by Robin Kemp

Millage increases all over the place, zoning variance requests, Waste Management’s efforts to make its neighbors happy, and community activists teaching children and adults about the importance of growing and eating healthy, locally-grown food–a lot’s happening this week in Clayton County:

Monday, Aug. 16

  • 10 a.m.: The City of Riverdale holds the first of three public hearings on increasing the millage rate to 11.48 mils. That means about a 15.08% property tax increase. See more details, including past millage increases and current estimates. The hearing takes place at City Hall, 7200 Church Street.
  • 5:30 p.m.: The Jonesboro Historic Preservation Commission meets at 124 North Avenue. On the agenda: consideration of a Certificate of Appropriateness for 105 Pine Circle (Parcel 13240D C012) in the Historic Residential Overlay. The owner, Al David, is asking to enlarge the driveway and eventually add a carport on the side of the house. Staff recommends denial because the project does not have a variance. The Design Review Commission also recommended denial without a variance.
  • 5:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Education holds the third and final public hearing on the FY2022 millage rate. The meeting will be held virtually due to COVID-19. The board wants to keep the rate at 20 mils. Because property values have gone up in the county, the effect would be a higher property tax for most homeowners. However, people who live in their own homes can apply online for various exemptions with the Clayton County Tax Commissioner’s office. That office says 2021 tax bills should go out September 15 and are due on November 15.
  • 6 p.m.: The City of Riverdale holds the second of three public hearings on increasing the millage rate to 11.48 mils. That means about a 15.08% property tax increase. See more details, including past millage increases and current estimates. The hearing takes place at City Hall, 7200 Church Street. The final hearing will take place August 23 at 5 p.m.
  • 6 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Education meets to discuss a “time-sensitive” transportation issue, as well as to vote on the proposed millage rate for FY2022. Although the transportation issue was not specified on the published agenda as of press time, CCPS, like many other school districts across the country, has a serious shortage of bus drivers. On August 3, CCPS said “a positive COVID-19 case…will impact a number of bus routes” and imposed a ten-day quarantine through Monday, August 16.
  • 6 p.m.: The Forest Park City Council holds its work session. On the agenda: a presentation from Waste Management in response to residents’ complaints about rodents, odors, and noise at the transfer station. Waste Management says it will use a company called ChemStation to spray down garbage with unnamed chemicals that are “misted or fogged into the air through line sprayer or misting system for maximum odor elimination” and that the spray will “encapsulate or counteract nearly any type of malodors immediately and effectively.” The company says “A number of our products have passed EPA’s stringent testing process and are recognized with their seal of approval under the Safer Choice program.” The Safer Choice seal is not an EPA endorsement. The seal means that EPA has a list of chemicals that it considers to be safer than others and that “the product’s formula, as ChemStation has represented it to the EPA, contains ingredients with more positive human health and environmental characteristics than conventional products of the same type. EPA/Safer Choice relies solely on ChemStation, its integrity and good faith, for information on the product’s composition, ingredients and attributes.” It’s not clear from the agenda packet whether the chemical or chemicals Waste Management either has used or is proposing to use fall under the SaferChoice program. It’s also not clear what effects any runoff might have on the nearby homes and creek. (Transparency note: the editor lives near the site.) Interim Finance Director Darquita Williams will discuss a $14,000 transfer from contingency reserve funds to Public Works Capital Outlay to pay for painting the city’s logo on a Clayton County Water Authority tank, as well as the need to correct a typo in the approved budget: “The Federal Contribution Act line states $94,000. The correct amount for this line item should be $94,000….The difference of $84,600 will be transferred to the Reserve for Contingency.” Councilman Hector Gutierrez also will discuss homelessness in the city.
  • 7 p.m.: The Forest Park City Council holds its regular meeting. On the agenda: The council will vote on taking over the three historic African-American cemeteries, as well as a Livable Cities Initiative transportation grant that would cover a $200,000 preliminary engineering study for a pedestrian bridge over Forest Parkway. The bridge would link Starr Park with the proposed Main Street Model Mile Greenway Trail and would create a defining feature in the heart of the city. The LCI Grant would provide $160,000 (80%) and require the city to put up $40,000 (20%). The council also will vote on an agreement with the Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration to supply county voting equipment to the city. The deal will save the city $16,000, according to the work session agenda. In June, the council voted to hire Marcia Ridley’s Intact Consulting Services, which included $25,208.50 for Dominion Voting Systems equipment and materials. City Clerk S. Diane White is the elections supervisor.
  • 7 p.m.: The Lovejoy City Council holds its business meeting at the Municipal Complex Council Chambers, 2296 Talmadge Road. In-person participation is limited to 10 people, including the mayor and council, which would leave no more than five spaces if no other staff or guests are present. Citizens should e-mail public comments (which become public record) to LJCITY@CITYOFLOVEJOY.COM by 3 p.m. To join via Zoom, visit https://bit.ly/3sjNqhZ (meeting ID 609-230-8294 and passcode 2K7VEh). On the agenda: a public hearing followed by a vote on an amendment to allow RVs and campers in residential mobile home parks, another public hearing followed by a vote on a conditional use permit for a convenience store and gas station for F1 Petroleum LLC, listed in county property mapping records as 2105 Lovejoy Road and owned by Fazal Ellahi. The business was administratively dissolved on July 19, according to the Secretary of State’s online corporate listings. The property is zoned General Business and backs up against a subdivision. The council also will welcome Lovejoy High School Principal Rodney Jordan. Anyone with questions about the agenda, minutes, ordinances, or resolutions should e-mail Marie Burnham at m_burnham@cityoflovejoy.com.

