The request for further schools and parks funding at the next Finance Committee meeting will illuminate the recent presentation for a system-wide schools expansion, park redevelopment, and probable relocation of the high school. Meanwhile, another expansion–of a second GianMarco’s restaurant to West Homewood–got everyone’s attention.
Members present: Michael Hallman, Britt Thames, Fred Hawkins, Vance Moody, Patrick McClusky, Walter Jones, Alex Wyatt, Rich Laws, and Peter Wright, presiding in place of council president Bruce Limbaugh. Also present was Mayor Scott McBrayer.
Absent: Barry Smith and Bruce Limbaugh
Staff present: Mike Kendrick, city attorney, Melody Salter, administrative assistant Aimee Lanier, finance director and city clerk, J.J. Bischoff, mayor’s chief of staff, and Greg Cobb, Building, Engineering and Zoning Department.
Audience attendance: 45 to start
Approved minutes of the Sept. 6, September 12, and September 26, 2016, council meetings.
By general consent, agreed to drop the following items from committee agendas: The council dropped the following either because the issue had been resolved, is in process, or doesn’t warrant further action, 1) Consideration of a waste water facility ordinance; and 2) A request to make improvements to an alley behind 509 Edgeland Place.
Set an Oct. 24 hearing on a request for increased school and park funding: The requests were made in person by school board member Nancy Ferren and Berkley Squires, the city’s public services superintendent, who manages Parks and Recreation. The request, for which there are “no specific numbers,” according to Ms. Ferren, follows a joint presentation two weeks ago by Mr. Squires and schools superintendent Bill Cleveland to suggest expansion plans at all three elementary schools and the middle school and a relocation of the high school to West Homewood property the city has already purchased adjacent to the West Homewood Park ballfields. The entire plan, produced by H. L. Harbert, is available on the city schools website. Before the hearing, the request will be taken up by the Finance Committee at its meeting Oct. 17.
Sent a $500,000 tax incentive proposal for a restaurant in West Homewood to committee after a first reading: The proposal to lure successful restaurateurs Giani and Marco Respinto to open a second location and casual dining restaurant in West Homewood was carried over to the next meeting and referred to the Finance Committee after failing to get a unanimous consent for immediate passage. The deal is a surprise culmination of years of negotiations, most of them confidential, with a handful of other developers for the lot at 165 Oxmoor Road, adjacent of Patriot Park. The city purchased the vacant lot–which was once occupied by a gas station with leaking storage tanks–to build a “catalyst” project that reflects the village-form zoning district and to spark neighborhood commercial development. Three other projects had failed to materialize, the most recent being a combined condominium development with Post Office Pies pizzeria on the ground level that brought mixed reviews from the neighborhood.
In this proposal, the owners of the popular GianMarco’s on Broadway would purchase the lot for $135,000 and gain up to $500,000 over 10 years in combined waivers of sales tax (1 penny of the 3-cent tax), business license tax (first three years of operation) and Homewood property tax. The extent of the monetary offer has raised questions, but no open objections. No one spoke against the proposal at tonight’s public hearing.
Mr. Respinto, a New Yorker himself, said he was inspired to open the New York-style neighborhood restaurant GianMarco’s in Edgewood when he saw the Broadway building 14 years ago. Tonight, he handed out proposed menus and sketched his new concept briefly as a family-friendly, casual restaurant with an open air bar area serving draft beer and wine, pizza, pasta dishes, salads and sandwiches, lots of patio space, indoor and lawn games.
Voting no to immediate consideration: Michael Hallman
Set an Oct. 24 work session to discuss sidewalk projects: The work session will be at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24, before the regular council meeting.
Set an Oct. 14 bid opening date to contract for janitorial services at certain city buildings:
Approved sidewalk construction and one-way traffic on a section of Rumson Road: The item had been carried over multiple times to find and review a past traffic study to determine if limiting the 500-block to one-way traffic would adversely affect traffic on neighboring streets. Tonight Mr. Cobb said the study was found but didn’t contain any traffic counts, just field observations that yes, there would be some impact one block in either direction of the one-way area. On a vote, it was decided to establish the one way section going north first, for safety of construction workers, and then install sidewalks on the east side of the street.
