Downtown Woodstock

The Woodstock entertainment district covers most central areas in the city’s downtown.

WOODSTOCK — More businesses in downtown Woodstock are now included in the city’s entertainment district, where visitors can carry alcohol in clear plastic cups on sidewalks.

Monday, the city council approved on second reading an expansion of the district that includes businesses on the east side of Main Street to the south of the original boundaries, including Treasures on Main.

The council voted on first reading in September to expand the boundaries further south on Main Street and to include the Northside Hospital Cherokee Amphitheater, Reeves Street, Paden Street, Maple Street and Hickory Street, more of Main Street, Market Street, Fowler Street and Mill Street and part of Dupree Road. The new area also includes a half-acre lot at Dupree and Market intended for a food truck park.

Council members supported the expansion unanimously, though Councilman Warren Johnson was absent.

“I would support a broader expansion. If the criteria is, does the property owner want to be included, it should be opened up to others to see if they want to be included. But I’ll support this.” Councilman Colin Ake said.

The businesses to the south were added on the condition that all property owners in the addition desired to be in the entertainment district after some expressed interest, and city staff reported they received confirmation from all the properties in the area Monday.

Council members also considered a request for a car wash to open at 10639 Ga. Highway 92, which has been the site of two previous car wash businesses. In a split 3-2 vote, they granted a conditional use permit to allow a car wash, but denied variances that would allow emissions testing there. Council members Tracy Collins and Brian Wolfe voted against the decision. Collins said she thinks the business should be able to have emissions testing.

Also at the meeting:

♦ City officials heard a presentation from Nancy Berkley of Evergreen Solutions, which is conducting a city compensation and benefits study. Among their recommendations was to enact an open-range compensation plans for certain exempt employees. Currently all city employees are on a step-based plan. The firm also recommended adjusting pay steps for non-exempt employees, with significant increases for lieutenants and captains in the fire and police departments. The mayor and council may review the suggestions and develop a new pay scale at an upcoming work session.

♦ Councilmembers approved road closures and police and fire service Feb. 28 for the Tour of the Southern Highlands bike race. The race is expected to see over 1,500 unique visitors. The event is in its third year, and the road closures and services cost the city an estimated $3,000. The request was approved 3-2 with Ake and Collins opposing.

♦ The council authorized paying for an emergency stormwater repair for a pipe at Dream Catcher Drive, of approximately $40,000.

♦ The city council approved on second reading an amendment to its policy banning dockless electronic scooters, which allows authorized affiliates approved by the mayor and council.

♦ Council members approved a sign waiver for a third, internally illuminated sign at NaNa Thai Eatery, which sits at the end of a shopping center on Towne Lake Parkway. The property owner said that because it’s further back from the road than surrounding buildings, it has had difficulty keeping tenants.

♦ The city will re-issue a request for bids to build a playground at the Elm Street Cultural Arts Village, adjacent to the Elm Street Event Green, after wording in the initial bid may have limited responses, city staff said. A date for when the city will receive those bids is yet to be determined.

Shannon is a reporter covering education, city governments, crime, features, religion and other local news. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and currently lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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