STATE OF GEORGIA
COUNTY OF HENRY
The Henry County Board of Commissioners held a Regular Meeting at 9:00 A.M. on Monday, May 17, 2004, in the Community Room, County Administration Building, 140 Henry Parkway, McDonough, Georgia. Notice of this meeting was posted on the bulletin board in the entrance foyer of the County Administration Building. The Daily Herald was notified of this meeting. Those present were:
Leland Maddox, Chairman, presiding
Lee Holman, Vice-Chairman, District V Commissioner
Warren E. Holder, District I Commissioner
Gary M. Freedman, District II Commissioner
Gerry Adams, District IV Commissioner
Also attending were Linda Angus, County Manager; Patrick Jaugstetter, County Attorney; Susan B. Craig, County Clerk; Rob Magnaghi, Deputy County Manager and Public Safety Division Director; Michael Harris, Public Works Division Director; Danny Taylor, Economic Development Division Director; and others.
Chairman Maddox called the meeting to order and asked for an Acceptance to the Agenda. Commissioner Holman asked the Board to make reference to the Agenda, looking at the top left-hand corner where it says, ‘amended 5/11/04 3:18 p.m.’ “On your desk is an Executive Summary and a resolution to award the bid for the construction of Pates Creek Road. With that in mind, I would like to amend the Agenda under Item VII – Public Works and call this resolution VII-B. I move to accept the Agenda with the following amendment under Public Works Item VII-B (Pates Creek bid). Commissioner Holder seconded; the motion carried 4-0-0 with Commissioners Holman, Holder, Adams and Freedman voting in favor.
Appointment for District III Commissioner.
Commissioner Adams stated, “in the light of the fact that Mr. Jason Harper did not have to resign, based on the Election Board ruling, I make a motion to reappoint Jason Harper to the District III seat. It would take a new person at least six (6) months to get their feet wet and by then, the term would be over. It seems like a waste and a disservice to the citizens of District III not reappoint him. Also, to my knowledge, the Governor has not accepted his resignation.” Commissioner Holder seconded.
Commissioner Holman stated, “pursuant to a request by Commissioner Holder, I would like to share with the public there was an inquiry on when the Governor would have to fill that seat. It appears to be the ‘drop dead’ date for the Governor to appoint the vacant seat would be Friday, June 11th.”
Commissioner Holder said, “when I made that motion last week, no one knew at that point and time what the results of the hearing would be. I have been told I did this to assure Jason Harper coming back to the Board of Commissioners; I can assure you I did not. When we met last week, we did not know what the law actually allowed. When I said to wait until the July 20th election, that was not to say we would not appoint someone in the interim, because there were two (2) candidates here that I spoke to after the meeting to see if they would be willing to do it for two (2) months rather than the six (6), so the person who the people elected would step aside and the person elected would step in. The concerns the Board has heard from the citizens who have commented from District III have been zonings and the budget. The reason I seconded this motion to put Mr. Harper back in is to merely satisfy those concerns. I am proud the Board agreed to delay it until today, because of what would have happened if we had two (2) people appointed to the same position?”
Commissioner Freedman stated, “actually we would not have had two (2) people in the position, because the position is empty. I will ask the County Attorney, Patrick Jaugstetter, to read 45-5-1, and you will find the position is indeed vacant and then I will continue after that.”
Mr. Jaugstetter read, “all offices in the State shall be vacated by abandoning the office or ceasing to perform its duties, or both.”
Commissioner Freedman continued, “so it says the office’s abandoned by vacating or non-performance of duties. That is the law. This office has been abandoned with a non-performance of duties; the seat is vacated. There would not be two (2) people appointed to the same seat.”
Commissioner Holder said it is a matter of interpretation. “The point is abandonment of duties. When is the resignation effective? Is it when the Governor returns it or is it when the resignation is filed?”
Mr. Jaugstetter answered, “it is when it is accepted by the Governor; it does not define what ‘accepted by the Governor’ is. The law does not tell me if he needs to act on it or that he just needs to receive.”
Commissioner Holder continued, “that means an interpretation of the law, does it not?”
Mr. Jaugstetter responded, “I think so, yes.”
Commissioner Freedman asked, “is the seat vacant by someone abandoning the position?”
Mr. Jaugstetter repeated, “it says abandoning the office and ceasing to perform its duties.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “that is one of the ways. The acceptance by the Governor is one of the ways. I have two (2) questions that I would like to see in writing. First, has Mr. Harper requested that position back and agreed to accept it? Secondly, has the Governor not accepted it, and I would like to see both in writing. We have burdens of proof, like we had in the hearing the other day, about what the Department of Justice had.”
Commissioner Holman said, “regarding the challenge to the Election Board, there is another hearing that is coming before the Election Board in reference to Mr. Harper being eligible for a seat. Is that moot? Does the Board of Elections even hear that challenge?
Mr. Jaugstetter responded, “unless it is withdrawn, yes.”
Commissioner Holman asked, “if this Board this morning follows the resolution or motion on the floor to reappoint Mr. Harper to a seat, now Commissioner Freedman raises a question, this Board does not know if this seat is vacant. We have seen the letter where he has resigned because of the law, but now Commissioner Freedman brings this question that is a puzzle. Is the seat really vacant?”
Mr. Jaugstetter answered, “if you appoint Jason Harper back to that seat, it does not matter if he has resigned, abandoned or whatever; you are appointing him back and there will not be a dispute as to whether Jason Harper holds the position, because it is the same guy.”
Commissioner Adams asked Mr. Jaugstetter, “is this much to do about nothing; we have the power to reappoint or not.”
Mr. Jaugstetter said, “if it is the Board’s desire to reappoint Mr. Harper, then yes, I think it is much to do about nothing.”
Commissioner Adams said, “case closed. We can either do it or we don’t.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “I don’t think any case is that easy, unless your mind is already made up. You have to look at all the circumstances surrounding it. First, I have seen nothing indicating Mr. Harper wants the seat back, in writing. I would like to see something from Mr. Harper saying he wants the seat back, and I would like to see something in writing from the Governor’s Office stating the Governor has not accepted the resignation. The seat is actually vacated based on 45-5-1 of the paragraph just read.”
Commissioner Adams said, “District III has been without a Commissioner for a week and we have rezoning issues pressing, and if we have the power to fill the seat today, I think we should go ahead and make a decision.”
Commissioner Freedman stated, “three individuals have submitted their resumes and have given an affirmative action indicating their desire to fill that seat. I think we need an affirmative action from the nominee you have just given, saying that he wants and will take the seat.”
Commissioner Holder said, “removing the political element from this discussion, District III’s best interest should be in our hands. Mr. Harper has contacted me, and we would like to have him back. He has been resigned for 2 weeks and 3 days, and without mentioning any names, there are people on this Board who have had family crisis and have been out from attending meetings for a lot longer than two (2) weeks. In the best interest of the people in District III, let’s move on.”
Commissioner Freedman asked Commissioners Adams, Holder, Holman and Maddox if Mr. Harper had called them and expressed the desire to return to the Board. The Commissioners said, “yes.”
