_guns_outside_sec.html

Approved the Exceptional Foundation’s June event calendar: The calendar includes the Knights of Columbus event June 25, from 6-11 p.m., with an estimated 35-40 cars in the shared parking lot.

The Urban Cookhouse sponsors a weekend Farmers Market at SoHo and at their Summit location throughout the summer. The board denied its request to move the long-running event to Central Park.

The Urban Cookhouse sponsors a weekend Farmers Market at SoHo and at their Summit location throughout the summer. After hesitating, the board approved its request to move the long-running event to Central Park contingent on not allowing vehicles on the grounds and using a remote parking location, now set at OLS.

Approved the Urban Cookhouse Farmers’ Market series, to begin June 18 and run for 10 Saturdays: The board and director appeared reluctant to approve Central Park for the series because of the impact of vehicles on the park and the fact the event benefited a private business. Nevertheless, it was approved on condition no vehicles would drive on park grounds. Parking will be at Our Lady of Sorrows Church.

 

Board of Zoning Adjustments, May 5, 2016

If Waffle House chooses to rebuild, it will lose the vintage sign.

If Waffle House chooses to rebuild, it will have to lose the vintage sign.

It would be lights out for the 70s-era Waffle House sign if the diner chooses to rebuild in West Homewood. The board tonight hewed close to the new West Homewood District codes, denying seven out of eight exemption requested by the Georgia-based company. To fit the new “village” look, the restaurant would be rebuilt close to the sidewalk, have a brick “street wall” blocking the open parking lot, and have high ground floor ceilings and entrance and a glassed front. Waffle House would be the first building remodeled in the new district, if it decides to go forward. But denials on exemptions requested for a lower interior ceiling height and keeping the 1972 highway sign may kill the plan to rebuild. Time will tell.

Members present: Jeffrey Foster (S), Stuart Roberts (S), Brian Jarmon, and Beverly LeBoeuf.

Members absent: Lauren Gwaltney, chair, and Ty Cole.

Staff present: Greg Cobb and Vanessa McGrath of the Building, Engineering and Zoning Department; Planning and zoning clerk Donna Bridges.

Audience attendance: 17

*Note on procedure:  By law, zoning variances granted by the 5-member board require a super majority of 4 members voting in the affirmative. To keep business moving in case of absences, the law also allows two supernumerary members (S) to sit in and vote if needed. In the following cases, one regular member being absent, supernumerary members took turns voting. Variances expire n 180 days if a building permit isn’t obtained.

OLD BUSINESS:

Will the Waffle House be the first West Homewood development in the new "Village" district? If so, that sign will have to go.

Will the Waffle House be the first West Homewood development in the new “Village” district? If so, that sign will have to go.

One of West Homewood's oldest surviving businesses may be the first to redevelop under the new West Homewood District code. It's retro glass encased diner already meets the code's glass/glazing requirements. Approved only one of eight code variances requested by Waffle House to build anew on Oxmoor; Denied any special exemptions to allow the 1972 sign to remain if the building is remodeled:  The BZA tonight remained 99% pure to the new “village” building codes in the West Homewood District, denying three exemptions Waffle House corporate requested, such as  A) Maintaining  a lower (8.5 foot) ceiling in the proposed new building than the 12-feet required by code; and two exemptions related to that request– a lower front door opening by 1.5 feet, and a 64.8-foot reduction in required glass on the shopfront. Tonight’s decision also included four separate votes that denied the Waffle House outdoor sign to remain standing if the 44-year old building is to be torn down and rebuilt as planned–which may now be in question.

The board passed just one of the variances, to allow an .8-foot greater front setback than the code requires because of an irregularity in the property line. Beside denying the sign, the board voted against variances to allow the lower ceiling (to make the building cheaper to cool and ceiling easier and safer to keep clean) and related reduction in door height and shopfront glazing.

The final decision came also after three residents spoke against the sign specifically, saying it introduced obnoxious light into houses on Gillon Street, which lies behind the current building. One Gillon resident brought a petition against the sign with signatures from his and seven other households on that street. Waffle House has maintained the sign attracts customers from the highway to the “low-volume” diner on Oxmoor. However, the resident said the sign wasn’t visible from the highway and customers used cell phone technology –not interstate signs–to find restaurants now. Two other residents from West Homewood echoed those  objections.