Tuesday, Aug. 17

  • 5:30 p.m.: The Forest Park Development Authority holds a special called meeting via Zoom. In-person attendees at City Hall must wear masks and observe social distancing. The sole item on the agenda as of press time is an executive session. Under state law, executive sessions are held to discuss personnel, real estate, and litigation matters. The reason for this executive session was not specified. After executive sessions, governing bodies often take a vote on whatever was discussed in the executive session. To dial in, call (929) 205-6099  and enter meeting ID 875- 8709-6022 and passcode 507833.
  • 6:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Commissioners meets. On the lengthy consent agenda are these contracts, modifications, and change orders:
    • $4,330,110.98 to C.W. Matthews Contracting Company, Inc. of Marietta to mill and resurface McDonough Road between the Henry and Fayette County lines, using 2015 SPLOST funds and a Georgia DOT grant.
    • Piccadilly Holdings, LLC of Southlake, TX will provide meals to both Senior Service cafeterias with a monthly management fee of $4,000 and a 3% annual increase. The county gets 50% of any net profit. The contract is for one year and may last up to three years.
    • $20,043.50 to Superior International Industries, Inc. dba Superior Recreational Products of Carrollton, for furniture fixtures and equipment at the International Park Water Park. Funding is from the 2009 SPLOST.
    • $806,200 to Ten-8 Fire and Safety of Bradenton, FL for a 2022 Pierce Encore Fire Truck for Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services, using the General Fund.
    • $689,175 to Ten-8 Fire and Safety of Bradenton, FL for three Ford F-550 ambulances for Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services, using the 2021 SPLOST Bond Proceeds Fund.
    • $140,570.91 to Place Services, Inc of Canton for computer work area improvements at the Riverdale Branch Library, using Community Development Block Grant funds.
    • A price increase of $32.75 per one-way trip for Clayton County Senior Services to MLB Transportation, Inc. of Tucker, using General Fund and an Atlanta Regional Commission grant.
    • An additional $177,672.50 to C.W. Matthews of Marietta for a temporary shoring wall to stabilize a bridge under construction over the Flint River at Valley Hill Road. The money would come from the 2009 SPLOST Fund.
    • An additional $77,645 to The Winter Construction Company of Peachtree Corners “to extend the sanitary sewer line scope of work and additional project management” as part of its annual contract for mold remediation services. The money would come from 2015 SPLOST funds.
    • A request for an unspecified reclassification at the Clayton County Prison
    • A budget amendment to add a turn lane on Panhandle Road at the new Michelle Obama Elementary
    • Several cash bond, permit, and business license refunds
  • Resolutions on the consent agenda:
    • 2021-171 would create permitting requirement to replace or repair existing fences “to reduce or eliminate any adverse impact on these changes on the surrounding properties.”
    • 2021-172 would create new residential architectural design standards for new construction of single-family attached and single-family detached homes.
    • 2021-173 would authorize renewal of the county’s agreement with the University of Georgia to provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) education.
    • 2021-174 would set Clayton County property taxes at 19.496 mils in unincorporated Clayton and 14.746 mils in the incorporated (city) areas.
    • 2021-175 would authorize the county to apply for more American Rescue Plan Act stimulus funds.
    • 2021-176 would authorize the county to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia for up to $300,000 to repair and upgrade various county library branches.
    • 2021-177 would authorize the county to accept a 2015 black Chevy Tahoe for the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office “for the purpose of enhancing law enforcement.”
    • 2021-178 would authorize Commissioner Felicia Franklin “to host a Karaoke event to promote vaccinations and positive-distanced engagement with the Clayton County community.”
    • 2021-179 would authorize the Clayton County Police Department to accept Sgt. Kristopher Hutchens as a part-time training Task Force Officer (TFO) assigned to the U.S. Marshals Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force. 
    • 2021-180 would authorize Chairman Jeff Turner or Police Chief Kevin Roberts to enter a new MOU with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “for the purpose of continuing participation in Strategic Atlanta Firearms Enforcement Task Force.”
    • 2021-181 would allow the county ta accept “forfeited property [85 items] pursuant to thirty-one court orders for official use by the Clayton County Police Department.”
    • 2021-182 will finale the Clayton County Board of Education’s 20-mil property tax rate for FY 2021-2022.
    • 2021-183 allows a lease agreement between the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce and the Clayton County Economic Development Department for office space at 2270-2272 Mount Zion Road in Jonesboro.
    • 2021-184 would authorize Commissioner Gail Hambrick “to partner with North Clayton High School Alumni Association” for a picnic at Flat Shoals Park in Riverdale on Aug. 28 from noon to 8 p.m.
    • 2021-185 would authorize the county to transfer 12818 Panhandle Road in Hampton (Parcel ID 05047D A008) to the Clayton County Land Bank Authority.
  • Board appointments include the Zoning Advisory Group (Chairman Turner) Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (Commissioner Davis).
  • Zoning matters include:
    • Clayton-Tara LLC’s request to rezone about 15.52 acres at 1425 Tara Road and 10415 Panhandle Road in Hampton (the 46-home Panhandle Village on parcels 06096D B002 and 06096D B003) from General business and Planned Unit Development to just Planned Unit Development (Commissioner Warner). Both Planning and Zoning and the Zoning Advisory Group (ZAG) recommend approval with conditions. There’s also a public hearing on approving the preliminary plat.
    • A public hearing on a proposed 24.4-acre, 195 single-family attached townhome project at 1816 Noah’s Ark Road and 9497 Thornton Blvd. near the intersection of Dixon Industrial and Noah’s Ark Road. Battle Law on behalf of Gene Whittington is requisition a Future Land Use Map (FLUM) amendment from general commercial to medium density for a n Article 7 Planned Unit Development (Commissioner Davis). Both P&Z and ZAG recommend denial, “given it is inconsistent with the current policies of the Comprehensive Plan policies for sustainable communities.” Related requests for rezoning and plat approval also require public hearings.
    • The BOC will decide whether to rezone 21.2 acres at 9110 Thomas Road in Jonesboro from agriculture to planned unit development for 63 single-family detached homes. Both P&Z and ZAG recommend approval with conditions, including community gardens, a playground, pavilion, and CCWA flood plain and stormwater management requirements. (Commissioner Franklin). A related preliminary plat approval is also on the agenda.

