The council held a public hearing and vote on a conditional use permit and variance application from Hennessy Honda at the May 13 meeting. Due to the narrowness of the lot and existing detention pond, the council approved three variances including reducing buffers to 25 feet, waiving the requirement to place trees and landscape islands in public parking lots and allowing double depth parking spaces.
The Cherokee Planning Commission that met May 2 and recommended trees that were not planted in islands should be placed elsewhere on the property. But after discussion by the mayor, council and Hennessy Honda Attorney Chris Underwood, the council decided to approve the original request that waives planting trees, with the added agreement that the dealership would give $5,000 to the city’s tree fund to be used wherever the council chooses.
The development plan includes removing the car wash, expanding asphalt north toward the existing detention pond, adding a retaining wall where the fence buffer will be built and adding dark skies compliant lighting.
Dimmers will be used between midnight and 6 a.m., and the poles must be 12 to 15 feet high. The lot will only be used for storage. There will be no sales or servicing of cars on the lot. No deliveries will be allowed between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., and there will be a 6-foot-high cedar fence along the east boundary to screen the lot from adjoining family residences.
In other news: The council discussed amendments to chapter 22 of the business ordinance, which deals mainly with massage therapists. The amendments are recommended after a new state law made changes necessary in order to comply.
Seven items were approved by the council, including: Awarding a bid and executive contract to Mauldin and Cook Fencing Company; a charter amendment regarding appointment of solicitor, a request for manufacturing and on-premise consumption of malt beverages in the form of Ancillary Tasting, surplus and disposal of police vehicles; a police department budget amendment; and Community Development Block Grant funding for Bentley Parkway and Goshen Lane stormwater infrastructure rehabilitations.
The council approved SPLOST funding for the Ridgewalk traffic lights 4-0, and the downtown Woodstock signage and wayfinding package 3-1. The estimated cost of the downtown signage project is $73,000, and $17,000 of the funds are already identified, leaving a balance of $53,000. Councilwoman Liz Baxter said she was not ready to move forward with the signage and wayfinding package because of the $53,000 budget balance.
Next, the council discussed and approved community development reorganization. Community Development Director Jessica Guinn said there would be no additional personnel required and no additional budget would be required. Guinn said the reorganization was expected to result in approximately $20,000 of savings per year.