In its defense, a Waffle House representative said lots of communities like the kitschy sign. Asked what data backed up the claim that the diner drew highway travelers for customers, the answer was “credit card receipts.” A company vice president at one point stood up to say the Oxmoor business was a low-volume one that would lose customers if the sign came down, whether it was visible from the road or just off the exit. He implied the loss of the sign could be a factor in deciding whether to continue the project.

The unfavorable sign decision came in four separate votes against 1) a 36-foot height variance; 2 a 26-foot width variance; 3) a 1,184 square-foot-area variance and 4) a variance allowing the extra sign.

The Waffle House hearing has been held over since February, when executives from the Norcross, Ga., home office first learned the sign didn’t comply with the new code. (An engineer present tonight said talks had been going with the city zoning office for 18 months with no mention of taking down the non-compliant sign.)

NEW BUSINESS:

318 Gran Avenue

318 Gran Avenue

Approved variances allowing an addition to a house on Gran Avenue: Builder Kore Nations was granted a 6-foot left side variance to add a new cover over a patio at 318 Gran Avenue. 

RIDDLEPROPERTYAERIAL

The owner of this commercial building (right) will build a roof and storage room out the back of the building on the Piggly Wiggly side to help protect a rear entrance from rainwater being blown into the basement.

RIDDLEPROPERTY2016

UPS tenants have been contending with water problems.

Aapproved a rear variance for an addition to a Planning Commissioner’s commercial building: James Riddle, who sits on the Planning Commission and at one time was a member of the BZA, was on the other side tonight, asking for a 15-foot rear setback variance on the commercial building at 1909 Oxmoor Road across the alley from Piggly Wiggly. The variance will allow him to build a roof to cover an overhead door that lets rainwater blow into the tenant’s business. The building already extends five feet into the setback. Additionally, he plans to build a storage area along the alley on the Piggly Wiggly side to help protect the back entrance from wind and rain being blown in. 

104VenturaStreet

104 Ventura Avenue

Approved a front setback variance for a house addition on Ventura: William Siegel of Twin Properties was granted a 6-foot front variance for a porch at 104 Ventura Avenue; An existing 1.3-foot left setback variance already in use was re-approved to do repairs on the side. 

910ShadesAve

910 Shades Avenue

Approved a 1.5-foot left setback variance for an addition on Shades: Although the agenda referred to a planned second-story addition on this house at 910 Shades Avenue, the builder said the current plan calls only for an addition on the ground floor.  The board without much discussion allowed a 1.5-foot variance to the left setback due to the irregular lot line. 

Planning Commission, May 3, 2016

The commission passed three resurveys to divide residential lots for builders, one with the support of neighbors and one over objections of neighbors in the Lake Ridge neigbhorhood. The commission had denied a similar request on the same property 14 years ago. Last year, the BZA denied a lot size variance for a property division in the same neigbhorhood. Without further ado, the commission recommended rezoning five Citation Court parcels annexed last year.

Members present: Fred Azbik, Mike Brandt, Jeffrey Foster, Chairman Billy Higginbotham, James Riddle, Fred Hawkins, Battalion Chief Nickolas Hill.

Members absent: Mark Woods.

Vacancy: Jamie Ponseti resigned following the November meeting. Mr. Ponseti filled the “mayor’s designee” spot on the commission. The mayor or a new designee can be named to fill the vacancy.

Staff attendance: Donna Bridges, commission secretary, Fred Goodwin, Greg Cobb, city Building, Engineering and Zoning Department, and Vanessa McGrath, city engineer/zoning.

Audience attendance:  14

OLD BUSINESS
NOT IN HOMEWOOD. Bobby Ward, owner of office warehouse properties on Citation Court, said he would object to any further attempt by the city to annex his land into Homewood and its higher property tax rate.

NOT IN HOMEWOOD. Bobby Ward, owner of office warehouse properties on Citation Court, said he would object to any further attempt by the city to annex his land into Homewood and its higher property tax rate. He did not object in time for last year’s annexation.

