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January 21, 2003
Commission Meeting Notes
AGENDA SETTING SESSION
PROPOSED CHANGE IN SOLID WASTE LEAF AND LIMB PICKUP REQUIREMENTS. This appears to be a change from allowing people to put their leaves and yard waste in non-biodegradable plastic bags for leaf and limb pickup. The plastic gets into the mulch that Solid Waste generates, and furthermore plastic can't continue to be added to the landfill, because of EPD regulations. There seemed to be general support. Commissioner Kathy Hoard expressed concern that paper bags are more expensive than plastic, and that this might cause a hardship for low-income residents.
PROPOSED CHANGE TO NOISE ORDINANCE. This would tighten our present, somewhat convoluted, noise ordinance. The current ordinance is similar to others that have been struck down in other jurisdictions. The new ordinance uses a different standard to determine what level of noise is acceptable. Commissioner Carl Jordan pointed out that this ordinance is really a "party" ordinance, and applies only to noise created by amplification devices; i.e., it would not regulate construction noise, commercial noise, leafblowers, etc. Suggestion was made that leafblower noise would be better controlled by limiting hours of operation. Commissioner George Maxwell expressed concern that regulating leafblowers could force a lot of small businesses to close. Commissioner Jordan suggested that leafblowers might need to be regulated not so much because of noise but because of the seeming unwillingness or inability of commercial yard service crews to refrain from illegally blowing leaves into the streets, thus clogging the sewers and costing the taxpayers money. He also suggested that restricting the hours for residential neighborhoods would make better neighbors.
NPDES PHASE II PERMIT APPLICATION. ACC is required, under the Clean Water Act, to apply for a permit to discharge wastewater, and we must show that we are taking appropriate steps to reduce pollutants in order to receive the permit. The application must be filed by March 10, 2003. Transportation & Public Works has prepared a plan to manage stormwater for pollutants. (Information is available at: http://www.athensclarkecounty.com/~stormwater/ ) Commissioner States McCarter expressed his opinion that ACC should help homeowners deal with stormwater problems on their land when ACC actions have caused the stormwater problems.
ADOPTION OF FY04 BUDGET GOALS.
Commission Discussion: Commissioner Cardee Kilpatrick said she had a problem with considering raising police pay, until we see whether recent raises "work." She also doesn't want any changes made to the formula for our funding of the Classic Center and the Athens Regional Medical Center. Commissioner David Lynn said that it was appropriate to review the hospital funding formula. Commissioner John Barrow pointed out that the funding formulas were devised during times when the budget was not stretched so thin. The hospital receives funding from the State and Medicare to pay for indigent care; cutting the ACC subsidy would not cause the hospital to stop providing indigent care.
BARNETT SHOALS ROAD WIDENING.
Commission discussion centered on newly presented information from the GA DOT, indicating that the $3.1 million in State funds (which were available if ACC had followed GA DOT's safety concerns in designing the project) are no longer available [apparently because of technicalities regarding the procedure ACC followed in acquiring right-of-way]. Commissioner Barrow argued for building the road in a safer manner than currently designed.
OPEN BURNING BAN. Commissioners Kilpatrick and Charles Carter complained that this (and the following two items) was added at the last minute. Commissioner Jordan explained that he had been asking for this item to be placed on the agenda for a long time, and had it prepared in plenty of time to make it into the Agenda Notebooks, but that it was left out through an oversight. He explained that the regulations would essentially extend the State's 6-month open burning ban throughout the year. The point of the ban is public health: airborne silicates from open burning are carcinogens.
PROPOSED MORATORIUM ON LARGE SCALE DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT.
PROPOSED MORATORIUM ON DEVELOPMENTS IN MULTIFAMILY ZONES.
These were discussed together. Commissioner Barrow thanked the Mayor for allowing these items to be brought for discussion. He has been asking for these items to be put on the agenda for years, and discussion is long overdue. Time is of the essence because of the major, irreversible effects these types of projects could have. Commissioner Lynn agreed that these were timely issues, and said that the Commission must proceed carefully and do this right, with everyone's input. Commissioner Jordan said that he was glad that the process was beginning tonight, and that if Commissioners didn't feel comfortable voting on the issue at the Feb. 4 meeting they could move to push the vote back to the March meeting. There was discussion about needing to define the terms "large scale" and "downtown."
250 LEM EDWARDS RD. This proposal by Williams & Assoc. is a low-density development - 1 unit per 7 acres on 136 acres - but is a typical subdivision layout. The open space is subdivided and would be owned by individual landowners, and would essentially consist of large back yards. This would require a management plan that the Homeowners Association would have to enforce. Commissioner Carl Jordan thought this was an innovative concept and expressed that he was not comfortable with the current situation whereby a Homeowners' Association owns the land and can convey the easement to a Land Trust, because the HA may cease to exist. Commissioner Tom Chasteen said he felt that this plan does violence to the concept of Conservation Subdivisions, both because of the design and because of the subdivision of the open space.
SPRING VALLEY RD. This proposal, also by Williams & Assoc., would put 289 lots on 289 acres. 119 of the lots would have no access to the open space, and placement of many of the lots would require destroying significant tree stands and viewsheds. Commissioner Chasteen said that this development would contribute to sprawl because of its location, and that it is taking advantage of unbuildable areas to get a huge density bonus. Commissioner Charles Carter liked the proposal. Commissioner States McCarter opposes it because of its location. Commissioner John Barrow stated that it is not in the spirit of a Conservation Subdivision.
REZONE 1040 HWY 29 N FROM COMMERCIAL-RURAL TO COMMERCIAL-GENERAL. This would allow storage units, car wash, and office space, uses not allowed by CR zoning. Most uses that are allowed aren't appropriate because there is a lake with a dam on the property (leading to questions of safety).
SPECIAL USE TO ALLOW PARKING LOT IN SINGLE FAMILY ZONE AT 116 MULBERRY ST. This would allow Dorsey Tabernacle Baptist Church to pave a dirt lot that is currently used for parking on Sundays. Commissioner Jordan said that Plan B might improve the site's current hydrology. Commissioner David Lynn asked whether this might not set a precedent for other parking lot paving requests, and also requested input from the Greenway Commission.
MULTIPLE REZONINGS TO ELIMINATE UNDEVELOPED "PLANNED DEVELOPMENTS"