Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local News

April 22, 2010

VFW up in arms about City’s denial for rezoning

AMERICUS —  Thomas Holloway, commander of a local American Legion Post, addressed the Americus Mayor and City Council on Thursday.

He is upset about the Council’s decision to deny the Post’s request to rezone its property at 1302 Crawford St. at the Council’s meeting in March.

At that March 26 meeting, Mandy Young, director of the Community and Economic Development for the City, said the Georgia Power Co. has an easement on the property the VFW proposed to use as a used car lot and it cannot authorize this type of encroachment of its lines. After a motion to deny the rezoning request (from residential to commercial) by Council member Juanita Wilson, the Council voted unanimously to deny it.

On Thursday, Holloway said neither he or anyone else owns the property in question, that it belongs to the veterans. He said the property is surrounded on three sides by commercial property. He also demanded a copy of the letter from Georgia Power to the City that the City based its decision on, based on Georgia Power’s recommendation to deny the rezoning request.

Holloway said that he had studied civil engineering and business law at Georgia Tech and he believes the City “conspired” to thwart the American Legion’s request.

Jack Brown, also a member of the same Post, said the property in question is owned by the American Legion in perpetuity and that a residence can “never be built on it.” He asked how the City’s and the County’s zoning ordinances differ, and stated that the property had, since 1952, had a business on it until the tornado of March 2007 did its destruction.

“I feel we have been victimized by a multitude of administrative errors,” Brown said. “We request that this be straightened out and that we are able to rezone, although in my opinion, it doesn’t require rezoning.”

The Council approved the following items on its consent agenda Thursday.

• Proposal for probation services from Southwest Circuit Court Services.

• Authorization for the City to apply for a grant from the Georgia State Parks for playground equipment at Joyce Myers Park in the amount of $14,250. This is a matching grant with the City providing in-kind services and materials in the same amount.

• Award of a bid of $12,130 from Southwest Striping, Americus for  street striping.

• Design fees of $75,500 for City Well No. 7.

• An intergovernmental agreement between the City of Americus and the Sumter County Board of Commissioners for the provision of transit services in the unincorporated areas of Sumter County.

• A transportation agreement contract between the City of Americus and Middle Flint Behavioral HealthCare in which Americus Transit will provide transit services for the Middle Flint clients.

In other business, the Council voted to approve the following.

• An amendment to the Home Rule Charter to provide authority for the City to establish, operate and maintain a storm water utility.

• Suspend the rules and approve a budget ordinance  amendment which will not affect the bottom line.

• Suspend the rules and approve an amendment to sewer rates.

• An ordinance amendment to secure structures that are in ill repair but not eligible for demolition.

• Right of Public Passage Official Ordinance for the right of public officers to enter and inspect property.

• A amendment that will provide public officials to enter property to inspect in connection with nuisance investigations and for enhanced penalties.

• An alcoholic beverage license application for Tienda San Felipe, 1604-G E. Forsyth St., for beer consumption off premises.

• An alcoholic beverage application for Jessica Lange of Murphy Oil USA at 1700 E. Lamar St. pending certificate of occupancy.

• Amendment to provide for a storm water utility enterprise fund.

• Design fees in the amount of $77,600 for the Heads Avenue drainage improvements.

• Design fees in the amount of $97,000 for the Sun Valley Drive drainage improvements.

• Rezoning request from Colleen Anderson to establish a real estate business at 1501 Crawford St.

• Award of a bid for $249,481.79 to Johnson Construction Co. LLC, Americus for the 2007 CDBG storm drainage and street improvements project.

• Reappointments of Oneida Ingram, Anthony Dragoin and Charles Crisp to three-year terms on the Americus Historic Preservation Commission.

• Appointment of Sandra Murray to a three-year term on the Americus Historic Preservation Commission, replacing Kent Sole, whose term expires April 28.

• Reappointment of Ryan Young for a three-year term on the Walk of Fame Committee.

• Appointment of Marvin Harris for a three-year term on the Walk of Fame Committee, replacing Marcus Johnson, who term expired April 19.

City Council Member of the Month, Ernest Fussell of Sun Valley Drive, was recognized by Mayor Barry Blount with a proclamation in recognition of his services.

Wade Bartlett was administered the oath of office by the Mayor to serve on the Board of Zoning Appeals.

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