The Winder City Council approved first reading of an update to the city’s comprehensive zoning ordinance and the replacement of a bridge at the city-owned Chimneys golf course during a called teleconference meeting Tuesday, March 31.

City staff and the council, along with citizens’ input, have spent the past year crafting updates to the zoning ordinance and removing “outdated” items that no longer had relevance, city planning director Barry Edgar said.

The updated ordinance also has “use tables” designed to make it easier for citizens to reference, according to officials.

In general, the updated ordinance, according to its language, is intended to:

• “promote the health, safety, aesthetics, convenience, order, growth, prosperity and

general welfare of the present and future inhabitants of the city.”

• “improve the city's appearance.”

• “further traffic safety through proper transportation management.”

• “improve the general safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.”

• “conserve the environmental and natural elements of the city.”

• “secure safety from fire, panic, natural and manmade disasters, and other dangers.”

• “provide adequate light and air.”

• “prevent the inappropriate overcrowding of land.”

• “avoid unmanaged concentrations of population and unmanaged growth or the effects of sprawl.”

• “facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water, sewer, parks, fire, police, and other public facilities necessary to promote the health and education of the city's citizens.”

• “sustain the stability of neighborhoods.”

• “protect property against blight and depreciation.”

A final reading and vote on the ordinance will be held at the council’s Tuesday, April 7 meeting and the updated ordinance will take effect April 8. At that time, a moratorium that has been in place on certain building materials and zoning requests will be lifted.

The council could still consider updates or amendments to the newly-revised ordinance. But those would have to go before the city’s planning board and the earliest that can be is May, Edgar said. If the planning board recommended any updates or changes from there, the council could vote on them as early as June.

GOLF COURSE PROJECTS

The council on Tuesday unanimously approved the purchase of a new Hole 3 bridge at the Chimneys from Links Bridges in the amount of $60,300. The project carries with it a 10-percent contingency for a total cost of $66,300. The pricing includes fabrication and installation.

The bridge has been an ongoing issue the last couple of years, golf course manager Chris Scott told the council during a Thursday, March 26 teleconference meeting. Councilman Chris Akins noted Tuesday the city had spent over $38,000 in repairs to the bridge the last few years.

“It becomes a liability issue at some point,” councilman Jimmy Terrell said. “I think this is probably the right move.”

The council also considered Tuesday two more golf course projects — the purchase of a new outdoor equipment storage shed for $47,800 and the construction of restroom facilities around Hole 11 for $44,268 — but opted to remove those items from the agenda and seek more information.

Some council members had questioned, at the Thursday meeting, taking on all three projects at once, and Scott reiterated that the bridge replacement was the highest priority.

TOPICS AT MARCH 26 MEETING

The following topics were among those the council also discussed during its March 26 teleconference meeting:

•The council heard that discussions are underway with district-level officials from the Georgia Department of Transportation to revamp the intersection of Horton Street and State Route 81 at Bush Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church. That would likely involve a roundabout project to slow down traffic at what Maynard described as “obviously a very dangerous intersection,” but could include a different approach. A “full-blown” realignment project might be 4-5 years out, but a “quick response project” could be achieved more quickly, Maynard said. DOT officials will likely have a proposal/plan to send back to the city in the next several weeks, city planning director Barry Edgar said.

•The council heard that the work needed to repair the parking lot at the Winder Public Library was estimated at $34,125. The council in February amended the city’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget to allow the city to allocate funds collected in excess of $200,000 for the library assessment to be put toward property maintenance and improvements at the library. Maynard and city attorney John Stell have said that under an agreement with Barrow County, the city can only use assessment revenue to fund library property improvements. It would take votes from both the council and the county of board of commissioners to change that, Maynard said.

•The council heard the city’s new records-storage and administrative building off Patrick Mill Road near its utilities complex, is about two months away from “substantial” completion. The current plan is for the city’s human resources department to relocate there. The project had an estimated $2 million price tag and is one of three projects — along with Jug Tavern Park upgrades and the new Jackson Street pedestrian plaza under construction — that the city is borrowing $3.5 million over the next decade for under a financing agreement with the Georgia Municipal Association. The plan is to eventually pay that money back with SPLOST proceeds.

•The council heard that the city is continuing to plan for opening up more property for burials at Rose Hill Cemetery.

•The city is still mulling over an official name for the Jackson Street pedestrian plaza and will solicit public input.

•The city will reach out to a University of Georgia group about painting some murals in the downtown area.

•The council will continue to evaluate options for a potential dog park in the city. Last month, the council opted not to move forward with a proposal to build a dog park on vacant city property between the city hall annex and the railroad tracks on North Jackson Street. The county board of commissioners. Also last month, the county board of commissioners approved additional funding to build a dog park at Victor Lord Park as part as phase 1 of the park expansion project.

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