February 1, 2021 — Commission Chairman Phillip Beard called the meeting to order at 7 p.m. at the Buford Arena. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the agenda and minutes from the Jan. 4, 2021, meeting were approved.
A public hearing was held for four parcels of land totaling 35.461 acres located at 2045 Buford Highway. Three of the four parcels were zoned C-2 and one was zoned O-I. The applicant, IDI Logistics, asked for rezoning to M-1 to allow for a 495,000-square-foot warehouse facility. Ewing Motor Company will be moving up Buford Highway near Friendship Road. There were no objections from the audience. The applicant agreed to several conditions that commissioners wanted for the property. The four requests were approved.
Another rezoning request was presented to the commission. This one is for 8.04 acres located at 909 Gainesville Highway. The applicant, Lanier Logistics Center LLC, requests that the property be rezoned from M-1 to C-2 to allow for future commercial development. Part of the property is slated to be the new location for Ewing Motor Company. With no objections from the audience, the commission approved the request. Accompanying this rezoning request was a request for a special use permit to allow for Ewing Motor Company (Michael Ewing) to operate a car lot on 3.52 acres located at 909 Gainesville Highway. The request was approved.
A zoning variance was requested to allow for a larger home on a smaller lot at the corner of Park Street and Scott Street as part of the Pentecostal Church property. The request was approved. The home will be occupied by the pastor of the church.
The chairman was authorized to enter into an agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation for the acquisition of right of way for a federal or state aid project (Moreno Street). The chairman was authorized to enter into an agreement with MEAG Power on behalf of the city of Calhoun to purchase its excess power capacity. With existing housing units aging, the city is working to replace the units belonging to the Buford Housing Authority. The city of Buford is buying properties located on New Street and East Park Street from the Buford Housing Authority, while the city of Buford will sell its properties on Elliott Street and Arnold Street to the Buford Housing Authority to construct new units.
The commission authorized the city manager and the city attorney to purchase properties located at 590 Forest St. and 690 New St. The purchase of property located at 79 Moreno St. in the amount of $307,606.93 and property located at 79 S. Harris St. in the amount of $450,038.70 was ratified by the commission. These purchases are across from the new parking deck and the city wishes to improve the area. The commission authorized the transfer of city properties at 79 S. Harris St., 79 Moreno St., 96 W. Main St. and 106 W. Main St. to the Downtown Development Authority. It is anticipated that the DDA will sell the properties.
The 2021-2022 workers’ compensation policy was approved to be renewed. The premium decreased by approximately $15,000. The commission authorized the renewal of the 2021-2022 general liability and property insurance. The premium increased by approximately $47,000. The 2021-2022 Buford Community Center Theatre concert series, fall 2021 lawn concert and summer amphitheater concert series were approved with the understanding that due to the pandemic these could change. Two payments were authorized for the 2020 paving project.
City Manager Bryan Kerlin gave his update starting with COVID-19. The city lost a longtime city employee, Levon Thomas, due to the virus. Thomas worked with the city for 21 years and was a dedicated worker. Thomas had a great smile and welcoming spirit, Kerlin said.
The remaining fields under construction at the legion fields should be ready in March for spring baseball and softball. The youth basketball league final games were played Feb. 6. Tennis continues to see good participation.
Electric consumption is down 4.95 percent for the pandemic period, March through December 2020, as compared with the same period last year, but Kerlin said consumption is slowly returning to pre-COVID levels. Concerts are slowly coming back to the BCC and the concerts they have hosted have gone well with the decreased capacity. Mirrors are to be installed in the parking deck to allow motorists to see each other better as they navigate the curves. The city received four bids on Jan. 5 for the water plant expansion project. Electric, water and gas departments all have projects under various stages of construction.
Following Kerlin’s update, Chairman Beard asked the audience if anyone had anything they would like to bring before the commission. With no one bringing any additional business or comments to the commission, Beard adjourned the meeting. The next meeting will be March 1 at the Buford Arena.
— Staff Reports