Updates, hearings moved and more from the recent meeting

 Zoning regulations, resolutions concerning condemnation of various structures, and reviews on the front yard parking ordinance were the highlights of Monday night’s Augusta City Council.
Assistant City Manager Cody Sims offered an update on the condemnation process and previously scheduled public hearing for condemnation of a structure and garage located at 432 E. Broadway.
“After the resolution was passed the property owner has acquired all the necessary licenses.  It is an active site now,” Sims continued, “It was discovered that there is an outstanding mortgage, but it doesn’t appear that a bank is involved, but rather private individuals.  It is probably best not to proceed with condemnation action and we’ll monitor the process.”
Hearings moved
Council members were expected to approve   resolutions fixing public hearings concerning condemnation proceedings on four structures, located at 1205 N. Hooper, 244 E. 12th St., 347 E. Main, and 1117 N. School St.
Sims reported that some of the property owners failed to receive timely notifications for due process.
“Rather than push something through, staff recommends setting the time and date for hearings at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 4, 2017.”
Council approved moving the hearings.
Amending zoning regulations
Changes made to zoning regulations requires approval form both the Planning Commission and the City Council.  The Commission voted  last month in favor of amending a current section concerning Conditional Use Permits.  Discussion ensued Monday night about events such as Ballet in the Park and Community Movie Night, which aren’t explicitly allowed and require approval of a Conditional Use Permit.  
With adoption of the recommended amendment, any event closed to the general public or where an entry fee is charged in a public recreation area will still require a Conditional Use Permit to be issued by the Planning Commission.
 The issue will be going back to the Planning Commission for clarification.
Front Yard Parking Ordinance
Councilman Cale Magruder voiced some concerns about the City’s regulations on parking in front yards of residences.
Magruder shared that a resident in his ward was recently ticketed for parking in his front yard.
“He has four vehicles and for years he has been perfectly legal and now he’s not.  He wants  to know the purpose of changing it and where is he supposed to move his vehicles?”  Magruder continued, “I thought it was our understanding that we weren’t going to go out and start ticketing, but react to complaints.  I don’t think it was our intent to displace people.  I regret voting ‘yes’ on this.”
Magruder suggested re-visiting the ordinance and refrain from “kicking people out of driveways.”
“This conversation can go on and on...The police weren’t driving around looking to ticket someone.  They responded to a complaint,” advised City Manager Josh Shaw.
Council approved an ad hoc committee comprised of Council members Cale Magruder, Jamie Crum, and Justin Londagin, to re-visit the ordinance.
Other matters
* Council approved a free admission weekend at the Augusta Municipal Swimming Pool during the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-29.  The free admission weekend is in response to a shortened season  for pass holders last year.
* Assistant City Manager Cody Sims presented an update on the pool and advised that 25 lifeguards have been signed, but interviews are ongoing.  The area around the swimming pool has been treated with a non-skid material.
* A 2018 Budget work session was scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, May 22, at City Hall.
* A joint work session with the Park Board and City Council will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, at City Hall.  Concepts for Garvin Park restroom/concession facilities will be reviewed.