Sunday, Mar. 27, 2005
Steele wants P&Z to rethink vote
By BEN NELMS
A March 22 vote by the Fayetteville Planning & Zoning Commission linked approval of development plans for a temporary trailer at Piedmont-Fayette Hospital during its expansion to a requirement that approval be obtained and an installation schedule be set for a traffic light at the intersection on ga. Highway 54. Mayor Kenneth Steele and city administrator Joe Morton met with board members the following day in an effort to have planning commissioners withdraw the condition.
The initial issue involved a request by the hospital to place an 1,100 square-foot trailer adjacent to a portion of the facility while a new expansion area under construction is being completed. The trailer would need to be used for approximately 18 months to two years, the hospitals Facilities Development and Support Services Vice President Tracey Coker told board members March 8. The discussion on grassing and landscaping around the trailer and other issues relating to the request turned to the need for a traffic light on the Hwy. 54 side of the facility. Commission member Allan Feldman cited the historic need for a traffic light at the Hwy. 54 entrance, the number of traffic accidents at the intersection and concerns that the number of vehicles on the roadway makes accessing the hospital from Hwy. 54 increasingly difficult, especially for some older residents.
Hospital representatives returned at the boards March 22 meeting with revised develoment plans, proposing alternatives to block the temporary trailer from view, as required by ordinance. During the discussion, the topic of a traffic light re-emerged. Minutes later, Feldman made a motion that the plans be approved subject to the approval and installation schedule of the traffic light with financing for the project arranged, that the landscaping around the trailer be approved by staff with an approval period of one year period, at which time it will be revisited. The vote on the motion was 4-1, with Bill Talley casting the opposing vote.
The March 22 decision on the traffic light was addressed with the board the following day by Mayor Kenneth Steele and city administrator Joe Morton, just prior to the Planning & Zoning Commissions called meeting.
Morton and Steele took the position that the requirement linking the traffic light to the landscaping and other considerations relating to the approval of the temporary trailer was one that was outside the scope of the commissions authority. With the city having taken the role as facilitator for the project, Morton said, the job will get done.
Something does need to be done at the intersection, he said, addressing the commissions requirement the previous night. You cant factor (the traffic light) into your decision making process. Its not your concern.
Reiterating previous statements by Coker, Steele said the hospital has no control over when the traffic light will be installed, adding that the matter was in the hands of Georgia Dept. of Transportation. Steele said new information revealed that the issue of having the light installed has been resolved. The upcoming developments across the street, Steele said, were the deciding factor. Regarding developers, Steele said there is ample funding for the project and that all four were agreed on the issue. Planning & Zoning commissioners were unaware of that agreement, having been told by Coker the previous evening that the hospital would be meeting with developers across the street on April 17.
Steele said at their discretion, the Planning & Zoning board needed to get the onus off the hospital, adding later that requiring an installation schedule for the traffic light as a part of the motion may well be a measure that cannot be enforced.
If we made a motion that is unenforceable, then its null and void, said board member Bill Talley.
Championing the spirit of his motion to require the light and referencing years of addressing the issue with no resolution, Feldman said removing the requirement may mean additional years with no traffic light and continued problems at the intersection.
If you want it off, if its that big a deal, well take it off and wait another eight years, he said.
Steele responded, saying he would take it off if needed.
The Planning & Zoning commission will address the matter at its April 12 meeting.
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