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City of Clarkston - Georgia - where possibilities grow

 

where possibilities grow

Council Minutes Tuesday, March 1, 2016

MINUTES
CLARKSTON CITY COUNCIL
Tuesday March 1, 2016 
Officials Present
Mayor: Ted Terry
Council: Dean Moore, Mario Williams, Awet Eyasu, Ahmed Hassan Robert Hogan, Beverley Burks, 
City Manager: Keith Barker 
City Clerk: Tracy Ashby 
City Attorney: Stephen Quinn
 
Mayor Ted Terry called the meeting to order at 7:30pm.
Roll Call: Dean Moore, Mario Williams, Ahmed Hassan,  Awet Eyasu, Robert Hogan, Beverley Burks 
 
Pledge of Allegiance
Beverly Burks made a motion to amend the Agenda (Item F6) to add an Agenda item (F7) Authorize City Manager to negotiate a contract with CHB Acquisition Services for Right-of-Way Acquisition Associated with the City Streetscapes and Pedestrian Enhancements Project. Awet Eyasu seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
 
PRESENTATION/ ADMINISTRIVE BUSINESS:
C1)  Approve Council Minutes for 2-2-2016 Council Meeting
Awet Eyasu made a motion to approve the Council minutes from the February 2, 2016 meeting. Beverly Burks seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
 
PUBLIC COMMENTS
Leanne Rubenstein, Board Member of Sagal Radio, voiced her support for the City to approve the agreement with Sagal Radio. 
 
OLD BUSINESS
E1) Variance Request – 4250 E. Ponce De Leon Ave
The City Manager detailed the request to consider a variance request for the front setback to be 80’, and to locate the detention facility and parking in the designated front half of the lot.
The applicant is planning to build a 5,500 square feet four- sided brick office and retail building at 4250 East Ponce de Leon Avenue, currently at vacant lot consisting of 0.551 acres.  The property, which is zoned Town Center (TC), is vacant.  The site plan shows that 4250 East Ponce de Leon Avenue is a double frontage lot, having road frontage on both East Ponce de Leon Avenue and Vaughn Street.  The site plan also shows that the applicant would like to locate parking in the areas of the lot facing East Ponce de Leon and facing Vaughn Street and proposing to have vehicular access to both East Ponce de Leon and Vaughn Street.  
Located on Vaughn Street across from to the property is a single family home.  The applicant is proposing a 10 feet buffer to screen the proposed parking area that would front on Vaughn Street.  There will not be inter-parcel access to and/or with neighboring commercial properties. Staff has proposed ten (10) conditions to accompany the requested variance.
Dean Moore discussed the benefits of a utilizing a sewer management system rather than pursuing the variance and building a retaining wall. 
Awet Eyasu made a motion to approve the variance with the original 10 conditions and the addition of conditions: the retaining wall would not exceed 2 ½ feet and they would install a grease trap.  Beverly Burks seconded the motion. 
Discussion
Dean Moore stated a sewer management system would have eliminated the need for a grease trap. 
A vote was called and the motion carried (5- approve Mario Williams, Awet Eyasu, Ahmed Hassan, Beverly Burks, Robert Hogan, 1-opposed Dean Moore)
 
NEW BUSINESS
F1)  Appoint Planning & Zoning Board Member- Felecia Weinert
Beverly Burks In January 2016, Planning and Zoning Board member Beverly Burks, took office as an Elected Council Member, requiring her to vacate her seat on the Board.  Ms. Felecia Weinert is a City resident who has expressed interest in serving on the Board.  Based on her qualifications, Ms. Weinert appears to be well-suited to serve the City as a member of the Planning & Zoning Board.  Ms. Felecia Weinert would serve the unexpired term of Beverly Burks (12/31/2016). 
Beverly Burks made a motion to accept the nomination of Felecia Weinert for Planning and Zoning Board.  Mario Williams seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
 