Wednesday, Aug. 18

  • 1 p.m.: Little Lions Food Stand is open until 6 p.m.at Little Ones Learning Center, 993 Forest Ave., selling fresh locally grown produce, some of which is grown by the kids themselves. The stand takes cash, credit, debit, and EBT. Parking is available down the street in the church parking lot. The project has been so successful that it’s spreading to other early learning centers through the Clayton Collective, which is “dedicated to developing holistic programs centered around education, nutrition, wellness and health.”

Thursday, Aug. 19

  • 5 p.m.: Forest Park Councilwoman Kimberly James holds her monthly Ward 1 meeting at the Leonard Hartsfield Community Center, 696 Main Street. You also can attend by Zoom at https://bit.ly/37LirSn (use meeting ID 830-8346-5760 and password jamesward1).
  • 6 p.m.: District 5 School Board member Dr. Dee Haney holds a virtual “meet-and-greet” via Zoom for parents, students, school, district staff, and community partners. Register in advance at https://bit.ly/2VQ2sQN for a direct link to the meeting.
  • 6 p.m.: The Forest Park Planning Commission will consider a request for a zoning variance at 4573 Puckett Street in the Main Street Overlay District. The owner, Arthur Gilbert, wants to add a garage that would reduce the setback from 10 feet to 2 feet.

Friday, Aug. 20

Saturday, Aug. 21

  • 9 a.m.: The City of Forest Park celebrates Forest Park Day.

Please send any additions or corrections directly to the editor.

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