Senoia hears first reading of new ordinances

Thu, 02/19/2009 - 3:52pm
By: Ben Nelms

Senoia hears first reading of new ordinances

Senoia City Council conducted public hearings and made a few changes to proposed new ordinances Feb. 16 covering rules and regulations for park use, speed limits and miscellaneous offenses. The ordinances were posted for the first reading at the council that followed. The council postponed the solid waste ordinance until the next meeting so that portions of the ordinance could be reviewed.

Pertaining to the ordinance on use of park land within the city, the council noted that rules for fishing at Merri Mac Lake had not been included in the proposed ordinance. They asked that a May 1 through Sept. 30 time frame be included, along with a requirement for a fishing license, parental supervision of children and a $10 per day or $40 per season requirement for non-residents. Council members included the prohibition of boats, passenger craft and swimming. Also in the ordinance, the council asked that a provision be added pertaining to the serving of alcohol at the stone cabin. Serving will be allowed under the rental agreement if served by a licensed caterer. No bottles, cans or glass containing alcohol can be carried outside the building.

The proposed ordinance on speed limits cites a long list of streets with limits ranging from 25-45 miles per hour. A complete list of those streets and accompanying speed limits can be obtained at city hall.

Mention was made during the public hearing by Police Chief Jason Edens that Coweta County had performed a speed study of the county portion of Rockaway Road situated outside Senoia city limits and will decrease the speed limit from 45 miles per hour to 35 mile per hour.

“Their recommendation was to drop the speed limit and the state agreed,” Edens said. “In keeping with that speed zone we adjusted our speed ordinance at the north city limits so that Rockaway has a (continuous) maximum of 35 miles per hour.”

Mayor Robert Belisle responding to questions from the public noted that city police would have no jurisdiction to enforce the speed limit outside the city unless an agreement could be reached with the county.

On the public hearing relating to solid waste ordinance, the council made recommendations that carried over to the council meeting and were subsequently postponed until the next meeting.

Council members had several questions and concerns over the wording of the ordinance. Among those were suggestions to omit a provision on breaking down and having bundles securely tied that are no larger than 36 inches square. Pertaining to the location of trash containers on the premises, the council scratched the provision of having the trash container outside of fenced enclosures in which animals are kept. The council also questioned the time frames for placing and removing containers from streetside. As written, the ordinance states that containers will be placed at curbside no earlier than noon on the day prior to scheduled collection service and must be removed no later than noon of the day following scheduled service.

After a discussion of the ordinance at the meeting that followed the public hearing, the council decided to postpone the first reading until city attorney Drew Whalen could consult with city administrator Richard Ferry on the matter.

In the public hearing and subsequent review of the miscellaneous offenses ordinances, the council continued its discussion and review from the Feb. 2 meeting. The ordinances cover the topics of loitering, and keeping a disorderly house to matters of public urination and defecation.

“We’ve been seeing an influx of certain situations due to growth. For other situations, it will be good to be prepared in advance,” Police Chief Jason Edens said Feb. 2. “The reason for (three) separate ordinances is so that we can tailor them to what we need. They will be more clearly and specifically defined than the (comparable) state ordinances and the jurisdiction will be here in city court instead of state court.”

Commenting on the ordinances, Whalen said they follow the state format and have been court-tested. During the public hearing, area resident Don Rehman asked if violtions of the ordinances would be enforceable on private property. Whalen said they would.

The Loitering Ordinance specifies loitering as the presence of an individual in any public place or business where the person’s presence is unrelated to the normal activity of the location. Violations include hindering or obstructing unreasonably the free passage of pedestrians or vehicular traffic, refusing to leave after being asked by the owner or agent of the premises or by law enforcement, participating in conduct that unreasonably disrupts the repose or peace of persons acting lawfully or causing people to fear for their safety.

Other portions of the loitering ordinance include congregating on sidewalks or streets in such a way that obstructs the traffic flow and those congregating on private property situated adjacent to a business or a business parking lot in a manner that is not usual for law-abiding persons where justifiable or reasonable alarm or immediate concern for the safety of others results. An example of alarm or immediate concern would be when a person flees when approached by a police officer, refuses to identify himself/herself or attempts to conceal themselves or an object, the ordinance said.

A final portion of the loitering ordinance involves juveniles. If a minor with a first-time conviction, the responsible adult will be issued a warning citation. Upon further convictions, the responsible adult will face punishment through city court

The Disorderly House Ordinance indicates the conditions that will constitute a violation. It will be unlawful for a person, or for that person to permit others, acting in a boisterous, noisy or riotous manner to assemble in or about a house, building, structure, vehicle or on any private property to the reasonable annoyance or disturbance of other persons living or working nearby, the ordinance said. Also prohibited will be assembly in the aforementioned areas for gambling or any illegal activity or purpose.

The final proposed ordinance was one pertaining to public urination or defecation. Those bodily functions must be confined to areas designated to public toilets, restrooms or bathrooms. Chief Edens said officers had witnessed some increase in instances of public urination.

login to post comments