Commissioner Holman read a resolution to appoint a Commissioner for District III:
A RESOLUTION OF THE HENRY COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS APPOINTING A COMMISSIONER FOR DISTRICT III
WHEREAS, Jason Harper, the duly elected Commissioner representing District III of Henry County, Georgia, resigned his elected office effective 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 30, 2004; and
WHEREAS, less than 360 days remain until the date of the next general election, at which time the District III Commissioner will be elected; and
WHEREAS, Section 2-2-19(c)(1) of the Code of Henry County, Georgia, provides as follows:
If, at the time the vacancy occurs, there are less than three hundred sixty (360) days until the date of the next general election, a qualified successor from the district in which the vacancy occurred shall be elected by the remaining members of the board to serve until the first day of January following the next general election.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AND IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that upon the motion duly made and seconded, Jason Harper, is hereby elected by the Board of Commissioners to serve as District III Commissioner until the first day of January 2005.
Chairman Maddox said he talked to the Governor’s Office on Friday (May 14th), and the Board is suppose to fill that vacancy.
“My name is Leon Forrer and I reside at 85 Oak Grove Circle. I would like to say some of our candidates have received some erroneous information and have been advised wrongly. We have a law on our books that is invalid; if it has not been approved by the Justice Department, it needs to be removed from the record books or updated so that no one will make the same mistake. This has caused a lot of embarrassment and large expense to one of our Commissioners. This problem can be remedied by reimbursing legal expenses and any expenses that may arise concerning this problem. Mr. Harper should be reinstated as District III Commissioner, and Ms. Mathis should be reinstated in her position at the County and receive any pay lost due to this problem. Since this has happened to our Commissioners, maybe you know now how we feel as citizens and employees of Henry County. We have had to pay our own legal fees, had our jobs threatened, and our hopes and dreams shattered because our government will not enforce our laws and ordinances. I request our Commissioners, if they have the capacity, to rectify these problems. It will be a new day in Henry when our Commissioners learn they should be the solution, not the problem. I ask you to look deep in your heart, listen to your constituents, follow our ordinances and laws and do not deviate from them except on rare occasions warranted by extenuating circumstances.”
The vote was taken on the motion to reinstate Commissioner Jason Harper as the District III Commissioner; the motion carried 3-0-1 with Commissioners Holman, Holder, and Adams voting in favor and Commissioner Freedman abstaining. (Chairman Maddox did not vote.)
Request by Ron and Cheryl Anderson for Approval to Amend an Ordinance for the Purpose of Allowing Domesticated Fowl on Certain Residential Properties; and for Other Purposes.
“My name is Ron Anderson and this code amendment is a ‘tweaking’ of an existing Henry County Code. Domesticated fowl, particularly female chickens, have become household pets. Please refer to the news articles Susan Craig, County Clerk, provided to you. They discuss the benefits of caring for chickens as sociable pets. Even the Wall Street Journal has written of the popularity of chickens in urban areas. Many cities and towns have adopted codes allowing small numbers of hens in residential settings. We ask for you to vote today in favor of the proposed code amendment allowing two (2) hens to be licensed as pets. It seems logical that citizens willing to pay $25.00 per year to license domesticated fowls like those who license their miniature pigs and goats under the existing code will be only those who conscientiously care for their pets. This code amendment should be approved because such people feel the same affection for chickens as others do for pigs, goats, dogs and cats. In my efforts on behalf of this code amendment, I have heard several stories of people whose pet chickens were the love of their life, but who had to get rid of them because the code did not recognize their growing popularity. Some people in our neighborhood, none of whom can see or hear our hens from their houses, may be present today to voice opposition to this amendment. Originally they thought we were applying for a variance and feared the precedent that such a variance might set. One of them even circulated a petition against it. We do not think our fellow homeowners are objecting to our two (2) hens. In fact, one of the recent vice presidents of our Homeowners Association had several chickens in her yard as well as other non-traditional pets. We understand our neighbors’ concerns if they thought we were applying for a variance. But as this is not the case, it seems their concerns are unfounded. Additionally, our lots are more than one (1) acre in size and are zoned residential/agricultural. Our only neighbor, who can see our hens from his house, has expressed delight in having them nearby and has asked me to provide the County his phone number should anyone wish to call him. We are not asking the County to override neighborhood covenants; these are a separate issue within which we can find a workable solution. What this code amendment will do is to give Henry County residents, who love these animals, the opportunity to enjoy their company. We hope you will see the logic in this code amendment and approve it. We will be very happy to respond to any concerns that may be raised prior to voting.”
Commissioner Adams asked, “do you keep the chickens inside?”
Mr. Anderson responded, “they stay inside at night and are fenced in the backyard during the day.”
Commissioner Adams asked, “they make noise early in the morning, don’t they?”
Mr. Anderson replied, “they are both females; they make noise when they lay an egg. The code amendment has the word ‘rooster’ in it, and those who I talked to said the word ‘rooster’ may have to come out.”
Commissioner Adams said, “so you bring them inside at night.”
Mr. Anderson said, “we have a cage just inside the door; they are pets.”
Chairman Maddox asked the audience if there was any opposition to this request.
“My name is Paul Morrell and I live at 513 Wood Duck Way in Mallard’s Landing Subdivision, Locust Grove, Georgia. I have come here to represent the Board of Directors for the Homeowners Association of Mallard’s Landing and not as a private resident. Mallard’s Landing Homeowners Association’s covenants are adopted and designed after the ordinances of Henry County. The covenants have been distributed to all the homeowners and the property owners of Mallard’s Landing, and Mr. Anderson has a copy. The covenants have provisions allowing residents to request for variances or changes. We do have an article in there directed to pets and what we would like to see in Mallard’s Landing. It states, ‘no animals, livestock or poultry of any kind can be raised, bred or kept on any lot except for dogs, cats and other household pets to be kept for commercial purposes’. Where to draw the line is what is classified as a household pet. We are asking for your support to deny this request.”
Commissioner Adams directed his statement to Mr. Anderson, “you stated you are not trying to change the covenant, but apparently that is the covenant.”
Mr. Anderson said, “we feel we can work within the existing covenants; we have met more than once as late as last night. But what has happened now is one individual has used the County Code to circumvent any other way of dealing with it. The County allows a 100-pound pig or two (2) 40-pound goats under an existing ordinance. All we are asking is to equilibrate that ordinance to allow for two (2) 5 pound chickens.”
Mr. Morrell said, “our main concern in the neighborhood is not about the chickens so much as it is what else can come down the line. Just because an animal can be deemed a household pet, what prevents a person to obtain a horse license or God knows what? We are just protecting ourselves down the road.”
Commissioner Freedman stated, “right now they could have a goat or pot-bellied pig; how do you handle that?”
Mr. Morrell responded, “we have not had that situation yet; what we try to do is handle each case individually. We have to set some sort of precedence. To have a pot-bellied pig or goat would be a violation of our covenants, and if we receive a complaint in writing from a resident, we would address it and that is what we are doing here.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “regardless of what the ordinance says, you can still enforce your covenants; even if your ordinance says they can have chickens, goats or pot-bellied pigs, that does not override your covenants. You could still have restrictive covenants and you can still take people to civil court if they violate their covenants. We do not write covenants and we do not enforce them. Your covenants would be more restrictive than the ordinances of the County.”
