The City of Jefferson is considering an ordinance for food trucks as mobile food vendors become more popular in the city’s downtown district.

City zoning administrator Jerry Weitz said an ordinance is in the works, but city staff needs more time to complete the document.

“The short story is that we’re still working on it,” Weitz told the city council Monday (Nov. 9). “We indulge you for your patience so that we can try to get this ordinance right.”

Weitz said drafting an ordinance is complicated because it blends public and private spaces.

“We have to decide to regulate food trucks on a basis of private property, which is a land use management code issue, and then we regulate or want to allow them on city streets and/or public city parking lots,” he said. “So we need to develop regulations for both of those.”

Weitz said the city has two special-use permits provisions within the city code that city staff wants to tailor to provide the mechanism for food truck permitting.

“So, it’s just going to take us a little longer, a month or two, to put together the right code amendments,” Weitz said.

Mike Martin, who owns the Revival Hall Tap Room in downtown Jefferson, spoke in favor of the ordinance as did citizens Rob Shanahan and Tony Strickland.

Martin did, however, question stipulations restricting food trucks from within 60 feet of an intersection and to one parking space.

Martin’s comments also led to a discussion of trash in the square as additional foot traffic has increased downtown with food trucks and more restaurants coming to the square. Jefferson city workers pick up trash every morning, but a public-private partnership with business owners to help mitigate trash issues was mentioned.

WINDSTREAM REPS SPEAK

Georgia Windstream president, Jarrod Brookshire, made a presentation to the council, giving overview of upgrades in the area. Brookshire said that the company’s Gigabit footprint now covers most of Jefferson.

Michael Foor, Windstream’s Vice President for government affairs, said there are 3,258 gig locations in Jefferson. “A year ago, you wouldn’t have had any most likely,” Foor said.

CHRISTMAS PARADE CANCELED

Main Street Jefferson director Beth Laughinghouse said that Jefferson’s Christmas Parade has been cancelled due to state COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings.

“The governor’s order is explicit in what we can and cannot do,” Laughinghouse said. “There is a limit to the number of attendees for both inside and outside events, and we have consistently followed those numbers.”

Laughinghouse said the issue has received “much social media feedback.”

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business, the council:

•heard an annexation and zoning request for 5.06 acres on Martin Luther King Dr. as a medium density residential district for the construction of a single-family home. The applicant, Ertan Hyuseinov, asks for annexation into the city to allow his daughter to attend Jefferson Schools. A condition would be placed on the property restricting the amount of homes he, or future property owners, could build on the property. The council will vote on the request on Nov. 16.

•heard a conditional use permit request from applicant Ira Studivant to operate a cosmetology business from her home on Isaiah Dr. The in-home business would be limited to 10 clients a week. The council will vote on the request on Nov. 16.

•heard from chief Joe Wirthman that permits for speed detection cameras slated for Jefferson’s school zones have been signed. Once the cameras are received and installed, speeders will receive warnings for 30 days before tickets are issued.

•again heard from Mike Martin, who asked the council to investigate how other cities, such as Monroe and Winder, are incentivizing businesses, particularly restaurants, to locate in their downtown districts. Councilman Mark Mobley agreed, and asked that city staff follow up on that request.

•will seek an status update on two large projects with in the city: a planned retail center at the intersection of the Hwy. 129 Bypass and Old Pendergrass Rd. and the redevelopment of the city’s mill into a mixed-use project. The council agreed to check on the projects after being asked about them by resident Kay Shanahan.

•discussed changing the process by which its selects its mayor pro-tem. The council currently rotates the duties on a schedule between the districts.

•discussed changing the city charter to remove a stipulation requiring council members to resign their post if they qualify to run for mayor. Those changes must be submitted to, and approved, by the Georgia legislature. Mobley pointed out that under the current structure, if two council members decide to run for mayor, the council would not have enough members remaining to function.

•heard from Mobley that a committee, on which he serves, will recommend placing a granite monument in honor of late Jefferson track and field coach and teacher Jack Keen at the site of the Jefferson School System’s outdoor classroom. They also recommend placing a recognition of Keen near the door of his former classroom site at Jefferson High School. Mobley will ask that the city pay for both. A celebration of Keen’s life is planned for April 25, 2021.

•agreed to revisit discussion of a city council liaison position, originally proposed by former mayor Steve Quinn, at its next work session.

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