F2)  Approve Service Agreement between City of Clarkston and Sagal Radio 
Ahmed Hassan made a motion to approve service agreement with Sagal Radio.  Robert Hogan seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
 
F3)  Amend 2016 Operating Budget
Mr. Barker stated that with the approval of the Sagal Radio agreement, the City Council would need to amend the 2016 Operating Budget  by adding $7,000 in expenditure to the Community Action Projects budget and to increase the revenue estimate for Real Property Tax by $7,000. 
Ahmed Hassan made a motion to amend the 2016 Operating Budget. Awet Eyasu seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
 
F4)  Ordinance to Amend Chapter 11, Article 4 of the Clarkston Code of Ordinances Regarding Coin-Operated Amusement Machines
The City Attorney detailed that currently in the City some licensed coam businesses are failing to submit their monthly revenues reporting, as required by City code, or their reported revenues indicate they are exceeding the 50% limits provided by State law. The State law permits municipalities to impose the same 50% limit and the proposed amendment accomplishes this. By adopting these State restrictions, any coam operation that is not compliant the city staff could revoked or suspended their license, or not be renewed by the City. A notification would be sent to the licensee and they would have the ability to appeal to the council and continue operating until the council rules on their appeal.  
Clarkston will also have the option to issue a citation to the licensee for violating the city code. Violators would be channeled to the municipal court where they could be fined and a secondary effect is that a conviction triggers an automatic revocation of their coam license. The former license holder would have the right to appeal, but they would not hold the license during the appeal process. 
Robert Hogan made a motion to approve the Ordinance to Amend Chapter 11, Article 4 of the Clarkston Code of Ordinances Regarding Coin-Operated Amusement Machines.  Mario Williams seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
 
F5)  Adopt the Resolution to Amend the Employee Handbook Grievance Appeal Procedure
Mr. Barker detailed that the current Personnel Handbook Grievance Appeal policy affords employees an opportunity to have an appeal of any and all disciplinary actions to be heard by a Hearing Officer which involves a formal proceeding. Appeals before a Hearing Officer require a substantial investment of the city’s resources including time and money. 
Amending the grievance Policy to allow a due process review of minor to moderate employee discipline actions by the City Manager, will provide for a proper review of the employee grievance while reducing external costs associated with a formal hearing. 
Minor to moderate disciplinary actions; personnel actions that involve suspensions of 5 days or less, would be classified as a “general grievance.” In those instances, employees would continue to have the right to have a grievance hearing. The hearing would be more informal and conducted by the City Manager.
Employees that are subject to “substantial” disciplinary action; suspensions of 6 days or more, demotions or terminations would have a formal hearing conducted by the Hearing Officer. 
Mario Williams made a motion to table the item to send it to the Public Safety Committee for review. Awet Eyasu seconded the motion. A vote was called and the motion carried. (6,0). 
 