Recommended rezoning the following five Citation Court properties annexed last year by legislative act: The warehouse and office-warehouse properties on Citation Court were annexed last year as part of a campaign to take in pockets of unincorporated Jefferson County that might otherwise be developed under much laxer Jefferson County regulations. That is exactly what happened in March 2015 when a digital billboard advertiser erected a colossal double-screen board at the Circle K on Lakeshore Drive, almost exactly 300 feet from Homewood residences–the minimum clearance under county rules. The sign was later moved to Homewood property facing I-65 behind K-Mart, but not before talk of closing up county-zoned gaps got underway. One such property on Green Springs, home to a now-illegal fireworks business owned by Adamsville mayor, is in dispute and not being re-zoned (or issued a business license). The properties on Citation Court owned by Bobby Ward or his company were processed tonight after being carried over from last month. Ward, who owns 4 of 5 of the parcels, claimed through his attorney that he wasn’t made aware of the annexations and wanted to study the new zoning further. That allowed, he was not present tonight for the commission’s vote to recommend rezoning 129, 159, 167 and 137 Citation Court from Jefferson County Light Industrial to Homewood M-1, light manufacturing. The fifth property, at 209 Citation Court, is owned by Henry Tyler and was recommended for the same rezoning. The recommendations will go for a vote before the city council before the decisions are final. The annexations, however, were completed last year.

NEW BUSINESS

HAMBAUGHAllowed a resurvey dividing one lot into two on Hambaugh Avenue:  Twin Properties is asking to divide the lot at 411 Hambaugh into two lots for two new houses. There was no opposition. The lots resulting from the division will be 50 feet X 140 feet, within city code for lot area.

2605 Woodfern CourtAllowed a resurvey on Woodfern Court dividing one lot into two: The house at 2605 Woodfern Court is on a large lot on a cul-de-sac. Neighbors at 2615 and 2601 spoke at the hearing, saying they had seen the plans for the proposed new houses and were in favor of the request. The resident at 2609 asked to see any plans of what the owner and his builder planned for the property. Although he was shown a sketch of a two-story house in a modified “craftsman style,” the proposed design isn’t binding. Mr. Brandt cautioned spectators that the commission’s power rested only with the property division, not what was going to be built on it.

House shown on Zillow at 1769 South Lakeshore. The property was granted a resurvey to divide into two lots.

House shown on Zillow at 1769 South Lakeshore. The property was granted a resurvey to divide into two lots.

Allowed a resurvey dividing a large lot in Lakeridge over the objections of neighbors: The owner of 1769 South Lakeshore Drive was granted his request to divide the large property into two smaller lots, despite the polite opposition of three neighbors, who said they represented other opposing neighbors who just weren’t as vocal. The homeowner at 1830 Lake Ridge Road said she was opposed to the division in a neighborhood of estate-sized (1 acre and over) lots, and that it would set a bad precedent. Her lot is larger than 2 acres, she said. A neighbor at 1837 Lake Ridge  echoed that feeling, adding that granting the lot division would attract others to do the same, bringing more people and traffic to an area already congested because of the new soccer fields. A third neighbor, who lives on a lot larger than 2 acres directly next door was also opposed, and for the same reasons. The city’s BZA last year denied a similar request for a property at 1802 Lake Ridge in April 2015.

A Zillow image showing the property's location related to the soccer fields.

A Zillow image showing the property’s location related to the soccer fields.

At this point, Ms. McGrath said that Neighborhood Preservation District property (residential) used a formula of averaging local lots to determine minimum lot sizes in a given area. In this case, the divided lots would both be larger than the 20,469-square -foot minimum computed by the formula. That minimum area was smaller than expected because it was the average of large lots on one side of the street and dramatically smaller lots on the other side. 

Mr. Higginbotham said a more permanent solution to preserving large lots would be to establish a new zoning designation for estate lots.

A drawing showing the proposed lot division.

A drawing showing the proposed lot division.

Here, noting the objectors in the audience, Mr. Higginbotham implied that the commission couldn’t reasonably deny the request because the resulting lots would fit within the NPD district without requiring further variances. One neighbor challenged that assertion, asking if the commission believed it must grant the request for that reason. Ms. McGrath intervened at this point, saying it was not required, but that the numbers made it difficult for the commission to refuse.

And they did not. The property division passed unanimously.

