City Council meets to discuss zoning text amendments, street name changes

Published 11:37 am Friday, June 23, 2023

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Members of the Bainbridge city council met Tuesday evening for their regular monthly meeting. Following the invocation, pledge and approval of the previous meeting’s minutes, the council approved of the report from its retreat in March.

Next on the agenda was approval of street closure requests, with a request from Anovion Technologies for the closure of Broughton Street from Broad to West Street on June 27, from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM. There was additionally a request to close Hatcher Road on August 12, from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM, for a car show. After this, the council considered an alcoholic beverage license submitted by Nancy Bahnsen for her business, Serendipity.

Next, the city council heard consideration of bond resolutions, one of which regarded the Anovion deal and appropriation of city funds by the Development Authority for a land transfer as part of the deal. The council members voted to approve.

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Afterwards, the next item on the agenda was a separate resolution, this one pertaining to the names of streets at the boat basin; specifically, according to Community Development Director Steve O’Neil, the road Boat Basin Circle no longer fully encircles the boat basin. The renaming would result in two new street names, Mega Ramp Drive and Basin View Drive. The city confirmed there were no other roads sharing these names in Decatur County, and these street names were voted to be adopted.

The council members next entered into two public hearing sessions, each for a different zoning text amendment. The first dealt with the city fence and wall ordinance, while the second dealt with the height maximum.

The fence and wall ordinance has now raised the height allotment for fences in residential yards from its previous four-foot maximum; for fences in front yards, solid wood, masonry, PVC and chain link fences are still limited to four feet tall, while more open style fences such as picket, slat and wrought iron fencing can now have a maximum height of six feet. This comes with the caveat that these open fences must have 50% visibility. According to O’Neil, these rules were put into effect out of consideration of law enforcement. “Public Safety, as they’re driving through a neighborhood, if they’re tracking someone, they need to be able to see what’s going on in your front yard to some degree,” O’Neil told the Post-Searchlight. All fence types, be they open or solid, are allowed a six-foot height on side and rear yards as well.

The second amendment dealt with maximum building heights in heavy industrial districts, from 75 feet to 150 feet. The council approved both of these amendments.

Next, O’Neil presented a rezoning proposal, converting 365 acres south of the Downrange Industrial Park from rural residential to heavy industrial. Part of the converted land will be used in the upcoming Anovion project, while the rest will remain in possession of the Bainbridge-Decatur County Industrial Development Authority. The council approved.

A mayoral appointment was heard, specifically the appointment of Tommy Howell to the library board. Again, the council members approved this.

Lastly, O’Neil made a special presentation on community and economic development.