Deleted the Home Energy section of the 2016 International Building Code, adopted previously by the city of Homewood: No details.
Dropped an annexation request for two Shades Crest Road properties: The city attorney asked that the request to annex 913 and 1400 Shades Crest Road be dropped until problems with the legal description could be corrected. At an earlier meeting the attorney said the properties adjoined city of Hoover, making an annexation more complicated than if surrounded by Homewood jurisdiction.
Approved up to $13,000 for 13 additional trash cans for downtown streets: That’s right, $1,000 apiece.
Carried over a franchise agreement with Level 3 Communications: The company hasn’t been prepared at two prior meetings.
Denied a Bingo Permit for a non-profit: The permit would have been been used to benefit the non-profit Agape House. The vote to deny followed an unfavorable vote from the Public Safety Committee.
Awarded Weil Wrecker the city wrecker/towing contract: No contract terms were announced.
Awarded Vulcan Park Animal Care the city animal control contract: The three-year contract is a renewal for the local veterinary practice to act as the city’s impound for stray animals.
Granted an exception to the sign ordinance on Green Springs Highway: The building at 150 Green Springs Highway adorned with concrete dolphins has been a dozen different businesses, the former Darryl’s restaurant in the 1980s, the Original Steakhouse & Sports Theater, Wing Out, and a waterbed store, to name a few. The seafood restaurant about to open there was allowed multiple sign variances to overcome visibility problems at the top of the hill, set back from the street.
Set a Nov. 14 public hearing about established one-way traffic on Ardsley Road.
Approved an engineering contract for the Valley Avenue repaving: The engineering work will be reimbursed at 100%, but the total cost wasn’t mentioned.
Approved signals to the cross walk on Oxmoor/Peerless intersection: There was no discussion of cost or the exact placement of the crossing signs. However, a similar project on Oxmoor Road and and Oak Grove Road cost
Voted support for a state ABC board retail liquor license for Michael’s restaurant: The restaurant in Aloft at 1903 29th Avenue South has changed hands and management companies multiple times. The new company is the Basar Group, LLC.
COMMITTEE REFERRAL AGENDA
To Finance – Considered requests for 1) Closing a loan for Capital Purchases not to exceed $710,000; 2) Funding FY2016 surplus from General Fund to Capital Projects Fund after employee bonuses are paid; 3) Redeeming the City’s 2007 and a portion of 2012 General Obligation Warrants; and 4) Additional funding for the consultants identifying the odor problem at Buffalo Rock or Barber dairy in West Homewood.
To Public Safety – Consider requests for 1) Supporting an application for an On- or Off-premises state beer and wine ABC board license for the Black Pearl Asian Cuisine restaurant at 180 State Farm Parkway; and 2) Supporting an application for an Off-premises retail beer and wine ABC board license for Fred’s Store at 234 Green Springs Highway.
OTHER NEW BUSINESS
Authorized, in a 6-3 split vote, an FY 2017 contract with the Birmingham Jefferson Transit Authority: The council’s disdain for BJCTA is well known and was reported here in a protracted series of hearings with BJCTA authorities after the FY2015 budget was passed and funding cut in half (and then reinstated) to “get their attention.” Most recently, Mr. Wright said the city is pursuing its own transportation system, a topic covered by al.com. Click here for a look at last year’s transit resolution, proposed new bus routes in the city and recent history of conflict, dating to September 22, 2014.
Voting no to the yearly renewal: Britt Thames, Michael Hallman, Patrick McClusky.
Dropped an item to revoke support for a liquor license and deny a business license renewal for West City Disco: The business at 283 West Valley Avenue must have cleaned up its act since the item went on the agenda. There was no discussion or explanation given.
Paid the bills: Invoices for the period September 26-October 9, 2016, were approved to be paid.