Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Aldermen Approve Parking Meter Bids, Other Agenda Items

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The Board of Aldermen on Tuesday decided to accept a bid for downtown parking meters from Bennett Construction, which uses IPS meters. The board unanimously approved the bid, for more than $386,000.
More than $239,000 of that cost is for parking meters, with much of the remaining total dedicated to meter poles, decorative sleeves and bases, twin mounting adapters, installation and recurring annual fees. Each parking meter is $725 and each meter pole costs $380.
If the city decides to add features in the future, listed in the bid as Alternate No. 1, those vehicle detection sensors, installation, fees and training would cost about $114,000.
The total bid was for 315 parking spaces. Assuming the system is used 300 days per year, and there is 50 percent to 70 percent occupancy, the city would gain revenue totaling $567,000 to $850,500.
Road Construction in Oxford The city passed a resolution to go ahead with two bonds, one for $500,000 and a second for $1.6 million, to fund a new road between Sisk Avenue and Highway 30, east of Highway 7. Three developers and lot owners at Oxford Commons are responsible for repaying the $1.6 million bond, while the city is accountable for the $500,000 bond.
Historic Preservation Ordinance Change Proposed The board is considering an ordinance change that would allow any affected property owner to appeal decisions from the Planning or Historic Preservation Commission. The board held the public hearing Tuesday and will vote on the ordinance change at its next meeting April 15.
The change will be amended to narrow the definition of local property owners down to people living in the local historic preservation district.
The wording presented at the public hearing is as follows: “Any local property owner or organization aggrieved by a decision of the commission may appeal in the same manner as the applicant.”
One of several lawyers for Brian Development, which wants to build rental units on the Shaw House property, spoke against the proposed change. T.R. Trout, a local attorney, said that no neighbors should be allowed to appeal any decision regarding someone else’s property, no matter how the decision affects them.
City attorney Pope Mallette was inclined to believe that the change is within the city’s purview, because it would increase citizens’ rights beyond the state statute, and would not decrease them.
Tom Freeland, a local attorney speaking on behalf of Polina and William Wheeler, said the right of due process calls for the change.
Rezoning for a Shopping Center The city discussed rezoning land between South Lamar and Highway 7 South, from residential to Shopping Center. The public hearing was held before the board, which will take an official vote April 15.
Jeff Williams, of Williams Engineering, is working with the developer on the project. He said all excavation work for both the shopping center and new residential subdivision will be completed at one time.
Several questions were put forward by Alderman Robyn Tannehill regarding concerns from Windsor Falls residents, including questions about upkeep on a proposed lake. That complex is located near the proposed construction.
A lake on the property will be considered an amenity for both residents and shoppers, Williams said, but would probably be maintained by the residential complex.
A resident of Windsor Falls spoke at length about her concerns for nearby property values and potential for increases in crime near the shopping center.
Sidewalks along Jackson Avenue Thanks to an $8,000 donation from Ray Neilson, ADA handicap ramps have been placed on the sidewalks along Jackson Avenue from Burns-Belfry to the underpass.
“We appreciate the city’s effort in making sure Jackson Avenue is accessible,” Neilson said.
Gretchen Stone is associate editor. Gretchen can be contacted about this story at

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