Chairman Maddox stated, “whatever your covenants are, that is your covenants. We do not have anything to do with it. The ordinance is not in the books now; and we have voted on this Board not to do any amendments to the ordinances until our Land Use Plan is presented to us. I don’t think the Board is going to make a motion to vote on your ordinance at all. What you need to do is get together and see if you can amend (accept or reject) it, and then, whatever the Board does as far as amending the ordinance when the time comes, that will be left up to the Board. We have honored his request to come and address the Board on this issue. But to amend the ordinance, we will have take that up on the next item.”
Mr. Jaugstetter said he would like to make a comment. “The ordinance amendment isn’t within the zoning ordinance. This ordinance is in the Animal Control Ordinance, which is not affected by the Land Development. The Board can vote on the ordinance.”
“My name is Jimmy Hunnicutt and I am a Mallard’s Landing resident at 21 Teal Court. We have a petition for over 65 Mallard Landing residents who oppose any change to the Henry County Code concerning small animals. This is a sore point for a lot of us, and most of Mr. Anderson’s immediate neighbors, including some who can see the chickens, have signed this petition. We would like to keep the code like it is, and ask you to deny the change in the code for small animals. We consider this as an end run around our covenants by using the County Codes as a first step of aggregating our covenants.”
“My name is Taylor Spangler and I live at 85 Teal Court in Mallard’s Landing. I realize this whole thing about chickens is inconceivable to a lot of people. I am friends with Ron and I live down the street from him. But when he started talking to me about chickens as pets, I said ‘give me a break.’ Until I went over to his house and I saw they are actually domesticated pets. Ron and Cheryl are attached to these chickens; they are little birds; they run around the yard and have a good time, and they are fun to watch. They jump on his arm and shoulder, and it has changed my mind totally about chickens as domesticated pets. I think they could be considered household pets. I ask you to treat this as a serious issue based on someone having these birds as pets. We all at Mallard’s Landing want to handle these issues internally. We do not want to come to the Board of Commissioners every time there is a little issue for whatever reason. The new Board of Directors at Mallard’s Landing is adamant that we are going to handle these issues internally without taking up valuable County time on petty issues.”
Commissioner Freedman asked, “is this being looked at by your Board of Directors?”
Mr. Spangler responded, “I cannot speak for the Board; I am just a resident.”
Commissioner Freedman stated, “the reason I asked is maybe we should table this until we give the Homeowners Association time to work it out.”
“My name is John Zubra and I live at 465 Mallard Lake. I am the newly elected President of the Board at Mallard’s Landing Homeowners Association. To address your question, ‘yes,’ a letter was sent to Mr. Anderson approximately a week and a half ago by certified mail stating there was a violation of our covenants pursuant to article VI, paragraph 5, section E – Livestock and Poultry in Mallard’s Landing. To be honest, the letter was never delivered and Mr. Anderson did not pick it up from the Post Office. At a meeting last night of the Board of Directors with Mr. Anderson and Mr. Spangler, we did hand deliver him a copy of that letter. So he is aware that he is in violation of Mallard Landing’s covenants. As far as how it came to the County, that was done by the previous administration of Mallard’s Landing. The Board, at this point, is dealing with our covenants, our bi-laws and everything is being handled on an impartial basis. If we get a written complaint, we will deal with it (whether it is a pig, goat or chickens). We have only been in office since April 1st and this issue was handed over to the County prior to that. We need to address this within our Association; the problem we have is we do not want to see the Board of Commissioners determining what is and what is not a household pet, because the way our covenants reads, a household pet is automatically allowed. That is where the issue comes. There are certain things needing to be defined before we get into that. We would like your Board to defer and let us handle this in-house. If you define it as household pets, we are shot down.”
Commissioner Freedman said when the Board had the pot-bellied pig and goat issue to come up, we had the same thing. “We did not think it was funny when someone felt their pot-bellied pig or goat was a pet; the chickens probably make less noise than a dog barking. I think it is something you need to try and resolve, Mr. Anderson, at your level with your covenants before the Board tries to make it something that is wide sweeping.”
Mr. Anderson asked the Board of Commissioners to table the motion for discussion later.
Commissioner Freedman moved to table this issue amending the ordinance; Commissioner Holder seconded.
Commissioner Holder said going to paragraph 5 it reads, ‘no more than one (1) miniature pig, one (1) miniature goat or two (2) domesticated fowl may be located on any premises of property which is more than three (3) acres;’ “that gets into straight RA zoning. I do not think that is right; we need to ‘tweak’ that, don’t we?”
Mr. Jaugstetter said, “that is what your current ordinance says; all I added was domesticated fowl.”
Commissioner Holman said he understands if we use the word ‘household pet,’ we are going to cause the Mallard Landing residents some grief. Addressing the County Attorney the Commissioner asked, “do we allow snakes, birds, frogs, miniature horses, cats, dogs, ants, and worms that could be conceivably ……………”
Mr. Jaugstetter answered, “we only prohibit certain animals; I couldn’t give you a list of the animals prohibited. The only animals addressed in our code are farm-type animals, dogs, cats, horses, pigs, and goats. This ordinance does not have a definition for household pets.”
Commissioner Adams ‘called the question.’
Chairman Maddox said the Board would not vote on the ‘call the question.’ He said he wanted the vote on the motion. The motion to table the issue carried 4-0-0 with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Holman and Adams voting in favor.
Resolution Pertaining to the Presentation of Ms. Gail Easley on Behalf of HDR Updating the Unified Land Development Code.
WHEREAS, HDR has been retained by Henry County to write a Unified Land Development Code for the County;
WHEREAS, the Henry County Board of Commissioners desires an update on the progress;
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners placed a moratorium on all new text amendments to the County Code;
WHEREAS, the Unified Land Development Code project is nearing completion and:
WHEREAS, it has been the practice of the Economic Development Committee to review and recommend text amendments before sending them to the Planning Commission and update the Board of Commissioners on the progress of current projects;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Henry County Board of Commissioners will hear a presentation by Gail Easley on the Unified Land Development Code.
Mr. Danny Taylor, Economic Development Division Director, introduced Ms. Gail Easley, a sub-contractor with HDR, who will make a presentation on the Unified Land Development Code. After her presentation, Mr. Taylor asked the Board to forward it on, like any other text amendment, to the Planning Commission for their review and recommendation and back to the Board.
“My name is Gail Easley and I have been working for the last several months with your other consultants, HDR and the Planning Staff to develop a Unified Land Development Code. First of all I would like to describe to you the purpose of the Code itself that we set out to achieve in this project. Then I would like to describe to you the format and the structure of the Code and give you an overview of the contents of the Code. Then briefly mention the next steps that need to occur. First of all our purpose was to consolidate the regulations and the definitions into a single unified document. In doing that, we have another purpose of improving the format and the structure of the Code. Along with that, we took this as an opportunity to eliminate duplications and clarify any inconsistencies that might result from duplicating language throughout the Code. As a result, we have a user-friendly document. Also this provides some new alternatives for property owners and developers in project sign and streamlines the procedures that are followed in getting a project or rezoning approved.”
