Bainbridge City Council discusses planned unit development, alcoholic beverage licenses and more at December meeting

Published 4:04 pm Friday, December 22, 2023

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Members of the Bainbridge City Council met for their monthly meeting last Tuesday evening. Following the invocation, pledge and approval of minutes, the city allowed a brief period for members of the audience to speak. Congressman Sanford Bishop’s Field Representative, Paul Fryer, briefly took to the podium to remind the city and audience of a property closing ceremony Bishop would be participating in Bainbridge on Thursday.

After this, Mayor Reynolds presented a proclamation to Reverend Adren Bivins and his wife Sylvia, acknowledging their Laymen Brotherhood Second Chance Outreach Center’s annual Christmas celebration and its charitable efforts.

After this, the city approved a sub-recipient agreement for CDBG disaster relief funds.

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Next, the council entered a public hearing for proposed amendments to building codes. According to City Manager Chris Hobby, these amendments would simply update the current codes to be compliant. The council approved this.

Next on the agenda, the city considered applications for alcoholic beverage license renewals. The only license that was not approved for renewal was the Off the Hookah Lounge and Cigars, as the business has been closed due to various legal issues.

Following this, the councilmen heard recommendations from the planning commission, presented by Steve O’Neil. The recommendation was in regard to a proposed rezoning at 507 Martin Street, the sight of the old West Bainbridge Elementary School. The property would be rezoned from institutional to planned unit development (PUD), with the developer aiming to convert the school into apartments and the gymnasium into an arcade.

Members of the community took to the stand in opposition of the project, expressing concerns over noise and influx of crime this may bring. The council also questioned the developer, a Mr. Ruben Cabrera, about the nature of the project; one council member also inquired about Cabrera being arrested last year and charged with fraud and working without a valid contractor’s license. Cabrera argued that he had worked with his ex-wife, who had held the license, and he was arrested after the two separated. He also attributed racism to the arrest.

Following a lengthy discussion, the council ultimately voted to deny the proposed PUD.

Next, the city considered leases from RDK Assets, Inc., which were approved after some discussion.

Next, the council voted to declare a surplus. After this, the council was presented with a GEFA loan, which would go towards the Whigham Dairy Road project. This was approved.

Up next on the agenda, the city considered mayoral appointments, including Keith Lyle to the Industrial Development Authority, and Tabitha Spooner to the Recreation Authority. The council confirmed these appointments.

Next, Daniel Gaddis, Planning Outreach Coordinator for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, gave a special presentation for the City of Bainbridge renewing its PlanFirst designation. This designation will last three years. Gaddis presented a certificate to Hobby, Mayor Reynolds and O’Neil.

Following this presentation, there was another special presentation; consultant John Ford, Vice President of Robert & Company, spoke to the council about the findings of Shotwell and Scott Street planning study.

Lastly, the council heard several bids: one from Yancy CAT for an excavator at $100,231; the second from Georgia Fire and Rescue Supply for turnout gear at $48,380.54; and the last for AMI metering services from Georgia Power at $7,756,742.80. Following extensive discussion of the Georgia Power bid, the council voted to approve the first two, with the metering bid being tabled.

The meeting was then adjourned.