City council meeting, April 22, 2013

Homewood City CouncilThe council met for just under an hour, rescheduling a number of zoning and variance issues and postponing a vote on an ordinance that would set a 500-foot minimum distance between businesses selling liquor and schools and churches. Regularly scheduled council meetings for May (second and fourth Mondays) were rescheduled for May 6 and May 20 due to Memorial Day, with all currently set public hearings moved to May 20. (See below).

The council also extended congratulations to Abbie Freeman and John Lowry, who will begin in the fall as the principals at Hall-Kent Elementary School and Shades Cahaba Elementary School, respectively. Finally, the Ward 1 Arts Advisory Council representative has resigned, leaving a vacancy.  It was mentioned that many board positions remain unfilled, including the Ward 4 school board spot and the at-large park board position.  The deadline for applications is April 30, 2013.

Members present: Michael Hall, Britt Thames, Fred Hawkins, Vance Moody, Walter Jones, Jenifer Champ Wallis, Heather Reid, Peter Wright, and council president Bruce Limbaugh. Mayor Scott McBrayer was also present.

Absent:  Patrick McClusky, Richard Laws

Staff present: City clerk Linda Cook, mayor’s chief of staff J. J. Bischoff, and city attorney Mike Kendrick.

Audience attendance: 14 to start.

All votes were unanimous unless noted otherwise.

Approved:  Minutes of the March 4, 2013 meeting.

Approved:  Mac Chapman (Ward 3) was approved for a seat on the library board.

Old business

Dropped:  After a continued public hearing, the council voted to drop the request for a sign variance at The Baskits restaurant, 801 Green Springs Highway because no one from the business has appeared for the proceedings.

Approved:   Following a public hearing in which no one commented,  Creative Dog Training, 2703 19th Place South, received permission to replace a non-conforming sign that was in disrepair with a better sign made of cedar and vinyl, but which still required a variance.  The business had already turned down an informal request by the Special Issues Committee to consider using a monument sign (built close to the ground), which the council considers a more attractive choice  than free-standing, or pole signs.

Postponed:   The council will vote at the next meeting on an ordinance banning package stores within 500 feet of a school or church. A motion to pass the measure immediately, without a second reading, failed to get the required unanimous consent of all council members.  Specifically, the motion addressed restricting approval of state Alcoholic Beverage Control Class II Lounge retail licenses.

Voting no:  Mr. Moody voted no, saying he thought the public should have the opportunity to consider the ordinance before it was voted on. 

Approved: A three-way stop was approved at the intersection of Wellington Road and Ridge Road.

Approved:  Zoe’s retail wine and beer license application to the state Alcoholic Beverage Control board received council approval.

Sent back to Committee:  A request by Rachel and Frank Craig to grade and pave an alley for parking behind their house at 319 Laurel Place was sent back to the Public Works Committee because not all conditions had been met.  The committee had earlier approved the request pending signed indemnification papers, written approval of neighbors contiguous to the site, and approval of the city’s engineering department.

Approved:  A temporary city easement was granted for a concrete parking pad for a house under construction at 401 Devon Drive.

Carried over:  A request by Brown-Mackie College, 105 Vulcan Road, to lease city-owned property for parking on nearby Bagby Drive was carried over on the advice of the city attorney, who said the job–which will involve a building demolition–may have to be sent out for bids.  The council subsequently referred to the Finance Committee a request to pay for the demolition from the 2012-13 Capital Projects Fund Budget. (See committee Referrals, below.)  Background:  On a 4-1 split vote, the Finance Committee last week approved the parking contract pending the city’s demolition of a former Regions building on the property, at an estimated cost of roughly $49,000.  Ms. Champ Wallis voted no, saying the building demolition shouldn’t be tied to the contract. Voting in favor were chairman Walter Jones, Britt Thames, Vance Moody and Peter Wright.

New business

Public hearings moved from May 13 to May 20:   1.  A public hearing before a vote on rezoning 101 Gillion Drive from commercial to residential; and 2.  A public hearing  on rezoning the former Magnolia Apartments property from attached dwelling to institutional for a Homewood Board of Education campus.

Committee referral agenda approved:  To Finance:  1. Request for line item transfers for city general fund 2012-13 budget; 2. Request to transfer $50,000 from  “Salaries” to “Tuition/Schools”; 3. Request to transfer $400 from “Drills/Training” to “Memberships/Subscriptions”; 4. Request an amendment to the 2012-13 Capital Projects Fund Budget to pay for the demolition of the old Regions building adjacent to the Brown-Mackie College site. (See the Brown-Mackie College item, above); 5. Request to authorize the mayor to enter into a Pitney Bowes postage machine lease;  and 6. Request for mid-year review of budget and finances, per fiscal policy.

To Public Safety:  1. Request to update the city’s Fire Code Ordinance; and 2. Request for a state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board retail liquor license application for El Pastrocito Mexican Foods, 406 West Valley Avenue.

Sign variance requests referred to committee:  The Special Issues Committee will hear sign variance requests for 1. An Allstate business at 832 Green Springs Highway; 2. Three Express Oil Change locations at 196 West Valley Avenue, 407 Hollywood Blvd., and 1717 27th Court South; and 3. for the Rodeway Inn at 260 Oxmoor Road.

Approved: The council approved a back-to-school sales tax holiday Aug. 2-4, 2013.

Approved:  Payment of invoices for April 8-April 19, 2013.

On April 29, the Public Safety Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m., the Finance Committee will meet at 6:00 p.m., and the Special Issues Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:50 p.m.


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