City Council, April 25, 2016

Newly appointed council member Barry Smith goes over the swearing in procedure with Jefferson County Probate Judge Alan King. City Clerk Linda Cook awaits, zinnias in hand.

Retiring City Clerk Linda Cook, shown with flowers for newly appointed council member Barry Smith, got her own bouquet tonight, her last council meeting before retiring.

This was the last council meeting for long-time City Clerk Linda Cook, who announced her retirement after 27 years at the last meeting. Her last day at the office is this Friday before taking a vacation in May. Ms. Cook will be replaced by City Finance Director Melody Salter, who will cover the vacation days in May before taking the additional job officially on June 1.

After hearing a resolution recounting the number of council presidents and mayors she had worked for, Ms. Cook spoke at the podium, looking into the video camera, saying she had considered her work to be for the residents and community, not just mayors and council members. As an aside before the meeting, she noted that a plan to donate a kidney to a sibling played into the timing of her retirement.

Members present: Michael Hallman, Fred Hawkins, Britt Thames, Patrick McClusky, Walter Jones, Barry Smith, Alex Wyatt, Peter Wright, and council president Bruce Limbaugh. Also present was Homewood Mayor Scott McBrayer.

Members absent: Vance Moody and Rich Laws (arrived at second-to-last vote of the evening).

Staff present: City attorney Mike Kendrick, mayor’s chief of staff J. J. Bischoff, and Greg Cobb, Engineering and Zoning Department.

Audience present: 17

Appointed two to the Historic Preservation Commission: Catherine Pittman Smith was appointed for the Ward 4 seat and Brittany Foley was reappointed in Ward 5.

CONSENT AGENDA

Dropped a sign variance item for Homewood Sporting Goods: The applicant withdrew the request, saying the business at 2941 18th Street South would keep its current sign. 

 

OLD BUSINESS AGENDA

Granted a sign variance for a downtown business: The council is allowing an extra sign at the shed used for various businesses, most recently plants, at 2510 18th Street South. The variance allows two signs, or one more than the code allows, to have one facing traffic in each direction.

Urban Cookhouse was approved for a blade sign, projecting from the front of the. building

Urban Cookhouse was approved for a blade sign, projecting from the front of the. building

Granted a sign variance for a downtown business: Urban Cookhouse owner Andrea Snyder won a variance to allow a “blade” sign projecting 3 feet  from the entrance at 2846 18th Street South.

Voted to spend up to $10,000 for a guard rail on Saulter and Forest. 

Declared vehicles surplus and due to be sold: The vehicles include three 2007 Ford Crown Victorias, one 2000 Chevrolet Impala, and an incomplete engine on a pallet. 

Approved year-end transfers: Unspecified in the meeting, the council approved end-of-fiscal-year transfers required by city fiscal policy.

Approved a $1,000 transfer to cover polygraph operations: No details.

Approved amendments to current budget: The current budget was amended, with no details reported outside of committee.

Most Homewood residents are reminded each July 4 and New Year's Eve that the property at 201 Green Springs Highway is in unincorporated Jefferson County, which allows sales of fireworks banned in Homewood. This property and five others were subjects of an annexation drive to prevent undesireable developments on the Homewood city line.

This property and several others were subjects of an annexation drive to prevent undesirable developments on the Homewood city line. Owners of this and some parcels on Citation Drive are disputing either the annexation or its impact on their businesses.

Set May 23 hearings to rezone three recently annexed properties: The properties represent a third of the nine parcels annexed from unincorporated Jefferson County by act of the State Legislature last year. The impact of the annexation on a fireworks business now outlawed by being brought into Homewood remains in dispute. Other parcels on Citation Court are also in dispute at the Planning Commission, where the rezoning hearings are first heard. Set to be rezoned from Jefferson County C-1, Commercial, to Homewood C-2, Neighborhood Shopping District, are 1) Circle K at 1250 Columbiana Road; and 2) One West Associates, at #1 West Lakeshore Drive. 

The Southeast Medical Homewood property at 35 West Lakeshore Drive is set to be rezoned from Jefferson County C-P, Preferred Commercial, to Homewood C-1, Office Building District.

Homewood prohibited advertising and renting residential spaces like this Homewood house on Airbnb,

The city council voted to prohibit advertising and renting residential spaces like this one on the Airbnb site for less than 90 days.

