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Parking, affordable housing, annexation up for discussion at Decatur City Commission retreat

Business D'ish Decatur

Parking, affordable housing, annexation up for discussion at Decatur City Commission retreat

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The Decatur City Commission. Top row, left to right: Brian Smith, Kelly Walsh, and Scott Drake. Bottom row: Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers and Mayor Patti Garrett. Smith and Drake are not seeking reelection this year. Photo obtained via the city of Decatur.


The Decatur City Commission will begin the new year with its annual retreat on Jan. 31, a two-day long public meeting held two hours outside city limits at Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris, Ga.

The agenda suggests the City Commission may discuss matters that will interest many residents, including the city’s parking challenges, the possibility of annexing more territory into the city limits and preserving and creating more affordable housing in the city.

The meeting is technically open to the public, but its distance makes public attendance burdensome and unlikely. The meeting is not recorded or live-streamed like other City Commission meetings. There will be meeting minutes afterward summarizing what the commission discussed during the two-day retreat.

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Decaturish attended last year’s retreat and will attend this year. Decaturish has a longstanding objection to this retreat because it is an unnecessary expenditure of taxpayer money and it is a meeting that is not easily accessible to the general public. Residents of limited means, like people who live in the Decatur Housing Authority properties, would be hard-pressed to find a way to attend.

The city doesn’t see any problem with the retreat, however.

“We find tremendous value in being able to disconnect from our daily routines and work together with a minimum of interruptions,” Mayor Patti Garrett said. ” … We take the retreat seriously and are committed to making the most of our time together. We do all of this in compliance with the open meetings/open records act and will ensure that the public has access to the agenda and minutes from the retreat.”

The retreat begins at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 31 and concludes at 3 p.m. on Feb. 1.

There are many topics of interest that may be discussed at the meeting. These topics include:

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– 2020 strategic planning

– Affordable housing

– Annexation/growth

– Better Together initiatives

– City personnel succession planning

– Economic development

– Environmental Sustainability Board report

– Equity contracting

– Impact fee update

– Legacy Park

– Parking

– Senior population

– Travel

– Tree canopy protection ordinance

The agenda notes that, “Discussion topics are determined during the retreat, at the discretion of the City Commission, and other topics may be identified during the course of the retreat. There is no guarantee that any of these topics will be discussed.”

The City Commission also reserves the right to close off the meeting to the public at any time to discuss legal, personnel or real-estate matters.

The address for the meeting is Brasstown Valley, 6321 Highway 76, Young Harris, Ga.

If you can’t drive back and forth to Brasstown Valley on both days, rooms start at around $140, after taxes. To book a room, click here.

Here is a copy of the agenda:

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