February 9, 2006

Memphis City Council Handles Short Agenda at February Meeting

Building permits, a gas franchise and department reports highlighted the February agenda for the Memphis City Council.

The council voted 4-0 to approve a gas franchise for Atmos Energy to sell natural gas to customers in the city limits.

Building Permits

The council reviewed three building permits, all of which had been tabled by the citys planning and zoning board the week before.

The First Christian Church had submitted an application for a parking lot. City Attorney David Peppard provided the council with a legal opinion, noting the church did not need a special use permit for the lot. The planning and zoning committee had recommended that a hedge or fence be placed on the sides of the property as applicable per the city code as well as a loading/unloading zone across from the angled parking area. Peppard concurred with the hedge or fence requirements and noted that the loading zone, possibly with specific times, could create better traffic flow.

The second building permit was for a proposed addition to a residence on S. Knott Street. Owner Jeff Cline was present and indicated he had received prior approval from the neighbor to make the addition. However the existing building is on the property line and by code, it requires a variance for the permit to be approved. Cline was instructed to apply for a variance with the city, after which a public hearing would be held regarding the request.

The final permit was for the property at 437 Newman Street owned by John Boland. The permit was for ramps on the front and the back of the house. The planning and zoning committee questioned the distance from the adjoining property for the driveway and carport. The council approved the permit by a 4-0 vote.

Public Participation

Robert Owings met with the council to discuss a drainage issue at his home. Owings indicated that recent construction at the property across the street from his home was causing rain run off to enter his garage from the new driveway and tube installed at MFA. He asked if a trench could be dug with a grate over the top so the water would run into the ditch instead of his garage. He also noted that he had spoken with MFA and the company had indicated its willingness to supply the materials to correct the problem if the city would provide the labor.

The council asked street superintendent Roy Monroe to contact MFA regarding the proposal and to review the area to determine what type of work would be needed to solve the problem.

Ridge Street

Toni and Leslie Troutman were present to represent 5/D Express regarding the proposed work on Ridge Street near the entrance to the companys trucking operation.

Troutman indicated the company has no interest in purchasing the railroad right away adjacent to the drive. Currently the railroad is holding up a proposed project to remove a hump in the road that is limiting visibility on the road and posing the safety problem.

Previously the railroad had indicated it would grant an easement to the city with a $2500 administrative fee.

Peppard recommended the city focus on securing the remaining easements on the street while he continues to pursue a better price from the railroad.

Reports

Superintendent Dave Kittle informed the council that the outlet boxes on the new light poles around the square had been installed but the dirt work still needed to be done to complete the project. Kittle stated the new addition at the hospital had been hooked up to city electric service and that the transformers had been installed at the new Head Start site.

Monroe told the council he is seeking bids for materials from the local lumberyards for the gazebo project at the swimming pool. He also indicated the citys hay contract needed to be re-bid for 2006. Monroe told council members he had met with representatives from Crawford, Murphy and Tilly, the airport consulting firm. The council will meet with the company regarding proposals for construction projects at the airport.

Superintendent Dennis Howard stated his crew had constructed picnic tables and park benches for Legion Park, performed vehicle maintenance and service calls. Howard reported that All-States Consultants had performed hydraulic study elevations last week and that a report would be forthcoming in the near future. He also reported investigating the sewer lines near the Myers property, where roots were found to be a cause of the problems. He stated the issue was being addressed.

Aldermen

Alderman Lucas Remley thanked Superintendent Monroe for installing the no parking sign on the corner west of the high school parking lot. However he noted the sign was not solving the problem and suggested placing stakes with reflectors on them to prevent parking in the narrow portion of the roadway.

Alderman William Reckenberg suggested the city attorney and the planning and zoning committee review the city zoning codes. Alderman Teresa Skinner stated the zoning map also needs to be reviewed. Peppard told the council he had a new city zoning ordinance that the city can review, which may help to simplify city zoning codes.

Reckenberg also questioned if the city had received a response from Chuck Willis regarding his property on the south end of the east side of the square. Peppard stated no response had been received. The council asked Peppard and Monroe to take the next steps in the legal process under the dangerous building ordinance.

Mayor

Mayor Mike Stone asked the council to appoint Frank Reed, Vic Orf and Wesley Lay to the Memphis Housing Authority board. The appointments were approved by a 4-0 vote.

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