The biggest news wasn’t approved tonight or even on the agenda. Council members report from the city attorney that the repeat-offending public nuisance house at 1106 Irving Street — owned by and absentee property owner — has been sold to two buyers on Mecca Avenue (?-buyers’ information is subject to correction) whose plans include demolishing the deteriorating house and other structure, redrawing the property into at least four lots and building two houses for themselves personally and selling the other two. The absentee owner’s decision to sell was pressured by a lawsuit the council approved on August to collect on approximately $20,000 in clean-up and other services the city has spent in multiple nuisance proceedings. All of this information is subject to a successful closing on the property purchase.
Members present: Michael Hallman, Britt Thames, Fred Hawkins, Barry Smith, Heather Reid, Richard Laws, and Peter Wright acting as president in Mr. Limbaugh’s absence. Mayor Scott McBrayer was also present.
Members absent: Vance Moody, Patrick McClusky, Walter Jones and council president Bruce Limbaugh.
Staff present: City clerk Linda Cook, city attorney Mike Kendrick, mayor’s chief of staff J. J. Bischoff, and city Building, Engineering and Zoning manager Greg Cobb.
Audience attendance: 9
Approved minutes of the Sept. 8, 2014 meeting
Environmental Commission seat filled: The council appointed Jonathan Hunt of Ward 4 to an at-large vacancy of the Homewood Environmental Commission. Mr. Hunt was an unsuccessful applicant for the recent Ward 4 council seat vacated by Ms. Wallis.
Carried over to Nov. 17 meeting: Ideas for using South Forest Drive for overflow parking for perennially congested GianMarco’s restaurant on Broadway will be postponed until next meeting due to the absence of Ward 3 councilman Mr. Jones.
Continued a Waffle House sign variance hearing: The hearing, opened at the last meeting and carried over because the business wasn’t prepared was carried over again.
Approved part and postponed part of a contentious sign variance case: A representative of the newly rebranded Tire Engineers at 215 Green Springs Highway, part of a chain recently bought by Birmingham’s Express Oil Change, returned with a compromise sign proposal that pleased the council, although they still weighed in considerably with their own design ideas, delaying a final vote on the base of the main sign until next meeting. The business had proposed erecting a pole sign against the council’s preference for low, ground-anchored “monument” signs, although members had allowed a moratorium on pole signs to lapse. Tire Engineers last week reluctantly
agreed to return with compromise, pictured, which would be installed on the north end of the property. The 35-40-foot double pole sign will be removed and replaced with a 15-foot sign, as pictured. Although the wording portion of the sign was approved, the council wants the base to be made of brick or stone rather than aluminum, as planned. Also approved were additional attached, illuminated signs on the front and back of the building, and four titles over bay doors.
Set or reiterated Nov. 17 hearings on the following public nuisance cases: properties at 1602 Ridge Road and 924 Irving Road have been cited for excessive growth of weeds and other health violations.
Set or reiterated the Dec. 1 hearing on the Islamic Academy rezoning: In a complicated case involving a past permit violation and a substantial land remediation case, the Islamic Academy is asking to rezone 4+ acres it purchased adjacent to its Rosedale facility from commercial to institutional use. It is further asking the city to vacate an unused road right-of-way that runs through the property. Click here for the full case. The Planning Commission approved the rezoning 6-0 earlier in the year.
Approved a series of budget amendments to the budget year just ended: The amendments acknowledge the payment of $350,000 in bonuses from a year-end surplus, a refund that will help cover the expense of new “wireless devices,” and a $125,000 positive adjustment for sales tax to the Board of Education, among other things discussed earlier in committee.
Approved $6,200 for an engineering consult on the roundabout near All Saints church: It’s not totally clear what the fix will be, but Skipper Consulting will be paid to analyze the matter and make recommendations.
Authorized acceptance of a fire department grant: The council authorized the mayor to accept a Life Saver grant and to transfer the funds to a Fire Grant Capital fund.
Voted in support of a special liquor license for a Brookwood Hospital food service: The city approved a “160-Special Retail” liquor license application for Morrison Management Specialist, which will allow hospital executives to literally “wine” and dine special guests on campus.
Approved a parking pad in city ROW for a private resident: A homeowner at 210 St. Charles requested he be allowed to build a parking pad on what is actually city right-of-way on Highland Road for the safety of his wife who is about to have a baby. The parking situation is apparently on an incline or otherwise dangerous. The council allowed it.
Committee Referral Agenda
This agenda allows new matters to be referred to appropriate committees in a single council vote, as follows:
To Finance– To consider 1) Declaring as surplus in order to sell or otherwise dispose of them, two .1994 Internationals, an incomplete 1998 International to be sold for parts, an incomplete 1994 Giant Vac Engine to be sold for parts, a staff-built trailer, a 1994 F-150 pickup truck and a 1994 Blazer; 2) Authorizing an “Estoppel Certificate” on a 2007 deed due to the sale of (Aloft Hotel) at 1903 29th Avenue South by Homewood Hotel Associates LLC to IHP Homewood LLC. This action relates to conditions the city placed on the sale of its former city hall location for a hotel, requiring a 6% return on the business’ first $1.6 million. The business has apparently neared or passed that mark.
To Public Safety – To consider 1) Removing yellow lines and turn lane at the intersection of Oxmoor Road and Edgeview Boulevard; 2) Options for alleviating traffic problems on the steep incline at the high school; and 3) Authorizing the mayor to sign a $10,000 grant (or application?) for police department in-car computer devices.
Other new business
Passed a short-term loan measure to facilitate an already approved loan for vehicles: The so-called “Bank Loan Reimbursement” resolution allows the city to borrow money for a bucket truck that was one of many vehicles slated to be purchased with a $1.4 million loan, to be finalized in January. Apparently, money had to be made available immediately, as it was moved from committee directly to New Business.
Paid the bills: Bills were approved to be paid for the period Oct. 27-31, 2014