City Council, March 31, 2014 – The rest of the story

Homewood City CouncilAlthough Monday’s protracted Exceptional Foundation public hearing drew most of the council’s attention, members also conducted other business and entered an unusual executive session–the second in two months–to discuss “upcoming litigation.” Click here to read about the hearing. Continue below to read the “rest of the story” about Monday’s council business.

Members present: All-Michael Hallman, Britt Thames, Fred Hawkins, Vance Moody, Patrick McClusky, Walter Jones, Jenifer Champ Wallis, Heather Reid, Richard Laws, Peter Wright and council president Bruce Limbaugh.

Absent: Mayor Scott McBrayer

Staff present: City clerk Linda Cook, city attorney Mike Kendrick, mayor’s chief of staff J. J. Bischoff, Building, Engineering and Zoning staff Vanessa McGrath and Greg Cobb.

Audience attendance:  80+

Approved Jan. 27, 2014 minutes.

Set application deadline for Environmental Commission: The council set an April 14 deadline to fill a commission vacancy.

Council fails unanimous consent test to vote on Exceptional Foundation rezoning, matter carried over: As a check against hastily-passed legislation, law requires municipal ordinances to be presented at two separate meetings before a vote can be taken. The council can dispense with this rule only if the members unanimously consent to taking a vote without the second reading. In this case, councilman Hallman announced his intention to abstain from the final vote, and abstained as well on a vote for unanimous consent–ending the balloting until the next meeting, April 14. Later in the meeting the Exceptional Foundation plan was referred for further discussion to the Planning & Development Committee, which will meet at 6:30 p.m., Monday, April 7. 

Approved yet another sign variance for yet another version of Sticks ‘N Stuff:

The latest display incarnation of Sticks "N Stuff, aka Furniture Liquidators, briefly contemplated to be named Trader Bob's, and now planning to move from the showroom to the rear of the old Mazer property.

The latest display incarnation of Sticks “N Stuff, aka Furniture Liquidators, briefly contemplated to be named Trader Bob’s, and now planning to move from the showroom to the rear of the old Mazer property.

Despite the perpetually running “Going out of Business” sale at Furniture Liquidators, aka Sticks ‘N Stuff, at the old Mazer’s building at 816 Green Springs Highway, the business is still very much with us. However, it is changing its name and–according to real estate representative Chris Hoyt–also its location on the property. Furniture Liquidators will be moving from the front showroom to the rear of that building, next to the Jimmie Hale Mission thrift store. Since its last variance request before the council–after it violated the city’s sign ordinance, then violated the council’s three-month reprieve and submitted a design as Trader Bob’s –the owner has lighted on the name Stokhome. The property representative said they are working to improve the building.       

Passed a sign variance: The council passed a sign variance for a business at 2510 18th Street South, applicant listed as Jerry Spencer. No details.

Set College Street one-way during peak school traffic hours:  This measure was passed on a first reading on the unanimous consent of the council. Traffic on the road in front of Edgewood Elementary School will run one-way east, from Oxmoor Road to Broadway between 7:30-8:30 a.m. and 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Awarded a bid to purchase firefighter protection equipment: The council approved a contract purchasing undisclosed equipment chosen in a March 3 bid opening and costing roughly $1,920 per fighter. The fire chief has not yet answered emails asking for the number of items or description of the equipment. 

Agreed to pay $1,954 to “frost” jail windows for privacy: The police department got three informal prices before settling on a vendor.

Referring matters to various committees, as follows:

To Finance – 1) To consider an annual audit contract with RiverTree Systems, Inc.; 2) to consider an AT&T Business Local Calling contract; 3) To authorize the mayor to enter into an agreement with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc. for the resurfacing of Valley and West Valley Avenue in Homewood. The project is being funded with ALDOT road improvement funds; 4) To have compiled a detailed list of expenditures for completed sidewalks or those in progress from the Building, Engineering and Zoning Department from January 2013-March 2014 prior to authorizing contracts and expenditures; 5) To consider mayor’s request to enter into a contract with CM Food Services for Rosewood Hall; and 6) a budget amendment measure not made clear.

To Special Issues – 1) Preceding an April 14 public hearing (set later in the meeting), to consider a zoning variance allowing a fence on the front of property belonging to Simply Ponds located at 173 Oxmoor Road. The iron security fence was erected without a permit and requires a variance to be allowed to stay, according to city staff; 2) To consider, under the tree ordinance, removing a tree in the city’s right of way in front of 205 East Edgewood Drive and two trees from a city alley behind 1411 Primrose Place; 3) To consider a buffer at 1108 Columbiana Road; and 4) To consider a fall barbecue event?? details not clear.

To Public Safety – To consider adopting an ordinance prohibiting parking in an alley next to 21 Crest Drive.

[The Planning and Development Committee set an April 7 meeting at 6:30 p.m., to discuss further the Exceptional Foundation rezoning case.]

Approved a document requested in the sale of Brookwood Village by Colonial Realty to CAPREF Acquisitions:  The council, after an explanation from the city attorney, approved an “estoppel certificate” certifying that there was no default or outstanding complaint on a 2002 development agreement whereby the city contributed to the mall development in exchange for a road inside the property.

Approved closing Brookwood Lane for two events: Brookwood Village is hosting the Birmingham Reads Book Drive festival on Saturday, April 19 from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., with the activities open from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The road will also be closed for the Brookwood Live music series on the following Thursdays in May, May 1, May 8, May 15th May 22 and May 29. The events run from 5-9 p.m. with the road closures from 1-10 p.m.

Paid the bills: Invoices for March 3-March 28, 2014 were approved for payment.

Voted to enter an executive session to discuss “impending litigation”: There may be a lot of impending litigation the council was discussing, but the main one seems to be the complaint following the council’s 6-3 decision not to renew the business license for the America’s Best Value Inn & Suites on Oxmoor Road. The 3-hour hearing and final unfavorable vote resulted in an expected legal response from the Patel family, who own the aging hotel. A circuit judge awarded a temporary restraining order, allowing the business to operate legally while owners seek a review of the decision in a higher court.  The executive session lasted about 30 minutes, to 8:45 p.m., after which the council members returned to adjourn the meeting. “Impending litigation” is one of several exemptions to the state’s Open Meetings Act that allows public boards to meet in private.




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