Rare mayoral veto on the agenda June 5 for F’ville

The agenda for the June 5 meeting of the Fayetteville City Council will feature a full range of items that include a decision on Mayor Greg Clifton’s veto of the Tidal Wave car wash vote, approval of a bid on the Stonewall Avenue sidewalk project, an increase in the hotel/motel tax and a public hearing on the Lafayette Square luxury apartment proposal.

The council will take up the matter of Clifton’s veto of the decision in May to rezone and grant a special exception for property at the intersection of Ga. Highway 85 and Ga. Highway 314 proposed for the Tidal Wave automated car wash.

The 1.3-acre property was the former site of a Shoney’s restaurant and was subsequently operated as a Hooters restaurant, the Onyx restaurant and the American Family Buffet.

The council on a 4-1 vote in May approved the rezoning from C-2 (community commercial) to C-3 (highway commercial). The special exception allowing a car wash on the property also passed by a 4-1 vote. In both cases Councilman Ed Johnson voted in opposition. A third vote on the project dealt with a setback variance that was denied on a 4-1 vote.

Clifton on May 6 issued a rare veto of the council’s two votes. There has been only one mayoral veto in recent memory, according to city staff. A 4-1 vote is required to override the veto.

Community Development Director Brian Wismer in a May 19 letter relating to the council vote said, “The appeal for (the Planning and Zoning Commission) denial of the setback variance was upheld by council, but because the curb cut closure (on Hwy. 85) was a condition of the setback variance, it was not discussed as a condition of zoning. The result of this omission means that the car wash could potentially be designed and constructed behind the required setbacks, but could keep the existing curb cut opened. Due to this, on May 6 the mayor exercised his right to veto the rezoning and special exception granted by council. This veto can only be overturned by a four-fifths majority of City Council.”

In another item, council at the meeting will consider a $359,000 low bid for a project that will install sidewalks along Stonewall Avenue from Braxton Court to Hwy. 85. The project includes installing historic-looking streetlights. The City Council on Feb. 20 voted unanimously to approve the project that carries 80 percent federal funding.

The proposal received three bids, with Georgia Development Partners providing the low bid.

The council on June 5 will also consider increasing the tax on hotel and motel rooms to 8 percent, up from the longstanding 5 percent rate.

“Most of our neighbors have gone to 8 percent,” Wismer said, citing the increase on the room tax by Peachtree City, Stockbridge and McDonough.

Wismer said the tax would be applicable to the first 30 days of a hotel stay and that at least half of the additional tax amount would have to be spent on promotional or advertising efforts by the city to generate additional revenue for the local economy, including hotels and motels.

Also on the agenda is the first of two public hearings on a rezoning request at The Villages development along Ga. Highway 54 for the luxury Lafayette Square apartments planned to include 210 units. Already zoned PCD (planned community development), the request is required because the property was previously zoned for approximately 192 units which were slated for person 55 years of age and older. Those plans were later abandoned.