An enterprising TV cameraman came midway to find only a handful of spectators and the $2,500 trash can item already approved. Of note tonight, beside rescheduling the next meeting to avoid conflict with high school graduation, is a traffic study approved for the problematic Reese Street.
Members present: Michael Hallman, Fred Hawkins, Vance Moody, Britt Thames, Walter Jones, Barry Smith, Peter Wright, and council president Bruce Limbaugh. Also present was Homewood Mayor Scott McBrayer.
Members absent: Patrick McClusky and Alex Wyatt.
Staff present: City attorney Mike Kendrick, mayor’s chief of staff J. J. Bischoff, Melody Salter, interim city clerk, with assistant, and Vanessa McGrath and Greg Cobb, Engineering and Zoning Department.
Audience present: 10
Opened applications for a vacant Ward 3 library board seat. Former member Matt Chapman has moved. The application period will be closed at 5 p.m. May 20.
Dropped, by consent agenda, a request to remove the Cyprus evergreens between SOHO’s parking lot and 18th Street: The idea had been to make it easier to walk from SOHO to the main street.
Rescheduled the next meeting from May 23 to May 16: May 23 is the date of Homewood High School graduation.
(Related) Moved four public hearings from May 23, 2016, to June 27. The hearings set for the May 23 meeting, which is now rescheduled to May 16, were moved forward a month. Three include proposed rezonings related to properties annexed from Jefferson County last year in the wake of the furor over a digital billboard installed on Circle K property on the Homewood city line. The hearing includes that property, as 1250 Columbiana Road, and adjacent parcels at 35 West Lakeshore Drive, and One West Lakeshore Drive. Also to be heard are changes to the zoning book proposed and recommended by the Planning Commission on March 1.
Raised parking fines: Parking fines were raised from $5 to $20 and fines for parking in a fire lane raised from $20 to $100. Mr. Jones commented before the vote that although he agreed with the increase, he thought the city should do a better job keeping up to date with costs and raise fines, charges, fees, etc. up more incrementally.
Approved a cross walk for Clermont and Sutherland.
Approved an extra sign for for Stock & Trade Design Co. The upholstery, curtains, etc. business is at 3048 Independence Drive (U.S. 31).
Approved up to $8,500 to address Overton Park playground equipment: There have been complaints about the safety of new equipment, which is designed for 8-12 year-olds but may be dangerous for younger children. The expenditure is to reconfigure a climbing wall.
Voting no: Michael Hallman.
Approved up to $5,600 for a traffic study of Reese Street: The contract, which will go to Skipper Engineering, will be reduced by the city doing the traffic count portion of the job in-house. Reese Street has been the subject of controversy since the council, on the recommendation of the planning commission, rezoned a part of former A&P building for a brewery/taproom and future canning operation. The council later considered rezoning Reese Street itself under a form-based code to encourage a shopfront development with sidewalks and street lights. That idea was dropped and the connector between 18th Street and the Little Donkey, Octane and Steel City Pops businesses may be part of a larger Master Plan revision focusing on downtown Homewood.
Approved up to $2,500 for
a single four decorative trashcans downtown.
Approved up to $2,700 for an ad in Business Alabama Magazine.
Approved a franchise agreement to allow small cell phone transmitting equipment in the city right of way. Cell phone companies are turning to smaller transmitting equipment affixed to buildings, such as the Verizon antennae recently approved for the top of Dawson’s parking deck, to get signal in urban areas. This franchise for Crown Castle is for more such equipment. Mr. Thames noted that the Rec Center could use some better signal.
COMMITTEE REFERRAL AGENDA
To Finance – To consider 1) Declaring a 2003 Ford Expedition surplus property; and 2) Opening three city alleys to advance the ServisFirst construction.
To Public Safety– To discuss on street parking on Oxmoor Circle.
To Special Issues – To consider a fence variance at 600 Hambaugh Avenue.
OTHER NEW BUSINESS
Set June 27 public hearings before considering rezoning five Citation Court properties: The properties are the same that have been heard in the May Planning Commission meeting and recommended rezoning from Jefferson County I-1 (Light Industrial), to Homewood M-1, (Light Manufacturing District) after being annexed from Jefferson County last year.
Approved the levying of city taxes: This authorization to levy taxes and allow the county to collect them (for a charge) is done yearly as a matter of routine.
Approved or re-approved the homestead exemption on city property taxes.
Paid the bills: Invoices for the period April 23-May 6, 2016 were approved to be paid.