“So let me speak more specifically about the format and the structure. I have consolidated all of the regulations by topic, and in doing this; I have used an outlined style, which I have used in many other situations, and found it to be very workable and very user-friendly. It results in a unique citation for every regulation that is found anywhere in the Code, which is very helpful as you are trying to discuss particular topics. In addition, I have been able to place the standards in tables, rather than long narrative descriptions, which makes it easier to read and to use. We have added graphics to explain the standards that provide better understanding. And finally, we have consolidated all of the definitions into a glossary. As you know, individual ordinances have their own sets of definitions that repeat a number of terms over and over. So by consolidating the definitions, we have eliminated a lot of duplications there and made it easier to find the terms that people need to define.”
“Another important feature of this Code is we have eliminated duplications. What I have found, and what you are probably very familiar with, is that regulations and requirements are stated more than one time throughout your existing regulations. In this Unified Code, such regulations are only stated one time, and then if we need to make a reference to them, we use a cross-reference citing the particular section. That elimination of duplication eliminates inconsistencies that can arise when you restate regulations or requirements more than one time. The result of all of this, it is user-friendlier. It is easier to use due to the organization and format; I think the use of the lists, tables, and graphics make it easier to use, not only for the staff, but for the property owners, developers and general public.”
“The glossary of terms contribute significantly to it being easier to use, as do the consolidated procedures. Through all of this, we have improved its readability.”
“The contents of this Unified Code contain current regulations that have been relocated and reformatted. The new format focuses your attention on existing regulations just because we have moved it around and put it into a new document. As a result throughout our review sessions, we have had some comments about the regulations, and it turns out that it is your existing language. That is actually a benefit and makes people more aware of what is in your Code. Most of the Code is existing regulations that have been reorganized, placed into tables, etc. Those current regulations have been retained and that is all of your existing zoning districts, in order to avoid creating non-conformities in most of your procedures.”
“We have also updated, revised and streamlined the language where ever we could. As an example, throughout the Code, we have used the term ‘administrator’ to mean the primary person who would be responsible for administrating and interpreting the Code. We have done that because, as you have departments reorganized or position titles changed, there is no need to go back into the Code and amend it, because the language is no longer appropriate. We have used the more generic term ‘administrator’ and, at some point, you will have to deal with assigning that position, which I assume will be Danny Taylor.”
“The Code also provides new alternatives for project designs. We have four (4) new zoning districts and four (4) new optional sets of design standards. These eight (8) items are the primary substitute changes. I will outline what those are. The four (4) new zoning districts are estate, suburban residential, mixed use, and interchange activity center. These are zoning districts that will become available in the text, but they are not assigned to any particular land, but available for property owners to request a rezoning to better meet their needs. These new zoning districts also provide opportunities for livable centers initiative projects where higher densities might be needed and an alternative to annexation by providing some zoning districts that would be very appropriate, adjacent on unincorporated lands adjacent to municipalities. The zoning districts provide for the higher density that is also consistent with the Future Land Use Map. I think it provides an opportunity for a more market responsive set of designs and uses, and we also provide a means to protect agricultural areas.”
Commissioner Freedman asked, “right now, the maximum density we allow for residential is four (4) units per acre. Are you recommending exceeding that?”
Ms. Easley responded, “yes sir, in the new zoning districts and through the mechanism of a Transfer of Development Rights. It is not automatic; it is something that there’s a number of steps that have to be taken in order to achieve those higher densities. You will be making decisions if someone requests a rezoning or requests a Transfer of Development Rights, so it will be a subject of review. There is not a rezoning that occurs as a result of adopting this text Code; it just provides some opportunities.”
Commissioner Freedman asked, “what is the category for that higher density zoning?”
Ms. Easley answered, “it would be in the interchange activities center; it would also be possible in the mixed use zoning districts and in the residential suburban districts, which I envisioned as being very appropriate immediately adjacent to municipality boundaries (not out in the County somewhere). The interchange activity center has the highest potential densities; it would be either the interchanges with I-75, for example, or it could be applied at the intersection of two (2) major arterial roads.”
“There are some optional design standards that are provided in here. I do emphasize ‘optional;’ this is something that a property owner could choose as a different way to design a project. One of those is the traditional Neighbors of Development, which allows mixture of uses, smaller setbacks, and narrower streets, for example. The World Neighborhood Commercial, which is designed to be located at intersections out in the countryside (very small areas) with some specific design requirements to provide an opportunity for commercial far away from urban centers to serve primarily rural areas and to avoid issues of spot zoning. The Corridor Overlay design is purely to address the design along major or minor arterials and to achieve a higher quality of design there. And regarding Residential Flying Neighborhoods (you already have two.), we have provided some design standards that would address those should any additional ones be requested. I have mentioned these are optional requirements; it is the choice of the property owner to pick the new design or the zoning district design (not to mix and match) standards or one of these optional design standards. That provides an opportunity for a higher quality of design which has been consistently mentioned in the public comment during the planning meetings.”
“Some other features I would like to point out to you, we have used modeled ordinances from the Metropolitan/North Georgia Water Planning District, provided for a Transfer of Development Rights, and provided something I am calling supplemental standards”.
Commissioner Adams asked, “do you have anything where the Code has to do with reversions? For example, we rezone something and they do not do anything within a set period of time, does it revert back?”
Ms. Easley answered, “your current language on that has been retained. I did not change that.”
Commissioner Holman asked, “which is?”
Ms. Easley said, “I believe it is after one (1) year.”
Mr. Jaugstetter said, “your current reversion provision ………..all that says is the Board can initiate a rezoning after a year; back to what it was previously zoned. It is and cannot be automatic; you have to go through the entire rezoning process. If you rezone a piece of property and take away density or drop it from commercial to residential, just about any reasonable landowner will probably challenge it. Every zoning decision you make is guided by this decision, by this balancing act; you have to balance the right of the landowner to do with his land as he sees fit with the protection of public health, safety and welfare that you’re providing by the zoning – it is a balancing act.”
Commissioner Holman asked, “if in the condition, we said if there is no improvement on that property within one (1) year, you will revert without a hearing. Is that legal?”
Mr. Jaugstetter answered, “No. You cannot change the zoning of property without going through the entire rezoning process.”
Commissioner Holman responded, “so if property sits for ten (10) years that is commercial or industrial and it truly has a higher per acre value than RA, we have just allowed somebody to speculate.”
Mr. Jaugstetter said, “that is what zoning is; zoning is not always demand or response to demand. Zoning is often the government saying we expect these things to be here. If you zone something commercial and it is not developed in ten (10) years, until the Board takes action to revert the zoning or rezone it something else, the zoning is commercial.”
Commissioner Holman said, “and it gets taxed at the RA use.”
Mr. Jaugstetter said, “it gets taxed at whatever value the Board of Assessors assigns it. They do not necessarily tax property by zoning classification.”
Ms. Easley stated, “There is also a set of criteria in the Plan for your evaluation of proposed rezoning and among those would be whether there is any development proposed, how it relates to the Comprehensive Plan, etc. So certainly if you thought something was speculative and did not comply with the Plan or meet any of the other criteria, you could turn it down. To continue talking about the Water Planning District, there are three (3) model ordinances the District has provided. Those have been incorporated into the Unified Code. The first is the model Floodplain Management Ordinance, the second is the model Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance, and the third is the model Stormwater Management Ordinance, which goes along with the Georgia Stormwater Management Manual.”