F6) Amend the agenda
 
F7)  Authorize City Manager to negotiate a contract with CHB Acquisition Services for Right-of-Way Acquisition Associated with the City Streetscapes and Pedestrian Enhancements Project 
The City Manager stated that the City Streetscape & Pedestrian Enhancement project began with design services in the spring of 2014. The project has met the GDOT schedule at various critical milestones beginning with the approval of the Concept Report in March of 2015 and Environmental Approval in February of this year. The Preliminary Engineering plans will be approved in March by GDOT with the expectation of the Right-of-Way (ROW plans being approved in April of this year. 
The next critical milestone event will be the state’s approval of the ROW plans and issuing a NTP to the city to begin negotiations with 53 property owners to acquire the necessary easements and fee simple ROW to support the construction project. A majority of the acquisitions will be driveway and temporary construction easements. The total amount of fee simple acquisition is less than 1/2 acre on the entire project.
Once the GDOT approves the ROW plans and issues a NTP for the city to begin land acquisition, it is critical that the city proceed rapidly with acquisitions to ensure that ROW is certified (city has possession of the land within the construction limits) before March 2017. The project schedule reflects the city receiving Authorization “to let the project” to Construction no later than May 2017. If the ROW certification date is not met, then the Construction let-date is not met, which results in a high probability that the $1,500,000 of additional federal dollars received from ARC late 2015 will be returned to ARC. The city received this funding based on the quality of the grant application, the city’s success with achieving the previous milestone dates with GDOT and the GDOT authorizing the construction funding in FY 2017 (7/1/2016 to 6/30/2017).  The City will have approximately 10 months to acquire all the land on this project.
The City is certified as a “Local Administered Project” (LAP) agency which allows the city to administer the ROW Acquisition and let the project to construction, including ensuring utilities are relocated. For the land acquisition, Clarkston is required to follow both Federal and State guidelines and procedures when acquiring right-of-way and easements for this project. Following these requirements is a long, detailed, and involved process that has to be followed for each of the 53 parcels of right-of-way or easements that the project requires.
In order to meet the above timeline and keep the project on track, the city will need to enlist the services of a GDOT Prequalified and experienced Right-of-way Services Consultant. This service was identified in AMEC’s contract in 2013. 
City staff developed a scope and solicited fee proposals from 2 firms. Based on the fees for the various tasks submitted by both firms, the City recommends CHB Acquisition Service, Inc. Please refer to the attached cost comparison spreadsheet. 
Staff is unable to provide council with a definitive lump sum fee for ROW services given the uncertainties of negotiations and whether acquisitions can occur utilizing one or more of the following approaches; “Detailed Cost Estimate” or “Appraisal”. As such, staff, based on the recommended firm’s scope and fee structure, would propose that the City Council approve a range of ROW Acquisition fees of $125,000 to $140,000. This range of fees is dependent on the number of appraisals that may be required if negotiations based on the Detailed Cost Estimate is unsuccessful.
Mr. Barker advised that if Condemnation is required, this range of fees for ROW Acquisition Services will be exceeded and a revised cost estimate and subsequent change order, will be required.
If approved by City Council, a contract will be developed, reviewed by the City Attorney and placed on the April meeting agenda for ratification. The fees for ROW Acquisition Services are funded through the Engineering Phase of the State Road & Tollway Authority (GTIB) loan.
Awet Eyasu made a motion to authorize the City Manager to negotiate a contract with CHB Acquisition Services for Right-of-Way acquisition services. Beverly Burks seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (6, 0).
 
REPORTS
1) Planning & Zoning Report
No report
 
2)  City Manager’s Report
Mr. Barker reported on the year to date financial status thru the end of February. 
 
3)  City Attorney’s Report
No Report
 
4)  Council Remarks
Dean Moore reported on the success of the first Clarkston day at the Children’s Museum. 
Mario Williams: extended his condolences to the family of the deceased young lady.  He commended the Clarkston Police Department on their extensive efforts to search for the lady by visiting every homeless shelter in Atlanta.  
Awet Eyasu:  Echoed Councilman Williams’s statements for the family and the Eritrean Community.  He thanked the Police Department, Mr. Barker, Beverly and Mario for their contributions in searching for the missing lady. Councilman Eyasu reported on attending a February 9th rally for the First Amendment Defense Act.  On February 16th he attended a Bhutanese Film Screening. 
Robert Hogan: Spoke on attending the African American History Presentation at the Clarkston United Methodist Church. Congressman Hank Johnson also attended this event. 
 Beverly Burks: Reported she went to the State capital to attend a meeting on the Greenhaven proposal which has now been tabled. The next Clarkston 2040 Steering Committee meeting is March 28 and she encouraged residents’ participation. 
 
5)  Mayor’s Report
Mayor Terry reported 
  
ADJOURNMENT
Awet Eyasu made a motion to adjourn the Council meeting.  Mario Williams seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (5, 0).
Meeting adjourned. 
 
 
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