City Council meeting, Feb. 22, 2016

The new facade and lettering of the former Mazer's building shows the result of the council's work to beautify signage in the city.

The new facade and lettering of the former Mazer’s building shows the result of the council’s hard work awarding variances to beautify the city’s commercial areas. Tonight, the council granted a variance for another display sign on at the shopping center’s entrance.

The council focused most of its deliberations and flair for design tonight on considering, and then granting, various exemptions to the city’s sign regulations. The appearance of the old Mazer’s location, therefore, will now be much improved. A work session was called for 6:45 p.m. on Monday, March 14, to review development proposals for a city-owned lot by Patriot Park.

Members present: Michael Hallman, Fred Hawkins, Vance Moody, Patrick McClusky, Walter Jones, Barry Smith, Alex Wyatt, Peter Wright and council president Bruce Limbaugh. Also present was Homewood Mayor Scott McBrayer.

Members absent: Barry Smith and Rich Laws.

Staff present: City clerk Linda Cook, city attorney Mike Kendrick, mayor’s chief of staff J. J. Bischoff, Greg Cobb, Building, Engineering and Zoning Department, and Melody Salter, finance director.

Audience attendance: 19

Re-appointed two members to the city’s Cable Commission:  Sarah Boehme for Ward 4, and Renee Williams for Ward 2.

CONSENT AGENDA

Agreed to review the city’s noise ordinance.

OLD BUSINESS AGENDA

Is it a monument sign, or a monumental sign? A variance granted tonight allows this extra sign at the entrance to the former Mazer property. A sign in front of Jimmie Hale will probably have to come down.

Is it a monument sign, or a monumental sign? A variance granted tonight allows this extra sign at the entrance to the former Mazer property. A sign in front of Jimmie Hale will probably have to come down.

Approved an exemption for an extra shopping center sign at entrance to the former Mazer property:  Property owner Dunn Real Estate asked for and received approval for an extra sign that is vertical, 22.5 feet high and back-lit, but which still meets the city’s definition of a “monument sign,” the lower, more understated alternative to pole signs, which the city banned last year. At the same time last year, the city did away with ugly shopping center “pylon” signs, which resemble the sign approved tonight except for the solid structure at its base.

In discussion, Mr. Cobb said he remembered that the developer had traded its sign allowance for extra large Pep Boys and Ollie’s signs instead of an entrance monument, but council members didn’t remember the conversation. The city’s parks superintendent had already approved removal of an ornamental tree to allow the sign to be installed at the location. Finally, it was also discovered that if the Jimmie Hale Mission sign were taken down, Dunn could erect the entrance sign with no variance whatsoever. Nevertheless, the current variance was passed, with one abstention.

Abstaining:  Vance Moody because his employer has projects before the sign manufacturer, Fravert.

Approved, with one abstention, a variance allowing two signs where a Samford road splits, leading to Time, Inc. (Southern Progress): The two single-sided signs are instead of one double-sided sign.

Abstaining: Vance Moody because his employer has projects before the sign manufacturer, Fravert.

Opened and then continued a public hearing about a front yard fence requested on Wellington Road: The property is located at 1732 Wellington Road. One neighbor spoke against the proposed fence, saying it would open the door for other requests, mar the looks of the neighborhood, and perhaps require gating the driveway, thereby forcing the owners to park on the narrow street. The owner wasn’t present and the hearing was continued to the first meeting in March.

COMMITTEE REFERRAL AGENDA

To Finance – To consider declaring city property surplus, and due to be sold as follows: A Champion/Gardner Denver Shop Air Compressor; 2) Champion Air Dryer; Champion Air Reservoir Tank; and 2) Entering a maintenance agreement with Trane for City Hall.

To Public Works – To consider 1) Road improvements on Mayfair Drive between Whitehall and U.S. 31 and of installing sidewalks on Mayfair; and 2) Allowing BJCTA to install a bus shelter in right-of-way at 36 Barber Court.

To Public Safety – To consider 1) Signing off on a state beer and wine retail license for the new Mr. Chen’s Asian Supermarket at 808 Green Springs Highway; 2) Signing off on state beer and wine retail licenses for Circle K Stores at 821 and 400 Green Springs Highway (change of ownership from Kangaroo); 3) Signing off on a state beer and wine retail license for a gas station on 317A West Valley Avenue, with ownership change to AAMR Inc. dba Homewood Fuel–AND for the same company dba Homewood Package, a Lounge Retail Liquor license at 317B West Valley.

Dropped – An item for reviewing whether to put reflectors on commercial garbage containers in the city right-of-way was dropped when it was learned that such containers weren’t allowed in the right of way at all.

To Special Issues – To consider passing an ordinance regulating short-term rental properties in city limits.

OTHER NEW BUSINESS

Approved a contract for E-911 Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and mapping services for the fire department. No cost assigned to the contract.

Approved a three-year contract for landfill services: The city rejected bids requested in December, including low bidder Santek, while it negotiated for a renewed three-year contract at a better price (not discussed) with the Adamsville Solid Waste Authority. The ASWA governs the state’s largest landfill, Big Sky, in north Jefferson County.

Paid the bills: Invoices for the period Feb. 8-Feb. 19, 2016 were approved to be paid.

The new ServisFirst headquarters will be situated near the Embassy Suites on commercial property overlooking Rosedale.

The new ServisFirst headquarters will be situated near the Embassy Suites on commercial property overlooking Rosedale.

Allowed ServisFirst to work in the city right-of-way to clear two “paper” alleys: For more on the contested April 2015 ServisFirst decision, project click here.

Set a March 14 public hearing for a sign variance at #1 Lakeshore Drive.

Approved a fiber optic franchise for utilities serving Samford University: The 5-year franchise is granted to Windstream KDL, LLC.

Approved a three-way stop at Oak Grove and Raleigh Avenue: A city-run traffic study showed the intersection warranted the stop signs, which have been added to the original plan. 

Approved the expense of a street light on St. Charles Street between Stuart and Highland: The cost is $102/yearly.

Approved an amendment to the current budget: No details.

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