The Woodstock City Council had a full agenda Monday night, including a request for a sign waiver in a local shopping center and holding the first reading on an amendment to the city’s building regulations.

The council took up a request from the Pearle Vision located in The Colonnade at Towne Lake shopping center on Towne Lake Parkway, which was asking for a waiver to the city’s sign regulations to allow for a third sign advertising the business to be placed on the building. According to these regulations, businesses located in a multi-tenant building are limited to one sign per wall and a maximum of two signs per business per building. However, city officials felt there was good reason for allowing this waiver to be granted.

“Staff is in favor of this,” Woodstock Process Planner Dakota Carruthers said. “There are three walls that are all facing either Towne Lake Parkway or facing the main parking lot area. There was a sign waiver approved at this same tenant space for a third building wall sign, and that was due to the distance from Towne Lake Parkway.”

When looking at the application, Carruthers said everything about the sign itself is in compliance with city law and that the only issue whatsoever was that this would be a third sign for the same business. She also said both the Development Process Committee and the Planning Commission had recommended approval with no conditions attached. The council members saw no issue with the request, and a subsequent motion to approve granting the waiver passed in a unanimous vote.

Following this, the council held its first reading on a proposed amendment to the model home law that would provide model home options for townhouse developments. City officials explained to the council this came about due to the number of requests developers have submitted asking for model homes for townhouse developments, which had not been addressed by the law in the past. Under these changes, the law would allow for townhouse communities to have one building of model homes which would be permitted like other model homes, while detached model homes were required to be placed on adjacent lots. None of the council members had any questions on the matter, and a motion to approve the first reading of the change passed unanimously.

A third item of discussion during the meeting involved potential amendments to Woodstock’s alcohol ordinance. The item first came up for discussion in March, with the changes presented Monday night reflecting feedback received from Mayor Donnie Henriques and members of the council. Some of the proposed modifications included redefining certain terms in the law, such as “bar” and “brown-bagging,” while adding definitions for terms like “courtesy beverage,” “private party” and “special event facility.” Certain exemptions were also added in an effort to make the law clearer on specific practices. However, city staff said there were still a few items left to be fully developed, and thus asked the council to table the first reading until these points could be made. Although tabling the matter was approved, there were positive comments shared regarding the progress that had been made.

“I think it’s a good direction. I like the way it’s going,” Councilman Rob Usher said.

The Woodstock City Council also handled the following items:

  • The consent agenda, which included the city’s Microsoft Office 365 license renewal, a budget amendment to use budgeted reserves for the funding of roadwork projects on Main Street, Brook Boulevard and Neese Road, a budget amendment to move money rolled into reserves at the end of Fiscal Year 2020 to help fund projects that had unexpectedly crossed fiscal years, a contract with Southeastern Engineering, Inc. to have a speed study conducted on Rope Mill Road and other road corridors in the area around downtown Woodstock, the purchase of self-publishing software for the city’s policies and procedures, extending the city’s participation in the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District’s Toilet Rebate Program, declaring a 2005 Ford F-150 and a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe used by the building department surplus to be disposed of, offering a telework policy for city employees and an audit engagement with Nichols, Cauley & Associates, LLC., was approved.
  • The council took a moment to recognize Unwanna Etuk, who spent approximately two years interning with the Woodstock Community Development Department. Senior City Planner Katie O’Connor said a special plaque honoring Etuk had been mailed to her to honor her service to the city. “It has been such a great honor, not only to serve the City of Woodstock over the past two years but to have done so with the community development team,” Etuk said. “I’m so incredibly grateful for not only your passion but also your friendship.”
  • A request from the Volta electric vehicle charging company to waive the city’s sign standards, thus allowing for an electronic sign to be placed on the company’s charging stations, was tabled until a council meeting in August.
  • During the announcement portion of the agenda, it was noted that the deadline for the U.S. Census had been moved to October 31 and that people wishing to receive notifications for things like severe weather can easily sign up for CODERED by going to the Stay Connected page on the city’s website.
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