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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.