by Robin Kemp
UPDATE 5:52 p.m.: ADDS HACC board meeting Tuesday 12/14 at 5:30 p.m., BOC vote on HACC audit
UPDATE 10:45 a.m. 12/14: ADDS Morrow, Invest Clayton meetings Tuesday night
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Here’s what you need to keep an eye on in local government this week in Clayton County:
Monday, Dec. 13
- 6 p.m.: The Riverdale City Council holds its regular meeting at 7200 Church Street. On tonight’s agenda are several zoning and real estate matters:
- a public hearing and consideration of whether to rezone 7105 GA-85 (Panda Express), 7107 GA-85 (J. Buffalo Wings), 7145 GA-85 (Chase Bank), 7183 GA-85 (Nu-Look Furniture), 7195 GA-85 (other shops in the strip containing Smiley’s Barbershop), 820 Bethsaida Road (the little strip mall across from Upper Deck Batting Range), and 9 Merchants Square Shopping Center (where Crab Hut is) from Town Center Mixed Use (TCMU) to General Commercial (GC)
- $40,670 to Robert and Company for Wilson Road improvements (Res. 62-12-2021)
- $139,700 to Falcon Design for Powers Street improvements (Res. 63-12-2021)
- appoint Angela Rambeau, the city’s zoning administrator, to the Clayton County Land Bank Board (Res. 64-12-2021)
- an unspecified real estate purchase (Res. 65-12-2021)
- unspecified surplus property (66-12-2021)
- 6 p.m.: The Jonesboro City Council holds its regular meeting at 170 S. Main Street (in the courtroom on the second floor of the police station). Five public hearings top the agenda: four on zoning matters and one on the proposed FY 2022 city budget. The proposed FY 2022 budget is on pp. 197-224 of the agenda packet. This is your official chance to give your elected officials feedback on these items before they vote on them later in the meeting. Zoning items include:
- a stream buffer variance for properties at 109 North Ave. (13240D D015) and 113 North Ave. (13240D D016), as well as parts of the rear of properties at 217 N. Main Street (13240D D012), all formerly owned by Craig Branan as trustee; and 215 N. Main Street (13240D D011, formerly owned by Jerry C. Graham) , 211 N. Main Street (13240D D010, formerly owned by Lucksim Investor LLC), and 203 and 205 N. Main Street (13240D D008 and 13240D D009, formerly owned by Joseph Craig Branan as trustee). These are all related to the Hearthside Jonesboro senior housing development. See Thursday’s listing for more about proposed statewide changes to stream buffer rules, which generally have been under local jurisdiction.
- a map amendment to rezone 1.41 acres at 795 North Ave. (the Kroger shopping center) from Clayton County General Business (GB) to Jonesboro Highway Commercial (C-2) and to annex it into the City of Jonesboro. Kroger is putting in a fuel center, another lucrative annexation along Tara Boulevard for incorporated Jonesboro in recent months.
- several other proposed variances for the Kroger fuel center at that location–including minimum building height, landscaping less than 6 feet wide along the perimeter, fewer than the required number of parking spaces, maximum number of electronic signs, maximum number of ground signs, and placement of electronic message signs. The parcel, 13210D A002, is owned by BVC Crossroads South, LLC, according to online county tax records.
- an alcohol beverage pouring license (at 7695 Tara Blvd., Unit 40, in the Kroger shopping center) for a business called The Social House. The agenda notes, “Royce Turner has requested to be the License Representative.” The Georgia Secretary of State’s corporate listing for The Social House, LLC shows Akilah Maanami Tassain of 1022 Trace Lane in Lawrenceville as the organizer, and that the company was formed on Feb. 7, 2020. Tassain, a business graduate of LSU, is a staff accountant at Inspire Brands (the company behind Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s, Rusty Taco, and Sonic, according to her LinkedIn profile.
- The council also will vote on Ordinance 2021-20 (which would amend the nuisance ordinance), a budget amendment in order to buy 160 Smith Street from the estate of Alonza Varner for $22,837.59, requiring an employee ID card for package alcohol sales, buying 21 raised garden beds, pea gravel, and a lofted barn for storage; and 13 laptops for patrol officers.
- 6:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Ethics Board meets in Conference Room Two at 112 Smith Street, Jonesboro.
- 6:30 p.m.: The Lake City City Council holds its work session, followed by the 7 p.m. regular meeting, at City Hall, 5455 Jonesboro Road, Lake City. If you have business withe the city and want an item placed on the agenda, call (404) 366-8080. On the agenda (below): updates on the Reynolds Road sidewalk project, Oswalt Nature Park, Lake City Community Center renovations, code enforcement, and installation of a storm warning siren. The regular meeting will consider rental fees and a contract update for the Lake City Community Center, as well as appointments to the Architectural Review Board.
