The City of Pendergrass plans to create a citizen-led advisory board to review planning and zoning matters.

 The board would consist of nine members, nominated by council members and the mayor, serving two-year terms.

Mayor Melvin Tolbert announced the move at the city council’s Aug. 25 meeting. The board would include city administrator Rob Russell, who would present planning and zoning issues to board members.

“I, personally, am kind of excited about it,” Russell said. “It think it’s going to add another layer. It’s going to add a lot of information out there.”

Tolbert said he hopes the board is in place by the council’s next meeting.

The board would meet at a consistent date and time during each month, and all meetings would be open to the public.

Some of the upcoming issues the board would consider are proposed speed limits in Brooks Village subdivision, zoning map updates, annexation applications, an updated nuisance ordinance and whether or not the city should adopt a golf cart friendly community ordinance.

The board will submit recommendations to the council, who holds the final decision on all planning and zoning matters.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business, the council:

•approved a resolution to accept federal COVID-19 relief money. Pendergrass has been allotted $29,000 (based on population), with the first phase of that money being an $8,400 installment. That money must be used by Sept. 30. The relief funds must be applied to COVID-19 related expenses, including those promoting social distancing. “It’s a spend it or lose it resolution,” Russell said. Some of the possible expenditures would include a screen partition at city hall, a cage for a police patrol car to separate prisoners from officers and recording equipment to make council meetings available online.

•heard that the city would be subject to requirements of a stormwater program called “MS4” (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) if Jackson County’s population should top 100,000 residents in the next census. The city would be required to identify and photograph each inlet and culvert in the city.

•held a second reading of the city’s proposed millage rate of three mills, which has remained unchanged for over a decade.

•heard that the state’s bridge repair project on Hwy. 332 could start soon but that the project might take up to a year and a half to complete.

•heard from a citizen asking if the council’s meetings could be moved to the evening instead of 9 a.m. which would allow working residents to attend meetings. Councilman Nathan Pruitt said he’s heard opinions both for and against the 9 a.m. meetings. He noted that between 40-50 residents attended a 9 a.m. meeting in late July.

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