A routine meeting in which an issue over limiting height of Homewood houses seems to be gathering steam from both sides. A Planning Commission subcommittee will hear from residents, builders and other affected parties at a 5 p.m. meeting, Tuesday, July 19, in the council chambers.
Members present: Michael Hallman, Britt Thames, Fred Hawkins, Vance Moody, Patrick McClusky, Walter Jones, Patrick McClusky, Barry Smith, Alex Wyatt, Peter Wright, and council president Bruce Limbaugh. Also present was Mayor Scott McBrayer.
Absent: Richard Laws
Staff present: City attorney Mike Kendrick, mayor’s chief of staff J. J. Bischoff, Melody Salter, city clerk and finance director, with assistants, and Vanessa McGrath and Greg Cobb, city Engineering and Zoning Department.
Audience present: 12
Addressed several board vacancies: The council voted to appoint sole applicant John Krontiras to the Ward 3 library board seat. Vacant Ward 1, Ward 2 and one at-large seat were announced open on the Arts Advisory Council. Applicants can submit a resume and letter of interest to the city clerk.
The council dropped the following items from committee agendas: 1) A Request to fence an open ditch at 1542 and 1544 Somerset Drive; 2) A request to consider problems related to contractor practices, such as parking and waste containers; and 3) A request to consider a feasibility study for a new public safety building, because the council was in agreement to go forward without studying funding mechanisms.
Carried over changes to the single family residential code that limits building height, and other changes: Click here for the original April 5 Planning Commission background on these amendments, which seek to simplify some building calculations and also place height limits on houses. The council tonight voted for a second time to carry over any decision after builders got wind of the proposed limits at the June 13 meeting and complained they would encourage flattened roof lines so owners could create enough square footage to justify their investments. Those concerns prompted the council to call a formal committee hearing earlier tonight, where general contractors, architects, designers and residents weigh in, sometimes emotionally, on whether the city needed limits on house size, given the increasing land value in parts of Homewood and complaints about tear-down fever, and second floors are being added to tiny cottages.
After discussion, the committee favored a minimum 1,200 square footage requirement and requested a Planning Commission subcommittee work session on July 19 at 5 p.m. to receive suggestions, questions and information from builders and architects along with samples of houses they have done with various roof lines in order to determine a new building height. Such suggestions and information should be funneled through Vanessa McGrath in the zoning office.
Approved the rezoning of five Citation Court properties annexed last year from Jefferson County. The details of this long-running were reported in the April 5 Planning Commission meeting.
Agreed to let the police chief negotiate a price on patrol rifles with the single bidder. Without naming the vendor, the chief asked to reject the bid and negotiate a price.
Carried over consideration of mosquito control options: Staff are trying to find out a source for mosquito larvicide donuts or “dunks” that can be distributed to residents and parks employees to place where water collects. The conversation is being carried over to keep it alive on the agenda.
Continued setting a July 11 hearing for several sign variance requests: The variances are requested at 2700 19th Place South; 135 West Valley Avenue; 929 Oxmoor Road; and 2910 18th Street South.
Approved work to be completed in the city right of way: The council will allow Our Lady of Sorrows church to build a parallel parking area in front of the entrance at 1728 Oxmoor Road that is inset from the road by seven feet, and at a cost to itself. To do so, the church will demolish and then rebuild the city sidewalk around the inset parking area.
Denied a request to accept a donated parcel on Greenhill Drive: This matter involves a resident’s request to obtain a piece of vacant property adjacent to her residence at 628 Greenhill Drive, a lot at the dead-end of a street that was purchased for highway right-of-way in the mid 1960s. The owner of the vacant piece of land originally sought to donate it to the city, which was declined in order for the homeowner to acquire it for herself.
Approved city participation in the Back to School tax holiday: The city will participate in the statewide “Back-to- School” sales tax holiday on August 5-7, 2016.
Approved a franchise agreement for small cell phone technology: The 10 year agreement with Access Fiber Group, a telecommunications company allows small signal transmission equipment to be installed on city rights of way.
Approved moving money from one fund to another, as approved by the Finance Committee: No details were given.
Set a July 11 bid opening date to purchase tasers: Bid are due at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, July 8 and will be opened the following Monday at 5 p.m.
The council denied the purchase price offer for property by Patriot Park: The city-owned property at 165 Oxmoor Road has been for sale and in play for a commercial development since at least early 2014. A committee last week went into executive session to hear information from the city attorney regarding the latest offer. Tonight’s vote was the council’s formal vote to deny the offer. The city awaits a followup offer from the developer, which has proposed a three-story structure with condominiums and a restaurant, possibly a Post Office Pies. There are numerous links and reports. For the latest on a rival proposal that also covers the history of negotiations, all the documents from both parties, and the current prospective buyer, click here.
Approved a resolution in favor of appropriating $2.3 million to begin a roads repaving/preservation project: The $4 million/8-year roads repair/reclamation/preservation project was pitched by Volkert Engineering after it completed a $40,000 contract to inspect, grade and recommend plans for nearly 100 miles of city streets. This project has been in the works over the past 18 months. Click here for details of the plan.
COMMITTEE REFERRAL AGENDA
To Finance– To consider A) Waiving property lien of $87.67 for property located at 2516 17th Street South; B) Requesting janitorial services and setting a bid date; C) Requesting changes in the Nationwide 457 Plan Document to allow employees to borrow from their accounts; and D) Increasing funds to the Skipper Consulting traffic study on Reese Street.
To Public Safety – To consider A) Addressing speeding and traffic concerns on Saulter Road; and B) Funding a street light on 16th Place South (also added to Finance).
To Public Works – To consider A) Allowing work in the city right-of-way at 1817 Oxmoor Road.
OTHER NEW BUSINESS
Declared a police motorcycle surplus and due to be sold: 2007 Harley FLHP.
Paid the bills: Invoice for the period June 11-26 were approved to be paid.
Authorized a an Emergency Services Contract with Red Clay Bar & Event Services LLC: The vote authorized the mayor to enter into a contract to manage and operate the city’s Rosewood Hall facility.
Declared vehicles surplus and due to be sold: Declared surplus were a 2001 Chevy Truck with 187,000 miles; and a 2003 Ford Windstar with 83,515 miles, belonging to the public services department.
Voted support of a state liquor license application for Red Clay Bar & Event Services.