Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

July 11, 2014

Valdosta council: No to downtown semis

VALDOSTA — City leaders hope to permanently end tractor-trailer traffic through Downtown Valdosta.

Major tractor-trailer traffic through Downtown Valdosta has had a “detrimental effect on the economic development and quality of life, and has created safety concerns to both motorists and pedestrians,” according to information shared Thursday during the Valdosta City Council meeting.

Council unanimously voted to send a request to Georgia Department of Transportation to make the existing construction bypass permanent.

For 20 years, the city has requested the assistance of the GDOT to eliminate the tractor-trailer traffic in the downtown area.

The DOT created the current 18-month bypass because of the grade separation/overpass construction project on U.S. 84.

“Since it has been in place, it has been a success; so let’s make it permanent,” said City Engineer Pat Collins.

• Another item on the council’s agenda was a consideration to amend the city’s noise ordinance, but because it was the first reading of the request no action was taken.

The current noise ordinance was adopted in 2005 and it was uniform across all zoning qualifications, but it managed noise differently in residential and commercial areas.

“We’ve broken it down into two categories. Based off of zonings, now we have residential and commercial areas. The times are different based on the distances,” said Police Chief Brian Childress. “We’ve added language to the downtown zoning areas. The big changes there is, we talked about shutting down music at a certain time and we’re requesting businesses to keep their doors closed except for people coming in and out to try and minimize the music.”

The ordinance was changed because the city wanted to separate residential and commercial properties, and officials wanted to find a happy medium for the businesses and residents.

Council will vote on the matter during the next City Council meeting, July 24.

• Unanimously, City Council voted to apply for a $300,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This grant has a 5 percent match and it will be designated to revitalize the community.

• Two agenda items were sewer projects needing bid approvals.

Council unanimously approved the lowest bid from Standard Contractors in the amount of $1,466,234, with a 10 percent contingency for the second phase of the Lift Station Rehabilitation/Replacement Project. The funds for this project come from a re-issued GEFA loan.

SPLOST VII funds were utilized when the council unanimously approved the lowest bid from American Infrastructure Technologies Corporation in the amount of $113,767 with a 10 percent contingency for sewer repairs using Cured-in-Place-Pipe Lining on Linda, Roosevelt and Howell drives.

• A consideration of a locally administered program agreement with GDOT was also unanimously approved by the council.

By approving this agreement, the city agreed to adhere to all LAP requirements when developing all Federal Highway Administration projects within GDOT’s Qualification Certification Agreement. The city engineer had to become certified for Valdosta to enter into this agreement.

• South Georgia Medical Center requested placing a monument sign on a city right-of-way in exchange for maintaining the surrounding landscape. Council unanimously approved this request. This sign will mark the southwest corner of the hospital’s campus and serve as a directional sign to the emergency room.

• With the final agenda items, council unanimously appointed Andrew Gibbs to the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority and Kiera Moritz to the Central Valdosta Development Authority/Downtown Development Authority.

Valdosta City Council adjourned its regular meeting and went into executive session to discuss real estate and litigation, but took no action.

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