City Council work session, June 10, 2013, sidewalks III

Homewood City CouncilRoll call came at 4:55, after waiting on quorum to appear. Once in session, the council postponed action on a Sterrett Avenue/Columbiana Road sidewalk plan, sent a Mecca Street project out for bids and, after no clear plan presented itself as a clear favorite with residents, voted to approve a Roseland Drive sidewalk on the north side of the street.

Members present: Council president Bruce Limbaugh, Jenifer Champ Wallis, Fred Hawkins, Patrick McClusky, Michael Hallman, and Britt Thames.  (Peter Wright arrived at 5:30.)

Members absent:  Vance Moody, Walter Jones, Heather Reid and Richard Laws.

Staff present:  Linda Cook, city clerk; Vanessa McGrath, Greg Cobb and Jim Wyatt, city Building, Engineering and Zoning staff; city attorney Mike Kendrick.

Audience attendance:  7

All votes were unanimous.

Postponed for clarification of right-of-way issues:  A cross walk at Sterrett and Columbiana was discussed but no action taken until Publix shopping center right-of-way issues were clarified.

Sent out for public bid:  The council approved a 700-foot sidewalk along Mecca and Peerless Avenue, which will require removing trees and building retaining walls of various heights, some with handrails on the steepest parts of the street.

Approved:  A sidewalk in Woodland Park measuring 624 feet.  No obstructions or special requirements are needed.  Cost estimated at $22,599.  

Approved:  A sidewalk on Kent Drive/Grove Street near Hall Kent Elementary, which was placed on the high priority list at a previous meeting, was approved.

Approved (finally):  The ongoing debate over the Roseland Drive sidewalk — termed a “no ideal solution” issue — ended with a unanimous vote to go ahead with plans to build on the north side of the street (nearer Oxmoor Road).  Ms.  Champ Wallis said she and Ms. Reid in Ward 4 were in favor of this version as the more economical and logical connector for pedestrian traffic. Construction on the north side would avoid parking and drainage problems, and an expensive build-out of sidewalks into the street (with construction estimates at $50,000-$100,000 compared to about $32,000 for the north side plan.)

Four residents came to oppose the sidewalks, citing potential property value loss by reducing front yards, removing trees and having to build retaining walls in some areas. One resident asked to review a traffic plan before construction began; another resident engaged in heated discussion regarding whether a sidewalk would even be used. Ms. Champ Wallis said she and Ms. Reid had gathered sufficient input from all residents and moved to go forward with the north side construction, which the council unanimously approved.

The meeting was adjourned before the council’s regular meeting at 6 p.m.

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