Passed new restrictions on short-term residential rentals, anything under 90 days: The vote puts an end to homeowners advertising and renting out residential property through online platforms such as Airbnb, although some council members have used the service themselves on travel out-of-town. The ban applies to any residential property and sets out the civil and criminal penalties for violation, which do not affect cases under way before the ban. The city attorney said one such case from Sylvia Drive, a misdemeanor, is pending now in city court. 

Granted approval to close a street for up to 12 hours for a spring festival at Patriot Park, some changes pending. This proposed street party was carried over from the previous meeting until dates and times were settled. The date is May 21, but the proposed street closing of part of Oak Grove Road from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. is still “being whittled down,” according to the police chief. The closures and other details are still being worked out.

COMMITTEE REFERRAL AGENDA

A parcel to be donated, according to the address given at tonight's council meeting, is at the end of a residential street in West Homewood that abuts I-65.

A parcel to be donated, according to the address given at tonight’s council meeting, is at the end of a residential street in West Homewood that abuts I-65.

To Finance – To consider 1) A request to spend up to $2,500 for downtown trash cans; 2) Purchasing an ad in Business Alabama Magazine; 3) Setting a bid opening date to purchase patrol rifles, paid from the Capital Projects Fund; 4) A request to allow Crown Castle to install “small cell technology” (cell phone antenna panels) in the city right-of-way, no address given; 5) A $60,000 appropriation from next year’s budget toward a new downtown master plan, and 6) A parcel at 628 Greenhill Drive to be donated to the city.

To Planning and Development – To review changes to the NPD Neighborhood Preservation District to simplify and regulate height and to allow drop a step-in requirement for second floors, among other matters.

To Public Safety – To consider 1) A request to raise parking fines; 2) To address mosquito control options, including spraying; and 3) A cross walk.

To Public Works – To consider opening and allowing work in the Mountainview/Lakewood alley and the Sunset/Ridgewood Alley behind 1627 Sunset Drive.

To Special Issues – To consider 1) Allowing a 7-foot variance for a narrow lot to have a circular driveway at 1511 Oxmoor Road; and 2) A variance to the sign ordinance at 3048 Independence Drive (U.S. 31).

OTHER NEW BUSINESS

Paid the bills: Invoices for the period April 11-22, 2016 were approved to be paid.

Approved a cross walk at Broadway and Forest Drive.

Mr. Laws arrived.

Approved a stop sign at Durham and Yorkshire Drive.

Approved a stop sign at Lakewood and Cornelius Drive.

Park Board, April 7, 2016

Three of Homewood’s youth leagues presented their annual reports at this meeting, with football showing the first increase in three years despite a corresponding increase in lacrosse, its rival for players. Urban Cookhouse, a chain of “farm-to-table” themed restaurants with a location in Homewood, persisted in its effort to hold its summertime farmers’ markets at Central Park. The park board, originally reluctant to approve such space for a commercial enterprise, relented under condition that vendors keep vehicles off park grounds, which could be a deal breaker for the restaurant.

Members present: Chris Meeks, chair, Jody Brant, Gary Isenhower, Michael Murray, Paula Smalley, Keith Stansell and Marjorie Trimm.

Members absent: Chris Meeks, chairman, and Paula Smalley.

Staff present: Berkley Squires, public service superintendent, Rusty Holley, Rec Center director, and board secretary.

Audience attendance: 0

Minutes approval not reported.

Under certain conditions, the board will allow the Urban Cookhouse chain to host its Homewood Farmers' Markets at Central Park this summer.

Under certain conditions, the board will allow the Urban Cookhouse chain to host its Homewood Farmers’ Markets at Central Park this summer.

Allowed, with conditions, Urban Cookhouse to hold a series of summer Farmers’ Markets at Central Park: The question before the board last month was whether the public park would be an appropriate location for a for-profit business to sponsor a promotional and long-running event (11 Saturdays from June 4- Aug. 13, from 8 a.m.-noon). The first answer was a probable no, given the impact of vehicles on the park grounds and the amount of public space and time to be dedicated for a commercial purpose. At this meeting, the board was persuaded to approve, but only if the vendors understand they could not bring trucks and vehicles onto the grounds. Furthermore, a conflicting event is scheduled for one of the Saturdays requested, June 18. With those caveats, the board is awaiting an answer from the event spokesperson.