“I would like to talk for a few minutes on Transfer of Development Rights. This is provided in your Code to provide an opportunity to transfer density from eligible agricultural land. It also provides an opportunity to transfer density from specific environmentally sensitive lands that are already mapped. Along with that, it creates the ability to develop in specified areas, such as the interchange activity center, at higher densities consistent with livable centers initiatives. This is not a mandatory requirement; it is an opportunity that is available to property owners that would like to develop at higher densities in certain locations and take advantage of the possibility of purchasing those development rights from properties that are eligible to be protected that way.”
“Supplemental Standards are basically a replacement for a conditional uses, and it assigns specific standards to all of those uses that are now considered conditional uses and some additional uses that may have some compatibility impacts. Those are all laid out; there is probably about two dozen of those situations that capture all of your existing conditional uses and then a few more, such as large scale projects (projects over 90,000 square feet).”
“There will be some continued review. Staff will be internally reviewing this and working on any modifications they might need to make to forms or handouts to the public so that they use the new citations or any changes in terminology and then the adoption process. After this Code is adopted, there will be some opportunities for further refinements as things are identified that need additional attention. You might also expect that there will be something called a ‘glitch’ bill; that is, you might find some minor points scribners errors types of things throughout the document as it is used on a daily basis that would need to be corrected.”
“Both in the Plan and the Code really has enduring value beyond your own terms, and it is summed up very nicely in this quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes:
‘One hundred years after we are gone and forgotten, those who never heard of us will be living with the results of our actions.’
Commissioner Freedman said, “referencing page 13 in the book regarding an appeal from the Planning Board actions, I think this is a comment by the Quality Growth Council and I suspect there will be a lot of appeals to Superior Court and this will only prolong the decision. Appeals should go before the Board of Commissioners, better yet a Board of Zoning Appeals.”
Ms. Easley said, “as the Code is now drafted and presented, appeals from the Planning Commission and the Board of Commissioners would go to Superior Court.”
Commissioner Freedman said, “I am not talking about that; I am talking about appeals of the Planning Commission. That should go to the BOC, I would think; not to the Superior Court.”
Ms. Easley stated, “my direction from staff was appeals from the Planning Commission and the Board of Commissioners would go to Superior Court, and that is something you can certainly modify.”
Commissioner Freedman responded, “I do not think that is right; I think it should come to the BOC. Why elevate it to Court when the next step logically is the BOC?”
Ms. Easley said, “if a Planning Commission made a recommendation, then the final decision would not occur until the Board of Commissioners ………….”
Mr. Taylor said, “when we delegated the responsibility in conditional uses and variances to the Planning Commission, we patterned that after the Zoning Board of Appeals, which you find in most jurisdictions who would consider variances and conditional uses. Typically when you have the Zoning Board of Appeals, their decisions are appealed directly to the Court and not to the Board of Commissioners unless you choose to do otherwise.”
Commissioner Holder stated, “we have taken away and gone in that direction already because we have taken away conditional uses and gave it to Planning & Zoning that we did not want to hear.”
Ms. Easley said, “when you assign variances to your Planning Commission, they are acting in the manner of a Board of Zoning Appeals and actions of the Board of Zoning Appeals would go to Superior Court. So that is consistent.”
Commissioner Holman said, “if something is at the Planning and Zoning Board and their decision is challenged, it leap frogs the Board of Commissioners and goes into the legal system. When the legal system sends that settlement, who is going to hear it in Executive Session? Is it going to be the Board of Commissioners or the Planning Board in the Executive Session?”
Mr. Jaugstetter replied, “it would be the Planning Board.”
Commissioner Holman said the legal challenges would be invisible to us.
Ms. Easley added, “the only two (2) instances in the Code right now of a final action by the Planning Commission would be variances and appeals of administrative decisions; those are the only two (2) places where they take final action. Other things they hear proceed on to the Board of Commissioners. So keep that in mind when you are thinking about what gets appealed.”
Commissioner Freedman said the appeal chain should go through the BOC.
Chairman Maddox said, “I believe that has already been done. When they have a real controversial appeal over there, I believe……has it not been sent back to this Board?”
Mr. Taylor responded, “it has been turned down since you delegated that authority for conditional use authority and variances to the Board; if they turn it down, it is over with unless the applicant chooses to take it to Court.”
Ms. Angus said, “there is a resolution that the County Clerk is looking for that specifically lays out what you agreed to. Let’s find out first what has been done, and then we will see what needs to be adjusted.
Commissioner Freedman referenced page 15 of the table and stated it is about private gated communities. “We have eliminated gated communities and that does not seem realistic to me. As long as they are willing to maintain their roads and it not a ‘through-street.’ We have gated communities, and we have in fact totally eliminated gated communities, and I do not understand the reason for that at all.”
Mr. Taylor said, “we did have a provision in there that said private roads were prohibited.”
Ms. Easley said, “it was my understanding you did not want private roads. If you don’t have private roads, you can’t have gated communities.”
Ms. Angus said, “it appears to me that it would serve us well if there were more gated communities and more people willing to be responsible for their own amenities. We are going to have a difficult time building and keeping roads that we have currently.”
Chairman Maddox asked the Board their desire to follow up with Mr. Taylor’s request.
Mr. Taylor repeated, “it needs to go to the Planning Commission, just like any other text amendment, then review it and make a recommendation back to the Board, and then the Board will take final action.”
Commissioner Holman asked, “is the Steering Committee involved in Ms. Easley’s work?”
Mr. Taylor responded, “they were not so designated. You can expand their responsibilities to include that if you choose to.”
Commissioner Holman directed his statement to the Chairman, “you’ve got a document that has been developed by staff, HDR and the Steering Committee. What we are looking at today is the Unified Land Development Code that is not part of the charge of the Steering Committee. We have not had an opportunity until last week to see a draft, and it is not anywhere close to being final. The normal flow of this document will go in front of the Planning and Zoning Commission (and I’m not sure you are going to give it to the DCA), then you will bring it back to this Board in hopes of us adopting it.”
Commissioner Freedman said we are having meetings to talk about meetings. “I see no reason to have this meeting Thursday because the direction was the Steering Committee is going to get with the District Commissioner and go over these issues. To my knowledge no one has done that, yet we are meeting again with them on Thursday. We are getting ‘meeting to death.’ We have not met with our Steering Committee appointees yet. I do not know the purpose of the meeting Thursday except to have a meeting.”
Chairman Maddox said, “the Steering Committee had asked to have a meeting with the Board of Commissioners.”
Commissioner Freedman responded, “regarding the meeting of the Steering Committee, they came forward and said, ‘this is moving too fast; we want another 45 days. We are not ready to come forward to the BOC yet.’
Commissioner Holman said, “ask them when did they get the Comprehensive Land Use Plan.”
Mr. Taylor said they received it last week. “We are still in the process of developing it. We’ll have a presentation by Mr. Huffman, which I thought would be to their benefit to go through it. If they don’t choose to take advantage of that, that is up to them.”