Tuesday, Dec. 14
- 4:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration holds its monthly meeting. Register via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FUr_NxhKR3-mWoMbfgXqIA
- 5:30 p.m.: The Housing Authority of Clayton County Facilities Holding Company LLC Board of Managers holds its regular board meeting, followed by the HACC Board of Commissioners regular meeting at 5:45 p.m. The BOC voted unanimously on Dec. 7 to appoint real estate agent Robert Payne to replace former Chair Michael Bryant. The Board of Commissioners removed Bryant for allegedly paying his own company for repairs to the historic structure housing HACC’s offices at 732 Main Street in Forest Park. Bryant said he had only reimbursed his company for necessary repairs. Last Tuesday, the BOC voted 4-1 for an internal audit of the matter. Chairman Jeff Turner said that an outside audit would be preferable due to “serious allegations that goes beyond just the scope of the rehabilitation of Main Street,” adding that he wanted to see the scope of the investigation “enlarged” and handled by an outside auditor because “some criminal charges could arise out of it,” while District 3 Commissioner Gail Hambrick said she thought an internal audit would “be a good start” and that she “believe[s] in saving the taxpayers’ dollars”:
- 5:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Board of Commissioners has a relatively lengthy work session agenda. Ten items are up for discussion before the Dec. 21 meeting, including:
- a market analysis of the Upper Riverdale Road Corridor by Fire Chief Landry Merkison (also Chief Resilience Officer)
- Merkison also will update the Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services 2021-2026 Operational and Strategic Plan
- whether to accept cashless payments only for zoning, building permits, inspections, and business licenses (specifically, checks, money orders, cashier’s checks, and credit cards)
- a Library Services presentation on possible locations “and other options for libraries in the Jonesboro area”
- creating partnerships for mobile vaccination sites
- MARTA’s quarterly update on projects and programs in Clayton County
- “different incentives of compensation for public safety personnel”
- a discussion of Nourishing Hands, Inc. as a way to help students with “additional education and life-skills assistance,” citing the fact that 17.6% of students who took AP and IB tests passed
- the Small Business Local Enterprise (SLBE) annual report (who got how much and what “enhancements and initiatives” are coming in 2022)
- a benchmark report on minority and women businesses (MWBEs) by Rodney Strong of Griffin and Strong PC, which “sets semi-annual benchmarking for overall County procurement with MWBEs.”
- 6 p.m.: Invest Clayton (Development Authority of Clayton County) meets at the Lake City Community Center, 5471 Jonesboro Road, Lake City. The conference call number is (605) 472-5254 with access code 136500#. On the agenda:
- approval of the Nov. 9 regular and Dec. 7 special called meeting minutes
- updates from treasurer Randy Burton on board finances, Larry Vincent’s Invest Clayton Project Report, and Sydney-Alice Bourget on Clayton Works
- a ground lease agreement with Roman United
- an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Atlanta for the Gilbert Road Joint Venture project
- a letter of agreement (LOA) with Gilbert Road Joint Venture
- a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Goodwill of North Georgia
- an MOU with Accession Distribution Training and Staffing, Inc.
- a contract with Crabapple Landscaping
- a sponsorship package for Jonesboro High School
- an executive session on real estate, personnel, and potential litigation
- any consideration of items from the executive session
- 6:30 p.m.: The Morrow City Council holds its work session, followed by the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. The work session will cover the following items, as well as a discussion of sanitation by Mayor John Lampl. The council will consider:
- appointments to the Downtown Development Authority (reappointing Councilwoman Dorothy Dean to 2026)
- appointments to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (Lana Labay replacing Terry Mobley to 2025, Nancy Hargis replacing Jeannie DeTar to 2023, Alaina Reaves replacing Ben Hopkins to 2023)
- reappointing existing members; the agenda does not specify the board(s) to which the appointments are to be made (Bonita Crawford replacing Bob Huie to 2025; Cherie Crisp replacing now-Councilman Khoa Vuong to 2025, Sylvia Norris to 2026)
- appointing a Mayor Pro Tempore
- a “single source proposal” for $17,000 to Yprk Bridge Concepts to inspect the timber structure of the wooden bridge at Olde Towne Morrow/The District
- $8,616 to Bambee HR Software, as recommended by the city manager, “to provide additional human resources services and consulting to the city” for two years
- approving the Fire Department’s request to apply for $63,018 in grants with a 5% city match of $3,201
- approving staff recommendation of $54,582.12 in SPLOST funds (year not specified) to buy the Axon Products Core+ Bundle on a one-year contract of $22,734.12 and the Fleet 3 with Integrated ALPR (automatic license plate reader) on a one-year contract of $31,848
- a job reclassification of “a current detective sergeant position to a lieutenant position in the Morrow Police Department’s Criminal Investigation/Internal Affairs Division” (Res. 2021-21)
- an executive session on personnel matters
- approval of the Nov. 23 work session and meeting minutes
- awarding the Danny and Mary Nell Rudd Firefighter of the Year Award to Capt. Paul Booner
- issuing proclamations to JoAnne Allen, Mai Duong, and Maria Favela
Wednesday, Dec. 15
- 8 a.m.: The Clayton County Civil Service Board meets via Zoom. Register in advance at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HDeQo6CXSPC5ZF7ebgyxBw
- 9 a.m.: The Clayton County Board of Assessors meets in the 4th Floor conference room of Annex 3, 121 S. McDonough Street, Jonesboro.