Homewood's 6A team was were the season champions, with 8 wins and 0 losses.

Homewood’s 6A team was were the season champions, with 8 wins and 0 losses.

Homewood Patriot Youth Football report: The program’s annual report showed the first increase in participation and corresponding rise in revenue after three straight years of decline. The 2015 enrollment totaled 110 players compared to only 74 the year before. The three largest groups were the 120 lb. and 130 lb. categories, with 32 and 30 players respectively, and the 80 lb. group, which typically has the highest enrollment, with 29 players. In 90 lb., there were 19 players and no teams were made in the 105 lb. group.

Financially, the league brought in $21,191 in registrations, admission and merchandise sales total, spending $29,336 in expenses (mainly for equipment and uniforms – $13,914 – merchandise, $5,819, in merchandise and $3,551 in ‘miscellaneous,’), for a negative $8,145. That amount, taken from a $15,683 starting balance (exactly the same as the year before) left the account with a balance of $7,538 at the time of the report.

The league also performed better on the field, with a 21/11 win-loss record compared to only 10 wins and 14 losses the year before.

Enrollments are off due to the popularity of soccer and lacrosse and concerns over concussions. There was one concussion reported in the 2014 season. The board is open to offering flag football for younger players, he said.

Financially, the program brought in $14,593, which was also down from last year, against expenses of $31,089, primarily for new helmets ($15,000), plus equipment, uniforms and merchandise. The program started with a positive carry-over balance for the year and has $15,683 in cash in the bank. Six scholarships were awarded to financially needy residents.

Click here to see last year’s report.

Lacrosse is catching on in Homewood, with its relative low impact compared to football.

Lacrosse is catching on in Homewood, with its relative low impact compared to football.

Youth Lacrosse –

The four-year old program has been self-sufficient so far but once again requested a concrete rebounding wall upgrade for the six-acres field (upper field) at West Homewood Park for teaching passing and catching to new players.

The mid-season, or spring, report showed an enrollment of 121, a slight drop since spring 2014, when there were 136 boys and girls on 8 teams. This was nevertheless a large gain since the league was organized four years ago with just 50 players on 3 boys teams. At the time of the report, Lacrosse fielded four girls teams totaling 37 players, with most (17) in the grades 6-8 category, and four high school girls, who play for Mountain Brook. That is compared to 84 players in five boys teams, fairly evenly spread across the grade levels, but with 25 players on the high school-age team.

Financially, the league listed a balance of $16,801, after revenue of $9,070 from registration fees and against expenses of $7,781, for park and rec fees ($1,170), uniforms ($5,511) and insurance ($1,100).

Five players were given fee waivers.

Click here for pdf of 2014 season budget.

Homewood Youth Cheerleading

Homewood Youth Cheerleading

Homewood Patriot Youth Cheerleading

The cheerleading program is an adjunct to Homewood Youth Football and enrolls Homewood girls in grades 1-6, who are organized into five separate squads. The 2015 report doesn’t list enrollment, but past years have averaged 85, ranging from a low of 64 in 2011 to a high of 101 last year. [Update with most recent, 2015 enrollment:   85 total with most (36) in the 1st-2nd grade squad and the least (14) in sixth grade.]

Financially, expenses of $35,482 for 2015 slightly outran income of $34,005 from registration, three fundraisers and donations from 10 sponsors, not broken out in the report. With a beginning carry-over balance of $3,601, the organization ended the year with $2,123 in the bank.

For last year’s report, click here.

Approved a 5K and fun run from Patriot Park to benefit a backpack giveaway: The Homewood Church of Christ is hosting a third annual backpack giveaway for local school children on Saturday, June 18, with the 5K starting at 7:30 a.m. and the fun run at 8:30 a.m., and the course going throughout West Homewood neighborhoods. Parking will be at the church with participants taking shuttle to the event. Expected attendance for the run is 150.

Approved a Pumpkin Festival at Central Park to benefit Grace House Ministries: Grace House hosts this third annual fundraiser to raise awareness for the organization and girls in foster care. The festival will have food trucks, live music, bouncey houses, and pumpkins to purchase and decorate. Previous years have attracted up to 500 in attendance.