Commissioner Freedman suggested, “I think the Commissioners should meet with their Steering Committee appointees before anybody comes back to the Board of Commissioners whether Ron Huffman be there or whatever.”
Commissioner Freedman made a motion to cancel the meeting with HDR on Thursday, May 20th at 5:30 P.M.; Commissioner Holman seconded. The motion carried 4-0-0 with Commissioners Holman, Freedman, Holder and Adams in favor.
Commissioner Holman stated, “the compensation for the Easley Group for any additional work, and it is my understanding from what I heard today is ‘the job is done.’
Mr. Taylor said, “we would need to address that separately if you desire for Ms. Easley to come back and make another presentation, and we would have to work that out with Ms. Easley. We have additional slots for HDR to work on the Comprehensive Plan.”
Commissioner Freedman asked how did the contract define services. Was the service to write the plan or to write it and it being approved? Mr. Taylor stated the contract was to write the plan and carry it thru to DCA in a specified number of meetings. We have exceeded the number of meetings specified in the contract for HDR.
A Resolution of the Henry County Board of Commissioners authorizing execution of a commercial lease contract
Whereas, the Henry County Building Department presently maintains its files in an off-site location at 80 John Frank Ward Boulevard in McDonough, Georgia; and
Whereas, the Henry County SPLOST Department will be relocating to the building located at 80 John Frank Ward Boulevard in McDonough, Georgia; and
Whereas, the Building Department needs an alternative site in which to store its files; and
Whereas, the Building Department has located an available site at Park 42 Industrial Park, 115 Pine Grove Road in Locust Grove, Georgia that can be leased for file storage; and
Whereas, the alternate site can be leased at a cost of Six Hundred Dollars ($600.00) per month for twelve (12) months;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AND IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED by the Board of Commissioners of Henry County that the Chairman is hereby authorized to execute and deliver, on behalf of Henry County, that certain Commercial Lease Contract by and between Henco Properties, Ltd. and Henry County, Georgia (a copy of which is hereto attached) for off-site storage of Building Department files; said storage being located at 115 Pine Grove Road, Locust Grove, Georgia, for a term not to exceed twelve (12) months at a cost not to exceed Six Hundred Dollars ($600.00) per month.
Chairman Maddox made a motion for approval; Commissioner Adams seconded. Commissioner Holman asked Mr. Doug Gilbert the number files and the size of the space required, also why in Locust Grove and how often are these files accessed and are they in fire proof storage.
Mr. Gilbert stated the number of boxes currently in storage is approximately 300 boxes. There are additional boxes that will be transferred from the office. The boxes are not fire protected they are in regular storage boxes. The files are accessed frequently, maybe once or twice a week. When there is an open records request the files are accessed. The location is convenient; it’s about a 15-minute drive.
Commissioner Holman asked when the Administration Building was built, where were the files kept. Mr. Gilbert responded in storage building #4, located at building maintenance. With the growth that space is not large enough. Commissioner Holman asked for the size of the new storage location. Mr. Gilbert responded the current space is approximately 600 square feet and the new location is approximately 1000 square feet. Based on the current storage needs this space will be sufficient for a couple of years.
Mrs. Angus added the facility has to be air conditioned because of the type of files to be stored. The boxes can’t be stack so that they are not assessable. Ultimately, because of other storage needs, the plan is to reduce some files to digital images. Records storage is planned as one of the uses for the annex building to the administration building. This request would be a temporary solution.
Commissioner Freedman asked what would happen to the space that SPLOST is moving out of. Mrs. Angus responded this is the location of choice at the moment for the stormwater program. The space is there and doesn’t need to be upgraded. Commissioner Freedman asked if the walk-in safe in the current SPLOST office is being used. Mrs. Angus stated it is being used for records currently and it is planned for SPLOST to completely vacant and move everything to the new location. In the proposed budget the only equipment included in the general budget is equipment to reduce the paperwork in the County Clerk’s office and the Finance Department.
Commissioner Freedman asked Mr. Gilbert if there was enough room in the space being vacated by SPLOST. Mr. Gilbert stated he had not been to the location but would look at the space to see what the square footage is. Commissioner Adams asked if it would be cost effective to have the storage in Locust Grove and was there anything closer. Mr. Gilbert stated the department looked at space on McDonough Parkway but the least expensive was 3000 square feet for $1250 monthly. The $600 currently being requested includes utilities.
The motion passed 4-0-1 with Commissioners Adams, Holder, Holman and Chairman Maddox in favor and Commissioner Freedman abstained.
Danny Taylor stated in the past there was a policy internally that grant applications would not come before the Board of Commissioners. The departments would initiate the applications and the Board would act when the grant was awarded. This is contrary to federal and stated regulations. They would like to see a resolution from the Board to accompany the grant applications. Also this year they have shorten the window of applications from three months to one month. A list of twenty-two grants has been compiled totaling $7,939,000. The request is for approval of the resolutions to accompany each grant application.
Chairman Maddox asked if the Board had a chance to look thru the resolutions. Commissioner Holder stated he did review the resolutions. He further stated this is good, however, there is a hook that goes along with these grants and that is if the grants are awarded, what will happen to the employees in two to three years when the grant is no longer available.
Commissioner Holder made a motion to allow staff to apply for the grants presented; Commissioner Adams seconded the motion. Chairman Maddox reiterated this is just to apply for the grants. Each grant will be brought to the Board for approval. This is not approving any grants, just the application to apply. Mr. Taylor stated one of the requirements to apply for the grants is for a resolution to accompany the grant application. Commissioner Freedman asked how many of these grants required a match. Mr. Taylor replied only one required and in-kind match. Commissioner Holman stated he would like to see this become a normal procedure for grant applications, and also more detail on the resolution, for example the plan to meet the specifications when the grant is awarded. Commissioner Holman further stated he sees this not as an additional $8 million to the budget but, $8 million worth of staff obligations to perform a task. This would mean a loss of $8 million worth of staff work. Mrs. Angus replied there is only one grant that requires an in-kind match. This is one of the Big Brother things of the federal government. They direct grant money toward the causes they would like to see fulfilled. In terms of the effect on the budget, it would be minimal. The service to our citizens would be positive. If there is an ongoing obligation beyond the two or three-year programs that are involved, could be assessed when the grant is presented for award. This County has not been very aggressive in pursuing grants and in some cases haven’t received our share.
Commissioner Freedman stated he has looked through the resolutions and he agrees with the idea to apply for the grants and you know what the hooks are. There are some good environmental, parks and recreation, police, and recycling grants. This is a good package of grants.
Mrs. Angus mentioned the Board approved and showed great interest in hiring a grant writer and LuAnn Calloway has been pursuing these grants with a short time line. These grants were announced the first of May with an end of May due date.
The motion passed 4-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Freedman, Holder and Holman in favor.
