The Buford City Commission held its monthly meeting on Nov. 7, 2022. After the approval of the November Agenda and the minutes from the October meeting, the commission opened public hearings. During the public hearing, the commission considered several special use permits, as follows:
The first special use permit considered was #SUP-22-17, requested by Mike Vahle of Public Storage, 4624 Friendship Rd., 08-156-002191. This special use permit would allow a three-story self-storage facility. Present at the meeting to support the special use permit, Vahle is vice president of Public Storage and lives in Buford. He stated that they are proposing one climate-controlled building that will only have access from inside the building. They are also requesting a variance from the required number of parking spaces, and to allow the use of the corporate color orange on the building. The special use permit was unanimously approved with six conditions in place, including no outdoor storage of junk vehicles on site, and that landscape and architectural design shall follow the Buford Zoning Ordinance.
Next considered was #SUP-22-18, requested by Buford Lanier Storage, LLC, 6702 McEver Rd., 08-160-001005. This Special Use Permit would allow a self-storage facility with boat and RV parking/storage with a buffer reduction. The request was unanimously approved with 10 conditions in place including that the permit is for Buford Lanier Storage, LLC and will expire should the applicant vacate the site. Also included in the conditions are the limitation of one driveway to be approved by the Georgia Department of Transportation, and no accumulation of junk boats or mechanical work on boats or RV’s being allowed.
The final special use permit that was considered was #SUP-22-21, requested by Powerstroke Specialty, LLC, 1046 Parkway Ct., Suites A, B, C, D, E, 7-299-001-43. The permit requested the allowance of Ford diesel pickup truck repair and restoration. Although there are a lot of vehicles and parts on the property, the owners stated that they have started cleaning up the site and have secured three acres out of the city to store the vehicles that are waiting for service. The request was unanimously approved with conditions, including the prohibition of business products being stored outdoors for repair and the limitation of up to 25 vehicles being stored on the site in an orderly manner waiting for repairs.
After closing the public hearing, the commission considered a request to change the New Year’s Holiday from Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, to Friday, Dec. 30, 2022. The request was unanimously approved. The chairman stated that 73 people have voted on the approval of adopting an ordinance/resolution to facilitate a study of package store licenses, and that the city is now working on planning for this study and the potential development within the city.
The commission voted unanimously to approve the extension of an additional year on the special use permit, SUP-15-14, at Atwater Court, Suite 101-102 to allow church operations. A unanimous vote by the commission approved an exemption plat for Felicia Butler adding property to 3240 Shoreland Dr. A request by Hall County Public Works to eliminate curb, gutter and sidewalk requirements for the fire station on Holiday Road was tabled by unanimous vote. The commission unanimously approved the extension of the solid waste franchise agreement with Republic Services with approval of the city attorney. Also approved unanimously was an automobile lease agreement between the city of Buford and Buford City Schools.
The chairman and city manager were authorized to sign election forms for MEAG Power Off-System Sales Margins and Voluntary Deposits into the Municipal Competitive Trust (MCT) account. The chairman was also authorized to enter into an agreement with the city of LaGrange and the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG) to purchase excess reserve and excess capacity. The commission unanimously voted to authorize the transfer of scholarship funds to the Buford City Schools Foundation for future management.
The commission also voted to authorize the city manager and city attorney to acquire easements for the pedestrian and streetscape project on West Moreno Street from South Lee to West Main streets and authorized the city manager to enter into an agreement to purchase properties located on Bona Road. Also approved was the purchase of properties located on 555 New St. (7-295C-002) in the amount of $300,000, 151 S. Harris St. (7-295A-044) in the amount of $10,000 and 146 Forest Street (7-296-031B) in the amount of $170,000 with the transfer of these properties to the Downtown Development Authority.
Unanimous approval by the commission appointed Mark Cunningham to the Buford Housing Authority Board of Directors. Amendments to the City of Buford Floodplain Management/Flood Damage Ordinance were also unanimously adopted. The commission authorized the city manager to amend the budget and contribute $1500.00 per singer for Buford Community Girls Chorus Portugal tour in June 2023, and approved the City of Buford 2023-2024 theatrical season, concerts and performances at Buford Community Center. Also approved was a special event application for Buford Sports Complex for flag football in January and February of 2023.
The Buford City Commission authorized the release of pledged funds with Peoples Bank and Trust. They then authorized the city manager to negotiate and enter into an agreement with Keck & Wood for engineering and design services for the City of Buford Multi-use trail – Garnett Street Extension with services partially funded by Transportation Alternative Funds through the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Unanimous vote by the commission authorized the payment of an invoice for Southside WPCP Tertiary filter replacement project to Veolia Water Technologies, Inc. in the amount of $149,823.60, as well as payment #2 for the Hamilton Mill Road gas replacement project to CEDS Construction Co., Inc. in the amount of $247,567.50. Also authorized was payment #17 for the water works replacement project to Ruby-Collins, Inc. in the amount of $742,497.70.
The commission approved the payment of invoice #8 for Buford High School baseball and softball bleachers and scoreboards project to Charles Black Construction Co., Inc. in the amount of $101,550.20, as well as payment #8 for Buford High School visitor field house project to Charles Black Construction Company, Inc. in the amount of $77,052.00. Also authorized was payment of invoice #1 for the Heraeus Boulevard widening, curb and sidewalk project to Charles Black Construction Co, Inc. in the amount of $270,856.46 to be paid with SPLOST funds, and payment of invoice #5 for the Buford Middle School renovations/modifications project to Charles Black Construction Co., Inc. in the amount of $5,406.57.
Payment of invoice #6 for the passive park at Harris Street project to Charles Black Construction Co., Inc. in the amount of $152,108.55 was also approved. In addition, payment of invoice #1 for the Buford Southside Water Treatment Plant Office Building Project to Charles Black Construction Co., Inc. in the amount of $13,095.00 was authorized. The commission also authorized payment of invoice #3 for the New Street relocation (Buford High School Stadium) project to Charles Black Construction Co., Inc. in the amount of $436,949.62, and payment of invoice #18137-07 in the amount of $96,310.82 and invoice #18137-08 in the amount of $91,089.45 to Breaux and Associates.
During his report, the city manager, Bryan Kerlin stated that there had been a few reported cases Covid-19 and the flu but overall, the city was doing well. Todd Cleveland reminded the commission about the Jason D. Williams concert scheduled for Nov. 18 at 8 p.m., with tickets on sale now at bufordcommunitycenter.com and the upcoming free Jake Owen concert on Nov. 19 at 3 p.m., with the gates open at 1:30 p.m. Also mentioned was the “Art-Tiques Holiday Market” which also has free admission and is scheduled for Nov. 11-13. Hours of operation are Friday noon to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Kerlin stated that the passive park has had slow progress but will hopefully be done soon. The Hill Street repair and tree removal will begin soon. The trees have done damage that requires sidewalk repair in the years since they were installed in 2005. At last update, the water plant is 69% complete. The city manager also stated that the Moreno Street phase one project from South Lee to West Main streets is out to bid for a contractor and that they should receive recommendations in December. During the public comments period, a citizen asked about the gas tax suspension and was told that Dec. 1, 2022, the gas tax will be reinstated. Upon research, Gov. Brian Kemp extended the state-wide gas tax suspension through Dec. 11, 2022. The Buford City Commission will hold their next meeting on Dec. 5, 2022, at 7 p.m. at the Buford Arena.