City Council meeting, Aug. 12, 2013

Homewood City CouncilThis nearly two-hour meeting began with a lengthy discussion of the efforts between Homewood and Mountain Brook to fund the construction of a pedestrian bridge over U.S. 280 on Hollywood Boulevard, a somewhat controversial re-adoption of its fire codes, and a long list of public nuisance cases, and the rare annexation of a single house. Among the important announcements are the mayor’s budget presentation set for the Aug. 26 meeting and a work session to sift through the

There are two sides at least to the city's move to adopt the less stringent 2009 International Fire Code.

There are two sides at least to the city’s move to adopt the less stringent 2009 International Fire Code.

fire codes:  The adoption readoption (at this Aug. 12 meeting) of the 2009 International Building and Fire Codes means the city has initially dropped its older but more stringent amendments to the code, pending a “line by line” review by the council and fire officials. The council then may– or may not — opt to re-adopt these measures as well, which included a requirement to sprinkle commercial buildings over 10,000 sf, opposed by several city businesses.

The city and the Homewood Board of Education have finally agreed to split the $15,000 cost to the Alabama Symphony Orchestra for a free concert at Central Park Sept. 28, along with various other school activities.

The Chamber of Commerce presented cookware mementos (?) to council members from the newly opened Restaurant Depot in Wildwood.

Members present: Bruce Limbaugh, council president, Michael Hallman, Britt Thames, Vance Moody, Fred Hawkins, Patrick McClusky, Jenifer Champ Wallis, Heather Reid, Richard Laws, and Peter Wright. Mayor Scott McBrayer was also present.

Members absent: Walter Jones

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

Audience attendance: 25 to start

All votes were unanimous.

Approved:  Minutes of the last meeting.

Old Business

Sent pedestrian bridge proposal back to Finance Committee after extensive discussion: The foot bridge would cross over U.S. 280 on Hollywood Boulevard, paralleling the current vehicle bridge, to provide a safer route for pedestrians.  Gerald Skipper of Skipper Consulting gave a presentation in which he explained that there was currently a $612,950.00 budgeted Transportation Enhancement Grant available for the project, of which 80% would be reimbursed by the Alabama Department of Transportation.  The city of Mountain Brook has capped its financial commitment at $65,000.00. Mr. Skipper said that the city needed to do four things to move forward: (1) Complete its grant application; (2) Obtain a letter of commitment from Mountain Brook;  (3) Create its own letter of commitment; and (4) Obtain an engineer’s more specific cost estimates.

The Finance Committee has already received four proposals and intends to request from them more detailed proposals. There was some concern that Homewood would be required under the terms of the grant to pay all of the contractor’s costs up front and wait on reimbursement.

Mayor McBrayer also intends to reach out to Mountain Brook’s mayor to determine whether Mt. Brook has, or is willing to adopt, a resolution to split the non-matching moneys.

Approved:  Stop signs and two crosswalks at the intersection of Broadway Street and Morris Boulevard.

Approved:  Moving the Kick’n Chick’n Wingfest to the second level of the parking deck behind SoHo.

Approved:  The council voted to put an additional stop sign at Laurel Place and Primrose Place.

Approved resolution supporting funding to begin West Homewood

An artist's rendering of a redeveloped corner of Oak Grove Road and Raleigh Avenue under the West Homewood Village redevelopment plan. Portions of the streetscape and other improvements may be put in the upcoming city budget.

An artist’s rendering of a redeveloped corner of Oak Grove Road and Raleigh Avenue under the West Homewood Village redevelopment plan. The council voted its support to fund Phase I of the plan,  recommending that the mayor’s budget appropriate money for some streetscaping and surveying parcel #3 (at the dead-end of Gillon Street on Oxmoor Road.

Approved:  Stop signs will be installed at Primrose Place and East Linwood Drive.

