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City Commissioners Discuss Drainage Issues and Pub/Brewery Ordinance Addition

News Editor

The City of Trenton Commission meeting on Dec. 12 addressed several issues which have been aggravated by the recent heavy rainfall. An ordinance addition that would allow pubs and breweries to serve their own alcohol was also discussed.

When discussing approved use of SPLOST funds during the workshop, Commissioner Monda Wooten and Mayor Alex Case explained the purchase of a LeafVac. City employees have been busy clearing out leaves from ditches to ensure proper drainage, but the old LeafVac is not working.

Case explained, “We need it now because we’ve been digging ditches all week with this rain and we need to clear the leaves.” He reported that the city received bids ranging from $94,000 – $118,000 to purchase a new one, but new LeafVacs would not be available until next summer.

Case explained that repairing the old one would cost up to $8,000 and was not guaranteed to work. They found a used 2012 model for purchase in Virginia. Another city was interested in purchasing it, so the commissioners moved quickly to purchase it for $64,900.

During the regular meeting, Wooten also addressed the paving of Lookout Circle and Crabtree Street which created water flow issues. “I have another apology. We paved Lookout Circle and Crabtree Street. There is a drain grade on Crabtree street that didn’t get raised up like the rest of them, but they agreed to come back and fix it.”

Regarding Lookout Circle, “I have received two calls from property owners. Because it has raised the road up, water is flowing down their driveways. We’re going to look at that and see what we can do to fix it.”

Case added, “We’ve been over there and we’ve seen it. There’s some drainage, but not enough. We’re getting the developer involved….The drains are working great on West Crabtree.”

Citizen Cody Dole commented on the situation, explaining that now the water has been flowing into his yard. However, Dole is grateful to no longer have potholes on his street.

Also during the workshop, Dewayne Moore (utilities director) reported on the purchase of a replacement water pump for Woolbright Station. “Our spare pump that we had installed basically exploded and couldn’t be repaired. We’ve got a spare in it, but we have to keep one on back-up because it takes both pumps during these high water events.”

The new pump has been ordered, costing $22,671.90 at the lowest bid. “We need it yesterday,” Moore stated, but it will take five to seven weeks to arrive.

Case added, “Woolbright Station, behind the transfer station, takes about 90% of our city. It’s a critical point of our sewer system. This is a 24/7 thing.”

The commissioners then discussed a pub/brewery addition to ordinances. Citizen Ryan Faircloth, owner of The Groovy Nomad and member of Scenic Dade, has approached Case with investors who are interested in establishing restaurants with in-house distilleries.

Case explained, “The City of Lafayette is in the same process to add that to their ordinances. What we would have to do is decide which zones that would be in, do the public hearings, and vote on it again later. If someone is interested in doing a restaurant with a microbrewery in it, kind of like Top of the Rock or downtown [Chattanooga], I think we need to be open minded to entice investors to our city.”

Faircloth explained, “It’s definitely not a honky tonk. You get a higher-end clientele. It’s not like a bar. It’s a nice establishment, an eatery with craft beer. Craft beer means more money which means more tax revenue for the city.”

Faircloth suggested that a percentage of the sales tax from such establishments could go to the fire department or city police.

The commissioners agreed that these establishments would be zoned to B/Rs. Wooten asked if a limit on the number of these establishments would need to be put in place. Case answered, “It’s more like a restaurant. If they decide to sell others’ beers besides their own, they’d have to [get the appropriate licenses] just like our restaurants do. But on their own beer, it’s a little different. It would be like our current restaurants now.”

Sandy White, president and CEO of the Alliance for Dade, added, “In other communities I’ve been in and worked with, the owners of a pub like that are very community minded. It’s not like a chain coming in. Especially in a small community, it’s been a gathering place.”

The commissioners agreed to begin the process of adding pubs/breweries to the ordinances.

Police Commissioner Mike Norris read the police report for November:

  • 311 calls for service
  • 1,464 business checks
  • 2 complaint calls
  • 2 domestic disturbance calls
  • 14 trespassing calls
  • 22 suspicious activity calls
  • 16 traffic accidents
  • 111 traffic stops resulting in 47 citations

In Commissioner Lucretia Houts’ fire and utilities report, the fire department report included:

  • 97 total calls
  • 61 canceled calls
  • 7 fire-related
  • 3 accidents
  • 2 medical
  • 24 standby

Commissioner Wooten then reported, “I want to apologize that we didn’t get the additional Christmas lights. As it turned out, there was no way we could get things here by Christmas. I didn’t feel there was any sense in ordering them now when after Christmas, we might get them cheaper.”

Under new business, Commissioner Houts motioned to add an ordinance regarding campers and RVs. She explained, “We need to put in place a moratorium on campgrounds, campers, and short-term rentals until we can get an ordinance on this and get it fixed. We’ve had a couple places where people have set up campers where they’re really not supposed to. We don’t have a definition for it.”

Case added, “We’d like to make sure that it’s right so they’re not popping up everywhere. We need to get it in our ordinances and in our zoning and have our attorneys start their portion for it.” The motion carried.

Commissioner Wooten motioned to abandon streets that were put in years ago but never extended. “There were some streets that were supposed to be put in or extended out, but they never were. It rarely comes up; only if a property owner is going to do something on that property…I’m asking if we can abandon those.”

Ansel Smith (assistant fire chief) explained, “May Avenue was made to eventually go through. We want to close [that portion] down. Half of the right of way will go to each neighbor on each side. Third Street between Poplar and John was supposed to extend up through there. Fourth Street between Case Avenue and Main Avenue, and Case Avenue between Third Street and Fifth Street – they were put in for development.”

Case said, “We’ll check with the attorneys, and if we have to check with all the property owners touching [those streets], that’s the second thing.”

After the meeting, Wooten confirmed that nothing will physically change with the streets – it’s simply a matter of paperwork.

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