By Jean Cole
ATHENS — Athens City Council members have agreed to pay $25,000 toward the $75,000 cost to hire an architect to determine how Athens State University’s Carter gymnasium and surrounding area might be turned into a convention center complex.
Council members approved the contribution, without discussion, during their regular meeting Monday. The Limestone County Commission and ASU had already agreed to contribute $25,000 each to the cost. Council members were briefed on the proposal individually in the past month and again at their Aug. 12 premeeting work session, at which time they discussed the matter. The architect, who has not yet been selected, is supposed to provide the city, county and ASU with various options for creating a convention center at the location, ASU President Bob Glenn has said.
In other action Monday, council members took the following action:
• Held a public hearing to hear comments on the rezoning request of Irby Development to rezone property located at 1014 W. Washington St. from R2-1 (duplex residential) to R3-1 (multifamily residential). There was no opposition. The Planning Commission approved.
• Approved in a 5-0 vote an ordinance to rezone property for Irby Development for property located at 1014 W. Washington St.
• Held a public hearing to hear comments on the rezoning request of Edwin and Deborah Smith to rezone 22070 Nick Davis Road from B-1 (neighborhood business) to R-1 (1) low-density single-family residential. Planning Director Mac Martin said the change would correct a mismatch of the current zoning and the actual use of the property. There was no opposition. The Planning Commission approved.
• Approved 5-0 an ordinance to rezone property for Edwin and Deborah Smith for property located at 22070 Nick Davis Road.
• Held a public hearing to hear comments on the rezoning request of Bank Independent to rezone certain property located at the Meres Subdivision from PR (planned residential) to R-1 (1) low-density single-family residential. Martin said the goal is to develop larger, estate-style, residential lots and that the change is supported by the city’s future land-use plan. The Planning Commission approved.
• Approved 5-0 an ordinance to rezone property for Bank Independent for property located at the Meres Subdivision.
• Held public hearing to hear comments on the sale of alcohol for Ducks Unlimited Inc. event at the Valley Event Center. No opposition. Public hearing only; no vote taken.
• Approved 5-0 an ordinance to annex 10.2 acres of property for Dan Wachtel for property located east of Mooresville Road on the south side of U.S. 72. Martin said the city had no water or sewer rights.
• Held a public hearing to hear comments on zoning newly annexed property for Dan Wachtel. No opposition.
• Approved 5-0 an ordinance to zone newly annexed property located east of Mooresville Road on the south side of U.S. 72 as B-2 (general business). Martin said the property lies within a hole in the city limits. Martin said if sewer were extended, then there would be support for rezoning the area as B-3.
• Voted 5-0 to reappoint Jerry Adams to a three-year term on the Zoning Board of Adjustments. His new term will end Aug. 23, 2016.
• Voted 5-0 to spend up to $27,500 to buy 549 more wheeled recycling carts from SSI Schaefer Systems.
• Voted 5-0 to condemn real property in connection with a sanitary sewer project. The city plans to run sewer line behind Canebrake Subdivision, along Piney Creek and French Mill Creek in southeast Athens. Currently, the city is pumping out sewage and hauling it away in trucks from the area, Athens Water Department Manager John Stockton said. Stockton told council members one property owner declined to allow the city access to install the line even though it would increase property value. He also said he had tried to negotiate with the owner for seven years. Stockton told The News Courier after the meeting he did not know why the property owner would not allow the city to install the line. He declined to disclose the name of the property owner.
• Voted 5-0 to spend up to $7,163 for additional equipment for a two-pump, slow-fill, compressed-natural gas station at the Public Works Department on Elm Street.
• Scheduled a public hearing for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 23, on a request to declare the following properties as public nuisances due to overgrown vegetation: 1702 Levert Ave., 1101 Bristol St., 701 Coleman Ave., 905 W. Pryor St. and 1207 N. Houston St.
• Voted 5-0 to spend up to $18,000 for a dirt compactor and roller for the Public Works Department. The equipment is used to pack dirt for streets and future projects such as sidewalks, ball fields and City Hall, according to Public Works Director James Rich. He said the city has spent about $16,000 to rent the same equipment over the past two years. He told council members he would buy the compactor at auction in Montgomery if he finds the condition is good and the number of hours is acceptable.