WHEREAS, local organizations such as Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails, have been working with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), the Henry County Board of Commissioners, and other local jurisdictions throughout the state to create a new Transportation Enhancement Project, and;
WHEREAS, as a part of that project, interpretive markers are being placed throughout the state to identify specific locations related to the Georgia Civil War Heritage Trail Program, and;
WHEREAS, two locations have been selected in Henry County to receive markers, and;
WHEREAS, one of the locations is on public property, and one location is on private property, and GDOT requires a right-of-way certification form to be signed by the local jurisdiction verifying that permission has been granted by the private land owner, and the verification of the public land, and;
WHEREAS, permission has been granted by the private property owner (Georgia Sheriff’s Association), and Henry County staff has verified the other location as being publicly owned;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED the Henry County Board of Commissioners authorizes the Chairman of the Board to approve and sign the Consent of the Easement Agreement and the Right-of-Way Certification allowing this project to move forward.
Chairman Maddox made a motion for approval; Commissioner Holman seconded.
Michael Harris stated this is to certify the easements have been executed. In this case there is one marker on private property. In the package of information there is an easement agreement with the property owner.
The motion passed 4-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Freedman, Holder, and Holman in favor.
RESOLUTION TO APPROVE THE AWARD OF BID FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF PATES CREEK ROAD
WHEREAS, the Henry County Board of Commissioners wishes to award the bid to Bruce Albea Contracting for the construction of Pates Creek Road in the amount of $ 1,389,540.75;
WHEREAS, five (5) vendors submitted bids for this project, as indicated;
WHEREAS, this project is SPLOST funded;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED the Henry County Board of Commissioners, authorizes the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners to approve and accept the proposal of Bruce Albea Contracting for construction of Pates Creek Road not to exceed the amount of $1,389,540.75.
Commissioner Freedman made a motion for approval; Commissioner Holder seconded.
Commissioner Holman stated it was brought to his attention the SPLOST Department is being slowed down with the requirements to bring their bid awards to the Board. A suggestion is to have on all agendas SPLOST Bids.
Commissioner Holder asked if this amount exceeded what SPLOST had predicted. Mr. Harris confirmed it did exceed the allocated amount. Commissioner Holder asked what amount was predicted for this road. Mr. Harris responded $1 million. He added this is the construction cost which does not incorporate the design cost and other testing fees. Last week it was discussed the projections from the Oversight Committee was approximately $46 or $47 million, that number is now believed to be closer to $55 million. The new revised estimates will be brought before the Board at a future meeting.
Chairman Maddox asked where the money would come from for the additional cost on this project. Mr. Harris stated in the transportation element of the SPLOST program, what’s been designated thus far is approximately $46 or $47 million, this is based on the estimates from the Oversight Committee. The total allowed through the SPLOST transportation element to be designated was $63 million, based on the 70/30 split. The $46 million previously estimated is about $55 million right now. Previously it was thought to be $17 million left to be designated in the SPLOST transportation element, it is close to $7 or $8 million left to be designated.
Chairman Maddox confirmed there is not a problem with the money. Mr. Harris responded affirmatively. Chairman Maddox asked if all projects on the SPLOST list would be done. Mr. Harris stated no, currently the projects in progress are the ones that have been designated. Not all the projects on the SPLOST Master List have been designated, only a portion. Right now everything that has been designated from the transportation element will be completed, the funding is in place to complete those projects.
The motion passed 4-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Freedman, Holder, and Holman in favor.
Request approval of a bid for Hostage Negotiation Phone
RESOLUTION OF THE HENRY COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
PERTAINING TO THE PURCHASE OF A CRISIS RESPONSE TELEPHONE
FOR THE POLICE DEPARTMENT
WHEREAS, bids were solicited for the purchase of one (1) Crisis Response Telephone for the Police Department; and,
WHEREAS, two (2) vendors submitted bids for this purchase, as follows:
VENDOR CITY/STATE BID AMOUNT
Rescue Phone, Inc. Crofton, MD $5,000.00
Enforcement Tech. Group Milwaukee, WI $7,500.00
WHEREAS, funds are available from the Narcotics fund; and
WHEREAS, Rescue Phone, Inc.’s bid in the amount of $5,000.00 meets bid specifications and is recommended by departmental personnel.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Henry County Board of Commissioners awards the bid for the purchase of one (1) Crisis Response Telephone for the Police Department to Rescue Phone, Inc. in the amount of $5,000.00 and authorizes the Chairman to sign all necessary documents to accomplish this purchase.
Commissioner Freedman made a motion for approval; Commissioner Adams seconded.
Commissioner Holman asked what is a crisis response telephone. Chief White responded it’s an operational, stand-alone unit called a throw phone. When you have a hostage situation you have two options, you either negotiate or you have to go in and get the hostage. The phone would be available to the hostage negotiator. If, for what every reason, you have to cut off utilities at the site, the phone would allow the police to set up independent communication.
The motion passed 4-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Freedman, Holder and Holman in favor.
Request approval to accept a grant from the Office of Domestic Preparedness – State Homeland Security Grant Program for the purchase of a hazardous materials response vehicle
RESOLUTION TO ACCEPT GRANT FROM THE OFFICE OF DOMESTIC PREPAREDNESS – STATE HOMELAND SECURITY GRANT PROGRAM FOR THE PURCHASE OF A HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RESPONSE VEHICLE
WHEREAS, The Henry County Fire Department operates the Hazardous Material Response Team for Henry County, and,
WHEREAS, The Henry County Fire Department applied for a non-matching grant through the Office of Domestic Preparedness to purchase a Hazardous Materials Response Vehicle, and
WHEREAS, A non-matching grant in the amount of $556,655.00 has been awarded to the Henry County Fire Department from the Office of Domestic Preparedness for the purchase of a Hazardous Materials Response Vehicle, and
WHEREAS, The Henry County Fire Department will agree to make this vehicle available on a regional response basis, and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED the Henry County Board of Commissioners authorizes the Chairman of the Board to accept a non-matching grant from the Office of Domestic Preparedness in the amount of $556,655 for the purpose of purchasing a Hazardous Material Response Vehicle and agrees that the unit will be available for a regional response, if needed.
Commissioner Holder made a motion for approval of the resolution; Commissioner Adams seconded.
Commissioner Freedman asked if the vehicle had a decontamination apparatus for decontaminating citizens who may have been exposed. Chief Jenkins stated the department already has that capability through another grant. And also the department is taking part in the metro medical strike team and will be housing one the their decontamination trailers. Our Fire Department, along with the metro area, will be allowed to use the trailer as needed.
Commissioner Holder stated, “with the long stretch of I-75 going through this County, this is something that is very important. The last sentence of the resolution states the vehicle will be used on a regional response basis, had it not been for some of our neighbors in our county needing their Hazardous Material Response units we would have been in trouble years ago. I think this is an opportunity for us to provide our own and payback some.”
The motion passed 4-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Freedman, Holder and Holman in favor.