Approved:  A variance allowing a replacement fence to be installed on the back and side yards at 300 Windsor Drive, on the motion of Ms. Wallis with Ward 5 councilman Peter Wright seconding. Alabama Power Co. had removed a portion of this fence. The appearance of the replacement had caused some neighborhood controversy leading up to the favorable vote.

Approved a sign variance for McDonald’s: McDonald’s will be allowed to install three smaller signs at 818 Green Springs Highway and agreed to “rework” its pole sign to bring it more in line with the city’s goal to shift to “monument signs.” There is currently a city-wide moratorium on allowing new pole signs.

Approved several fund transfers: On the Finance Committee’s recommendation, the council approved the following transfers: $3,500 from Uniforms to Equipment Repair;  $7,500 from Carryover Balance to pay the Alabama Symphony Orchestra: $500 from Maintenance Contracts to Fuel Lubricants; and $200 from Maintenance Contracts to Vehicle Maintenance.

Approved:  On a recommendation of the Finance Committee, seconded by Ms. Reid, the council re-approved its decision to demolish the building at 90 Bagby Drive. The site is planned to be used for overflow parking for Brown-Mackie College.

Approved new fire codes, with conditions: The 2009 International Building and Fire Codes were passed, with the understanding that the city and fire officials may recommend changes to strengthen them. An Aug. 26 work session has been set to go over the new code.

Carried over: The request by Brown-Mackie College to lease 90 Bagby (after demolition, see above) from the city for its overflow parking was carried over so the college could submit a new request.

Carried over: An ongoing request to possibly sell for a car wash city-owned property (owned by the Loo family and condemned by the city 12 years ago) at the Publix Shopping Center was carried over without discussion.

Approved: A section of the south side of Stuart Street from St. Charles Street to Evergreen Avenue will be designated a no parking site and the curb painted yellow.

Declared the following overgrown properties public nuisances: 1. The

Not a pretty picture. The Alta Hotel is one of many aging buildings declared public nuisances off West Valley Avenue. This one was rezoned recently for an assisted living facility.

Not a pretty picture. The Alta Vista Hotel is one of many aging buildings declared public nuisances off West Valley Avenue. This one was rezoned recently for an assisted living facility.

old Alta Vista Hotel at 260 Goodwin Crest Drive – The council had talked to no avail to the owners about cutting down vegetation in the back of the building, considered a fire hazard. The building was recently rezoned to be redeveloped as an assisted living facility. 2. 301 Goodwin Crest Drive; 65 Bagby Drive, and 55 Bagby Drive.

Postponed nuisance proceedings: A family member of the owner of 837 Grove Street has agreed to start clearing off the property.

Public hearing set Aug. 26: The public will have a chance to air its views on the West Homewood “Village” redevelopment plan as has been incorporated into the Homewood Master Plan, and also on related rezonings of Section EE.

Approved the Committee Referral Agenda, as follows: To Public Safety – Consideration to support an application for a state liquor license at La Cantina Mexican Cantina, 230 State Farm Parkway; and to conduct a traffic study regarding speed control on Saulter Road;  To Public Works – Consideration of a two-part proposal for tree canopy preservation and native tree planting; and To Finance – Consideration of fire department line item budget transfers.

Public hearings set Aug. 26 on the following cases: 1.  Front yard fence at 116 East Glenwood Drive, after referral to Special Issues Committee; and hearings set for public nuisance cases at 1613 25th Court South, 1612 25th Court South, 2516 17th Street South and 1623 25th Terrace South.

Approved a house annexation: On a motion by Mr. Hallman and second by Ms. Wallis, the house at 1644 Dobbs Lane was annexed into Homewood.  Claire Noelle Stewart and William Stewart requested annexation.

Approved a pest control contract: The council authorized the mayor to enter a contract with Cook’s Pest Control for $45/month.

Approved payment of invoices: July 22-Aug. 9 invoices were paid after Ms. Wallis reviewed them.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:58 p.m.

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