Valdosta Daily Times

November 16, 2012

Council paves the way for road, sidewalk improvements

Norman Drive car wash denied

Jason Schaefer
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Valdosta can expect a few streetscape additions that will link the look of the downtown area with Valdosta State University, after City Council passed Phase 1 of the Downtown Streetscape Extension Project.

With four of the seven Council members present, the Council unanimously approved the project at a cost of $79,445. This money will purchase improved sidewalks, trees and landscaping, benches, trash receptacles and pet waste stations and street lamps along Patterson Street for five blocks from Magnolia Street to Gordon Street.

The project will be paid for with state grant funds and funds acquired through Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST VI) funds. Phase 2 of the project, which is yet to appear on the agenda, will extend similar amenities south of Magnolia to MLK


Council passed two other agenda items for street improvements - one for sidewalks and another for resurfacing on select streets throughout the community.

The city approved the construction of sidewalks along four streets: Eastwind Road from Forrest Street to Tyndall Drive; East Brookwood Place from North Troup Street to North Forrest Street; Woodlawn Drive from Forrest Street to a multi-purpose trail; and along Madison Highway from South Patterson Street to Oak Street.

The request for bids for the project was issued at 2 p.m. Thursday, and by the 5:30 p.m. council meeting, the city had received only a single bid, said City Engineer Pat Collins. The single bid was in the amount of $949,079 for 8,886 total feet of sidewalk.

Councilman Tim Carroll requested Collins present the length of each sidewalk because, “I just want to know what a foot of sidewalk costs nowadays,” he said.

The aforementioned figures amount to an average of $107 per foot to install the new sidewalks. The cost varies, however, since some of the streets already have curbs and gutters installed while others do not. These sidewalks will be paid for with SPLOST VI funds.

Council also approved spending $408,000 in Georgia Department of Transportation Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant funds and $158,082 from city funds to resurface 12.82 miles of streets throughout the six districts. While City Council expressed that it attempted to break the mileage down equally among the districts according to need, some districts will receive more improvement than others.

District 1 will receive 2.13 miles; District 2, 2.7; District 3, 1.32; District 4, 2.58; District 5, 2.52; and District 6 will receive 1.57 total miles of road resurfacing improvements.

Council voted down a conditional use permit for a car-wash company to construct a business along Norman Drive near the intersection of St. Augustine Road in a Community-Commercial zoning area.

After much deliberation on the issue in Tuesday’s work session, Carroll expressed his opinion that while car washes are a business permissible through CUPs in a C-C area, he felt the development intentions for the area were headed in a more “low-intensity” direction. Car washes are often noisy and of a higher intensity than typically approved C-C zoning, he said.

“I think we do need to consider the long-term effects of approving businesses like this,” Carroll said. “We’ve had other requests for businesses similar to this one, and approving this CUP could set a precedent.”

Carroll motioned to deny the request, and the motion passed 3-1, with Councilmen Carroll and Robert Yost, and Mayor Pro-Tem Alvin Payton Jr. voting to deny and Councilman James Wright voting to approve the request.

During the Council Comments section of the agenda, Carroll mentioned that he would like to see the re-instatement of an overlay for the Norman Drive area that would more specifically spell out developments City Council would prefer.

Council made six appointments to various boards during the meeting:

• For the Central Valdosta Development Authority/Downtown Development Authority, Joseph Belson was nominated for position 1; Dr. Amanda Brown was nominated for position 2; and Howard Dasher III was nominated for position 3.

• For the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission, Gerald L. McClendon was re-appointed.

• For the Valdosta-Lowndes County Conference Center and Tourism Authority, Rick Williams was re-appointed.

• For the Valdosta Housing Authority, an appointment that the mayor makes solely himself, Barry Broome was re-appointed.