Request approval to accept a grant from the Office of Domestic Preparedness – State Homeland Security Grant Program for the purchase of hazardous materials response equipment
RESOLUTION TO ACCEPT GRANT FROM THE OFFICE OF DOMESTIC PREPAREDNESS – STATE HOMELAND SECURITY GRANT PROGRAM FOR THE PURCHASE OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RESPONSE EQUIPMENT
WHEREAS, The Henry County Fire Department operates the Hazardous Material Response Team for Henry County, and,
WHEREAS, The Henry County Fire Department applied for a non-matching grant through the Office of Domestic Preparedness to purchase Hazardous Materials Response Equipment, and
WHEREAS, A non-matching grant in the amount of $35,513.26 has been awarded to the Henry County Fire Department from the Office of Domestic Preparedness for the purchase of Hazardous Materials Response Equipment, and
WHEREAS, The Henry County Fire Department will agree to make this equipment available on a regional response basis, and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED the Henry County Board of Commissioners authorizes the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners to accept a non-matching grant from the Office of Domestic Preparedness in the amount of $35,513.26 for the purpose of purchasing Hazardous Material Response Equipment and agrees that the equipment will be available for a regional response, if needed.
Commissioner Freedman made a motion for approval; Commissioner Adams seconded the motion.
Commissioner Adams asked what type of equipment is this. Chief Jenkins stated it is an assortment of hazardous materials equipment, anything from decontamination kits, gear, and response manuals to look up chemicals.
Chief Jenkins made a correction on the amount stated in the resolution. It should be $32,513.26. Commissioner Freedman amended his motion to correct the amount and Commissioner Adams amended his second.
The motion passed 4-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Freedman, Holder and Holman in favor.
Nancy Scott, McDonough, Georgia – “I’m a little upset about code enforcement’s interpretation of the law. One of my neighbors is operating a home-based business and he did not renew his business license in January. He has a construction trailer parked very close to my house, and he has latter’s on top of it, latter’s propped up against it. He has lumber around the trailer, and concrete bags around the trailer. I’ve called code enforcement out twice and they keep telling me there are no violations on his property. I’ve pulled up the code’s myself on the internet and I think there are violations on his property.”
Chairman Maddox asked Ms. Scott to state her address for the record. He then asked her to proceed.
Ms. Scott continued, “I think there are violations on his property. I’ve been told that there’s not, but I think there are. I’ve pulled up the code’s that pertain to home-based businesses and I see violations.”
Rob Magnaghi stated he has discussed this issue with Mr. Tomlinson, Director of Code Enforcement, within the past weeks. In looking at the pictures, however, there are some other issues. Mr. Tomlinson’s presentation was the issue of the trailer being parked, but looking at the pictures there are other junk and debris that may create a different situation. There is also the issue of whether or not there is a home-based business without having a current business license. Mr. Magnaghi asked the Board if it would be satisfactory for him to talk with Ms. Scott and set up a meeting with Mr. Tomlinson and go over the specific concerns and see if there are areas that need to be addressed.
Chairman Maddox stated this would be a good way to handle this concern.
Commissioner Holder asked Ms. Scott the location of the property, after discussion it was determined the property is in District III. Ms. Scott stated she had contacted Commissioner Harper several times and he didn’t return her calls.
Ms. Scott also stated they didn’t ask their neighbor to get rid of the trailer, they asked for the trailer to be moved forward about ten feet so it would not be close to the property and he refused.
Commissioner Adams stated it appears he is operating a business and asked Mr. Magnaghi if you have to have a license. Mr. Magnaghi replied yes, and this is one of the issues. When this was discussed before the issue regarding the occupational license came up, but it was understood he was operating with a license. There is also the issue can he operate in the area from a home-based business. These are the things that should be addressed.
Commissioner Adams stated if this is not a violation, this should be addressed in the new code. Commissioner Freedman stated this happens a lot and the Board should try and help the neighbors.
Mr. Magnaghi asked Ms. Scott to get with him and they would schedule a meeting along with Mr. Tomlinson.
Chairman Maddox stated the ordinance mentioned previously regarding conditional use and appeals was approved November 18, 2003. The appeal process was not outlined and can be addressed to go to the Board of Commissioners if the Board chooses.
Patrick Jaugstetter added there is an appeal process in a different section of the Code that tells how to handle appeals on variances. It is addressed in a separate section and if the Board would like to change it, it can be changed.
Commissioner Holman asked if the language is in this ordinance (No. 03-10). Mr. Jaugstetter responded no, because the ordinance is set up where each numbered ordinance is part of the whole. Commissioner Holman replied it says an ordinance for the purpose of amending Article 14 – Appeal and Variance; Section 3-7-273 Variance of the Zoning Ordinance of Henry County, Georgia adopted June 3, 1986 as amended by amending section 3-7-273; Authorizing the Henry County Municipal Planning Commission to hear and take action on variances within the political jurisdiction of Henry County Board of Commissioners. He asked if the applicant has displeasure with the decision of the Planning & Zoning Board where do they go. Mr. Jaugstetter responded they would go to Superior Court.
Commissioner Holman asked Commissioner Freedman what his preference is regarding this issue. Commissioner Freedman stated his preference is if someone takes a variance or conditional use to the Planning Commission and it’s denied, and the applicant wanted to appeal, they would appeal to the Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Holman agreed.
Commissioner Freedman asked the Board to keep in mind this issue came up as a result of the unified development plan, and when it is reviewed with staff is when this can be amended.
Commissioner Holman addressed another issue regarding a memo, which will be copied to the Board, from the Atlanta Motor Speedway about the collection of thousands of dollars. Mr. Magnaghi verified where the money is distributed.
Commissioner Holder moved to adjourn into Executive Session, in accordance with the provisions of O.C.G.A. 50-14-3, and other applicable laws, and pursuant to advice by Patrick Jaugstetter, County Attorney, for the purposes of discussing the acquisition of real estate, pending and/or potential litigation, and personnel matters. Commissioner Holman seconded; the motion carried 4-0-0 with Commissioners Holder, Freedman, Holman and Adams voting in favor.
(An executive session was held)
Commissioner Freedman made a motion to reconvene into public session; Commissioner Holman seconded; and the motion passed by a vote of 4-0, with Commissioners Freedman, Holder, Adams and Holman in favor.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to authorize the Chairman to sign the affidavit pertaining to executive session; Commissioner Holder seconded; the motion passed by a vote of 4-0-0, with Commissioners Adams, Freedman, Holder and Holman in favor.
Commissioner Holman made a motion to open the public hearing regarding the FY 2004-05 budget. Commissioner Freedman seconded; the motion passed by a vote of 4-0-0, with Commissioners Adams, Freedman, Holder and Holman in favor.
Chairman Maddox opened the public hearing regarding the budget. He asked for any questions or concerns; none were presented.
Chairman Maddox asked if any member of the Board had any questions. Commissioner Holman removed himself as a member of the Board to address the Board as a citizen. Mr. Lee Holman asked the County Manager to explain the cost savings of putting the Police Department under the Sheriff. Chairman Maddox asked if this was in the budget. Ms. Angus replied no, it is not in the budget. Chairman Maddox stated this was not a budget question and Commissioner Freedman added the fact that it’s not on the agenda. Ms. Angus stated she did not believe there are any savings. Commissioner Holman replied, “that is what he wanted to hear, there are no savings.”
Commissioner Freedman made a motion to adjourn; Commissioner Holder seconded; the motion passed by a vote of 4-0-0 with Commissioners Adams, Freedman, Holder and Chairman Maddox in favor. Commissioner Holman did not vote.
Peggy L. Malcolm
Deputy County Clerk