- 5:30 p.m.: The Clayton County Land Bank Board is scheduled to meet via Zoom at Arts Clayton, 136 S. Main Street. However, a notice on the board’s webpage says the December meeting is cancelled.
Thursday, Dec. 16
- 10 a.m.: Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division Watershed Protection Branch holds a public meeting via Zoom to discuss draft rule amendments related to Chapter 391-3-7, Erosion and Sedimentation Control. According to Georgia EPD, “EPD is considering draft rule amendments that will ensure consistency and compliance with House Bill 577 and include other clarifying amendments to the rules. Updates to EPD’s Buffer Mitigation Guidance will also be discussed.” HB 577 requires Georgia DNR to come up with specific rules for approving or denying Georgia Department of Transportation requests for certain projects involving the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by June 30, 2022. Those projects include “adequate erosion control measures” in the planning and implementation of changes to stream buffer zones under Corps of Engineers permits, and for “piping, filling, or rerouting of waters that are not jurisdictional waters of the United States regardless as to whether or not such waters have been classified as primary or secondary trout waters.” In plain English, the Corps wants to know the reasons why Georgia EPD might say yes or no to projects it approves that would disturb stream buffers or run pipes or cut new channels for streams that are critical for trout. A 2005 study by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia goes into more detail on this issue, noting lax regulation, limited data, and weak enforcement statewide. The study notes, “Trout streams must be kept free of sediment because silt harms trout reproduction, food supplies, and living space” by smothering trout eggs and the aquatic insects that trout eat. Most of Georgia’s trout streams are in northwest and north Georgia. Many of the state’s trout stream counties are in Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-14)‘s district. If you can’t make it, you can still send written comments by Monday, Dec. 27, either by email to EPDComments@dnr.ga.gov (put Watershed Protection Branch Draft Rule Amendments, Chapter 391-3-7 in the subject line, or just click this link to send your comment automatically) or by regular mail to EPD Watershed Protection Branch, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr., Suite 1462, East Tower, Atlanta, GA 30334.
- 5 p.m.: Forest Park Ward 1 Councilwoman Kimberly James holds her ward meeting at the Leonard Hartsfield Community Center, 696 Main Street, and via Zoom (meeting ID 830 8346 5760 and password jamesward1).
- 5:30 p.m.: The Forest Park Downtown Development Authority holds its regular meeting. No agenda was posted as of press time. Check back later in the week for details. Members include Mayor Angelyne Butler, Steve Bernard, Ed Taylor, Nachae’ Jones, Eric Stallings, Jacklyn Faith, and Nancy Howard.
- 6 p.m.: The Forest Park Urban Redevelopment Authority holds its regular meeting at the same time as the Planning Commission Board. No agenda was posted as of press time. Check back later in the week for details. Members include Mayor Angelyne Butler, Steve Bernard, Ed Taylor, Nachae’ Jones, Eric Stallings, Jacklyn Faith, and Nancy Howard.
- 6 p.m.: The Forest Park Planning Commission Board meets at the same time as the URA. No agenda was posted as of press time. Check back later in the week for details. Members include Janice Colvin, Ray Goodman, Darnell Moorer, Deverick Williams, Michael Clinkscales, Andy Porter, Azfar Haque, Roderick Jackson and Don Wright.
Friday, Dec. 17
You know the drill. If we missed something, tell us before it happens. Text (404) 547-1171 for speediest service or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. And please–remember to make your tax-deductible gift before December 31 so we can secure a hefty TRIPLE MATCH from several generous foundations! That match will help The Clayton Crescent secure grantwriting and technical assistance, as well as expand our staff for even more coverage benefitting this community! Thank you!