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Tucker City Council changes meeting format


Tucker City Council changes meeting format

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A map of the city of Tucker. Image obtained via Google Maps


By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor 

Tucker, GA — Tucker City Council held a three-hour work session meeting on Aug. 24 to hear presentations. It is a new meeting format for the city. In prior months, City Council met for a short work session followed by regular City Council meetings twice monthly. Now the City Council will meet for one work session and one city council meeting each month.

City Council meetings are held for public hearings, reading ordinances, and voting; they may also follow work sessions when necessary.

Councilmember Anne Lerner said, “Our new format, with full work sessions for the second meeting of the month, allows us more time to focus on important topics that will come up for decisions at future council meetings.  As we did tonight, we can bring in experts to garner more knowledge, ask questions, share research and allow for more in-depth discussion. We did not feel rushed to get through work session items before a full council meeting.”

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The meeting started with a presentation by Tucker Summit Community Improvement District (CID) on creating an Opportunity Zone in the Mountain Industrial and Tucker Industrial corridors. Opportunity Zones are created to rehabilitate blighted areas and attract new businesses through state tax incentives.

Tucker Summit CID President Emory Morsberger said the goal is to attract high-level companies to replace those moving out. He declined to name companies leaving the area when asked by Decaturish.

“We are not seeking people that are going to buy properties and then underutilize them, or utilize them for a use that is not good for our area. Our goal is to attract higher level jobs and higher paying jobs in a more intensive use of our area. I don’t think we’re looking for more warehousing,” said Morsberger, a real estate developer who had a hand in Ponce City Market.

Next steps include passing a resolution by Tucker Summit CID and submitting an application to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

The Mountain Industrial corridor is bustling. It is the location of Branch Properties’ future upscale retail development, a new Smoke Rise Elementary School, and the subject of a traffic study.

Parks and Recreation Director Rip Robertson reported on youth sports organizations, fall programming at the Tucker recreation center, and efforts to reach seniors. Robertson said although this summer city-run camps, pool openings, and parks programs were successful, city staff is limiting use of fields for some youth sports.

Tucker Youth Soccer Association and Druid Hills Youth Sports (baseball) submitted plans to return to fields with practices and clinics. TYSA is set to being games next month; DHYS is awaiting DeKalb County’s okay.

Tucker Football League, for athletes ages four to 12, returned to Fitzgerald Field this summer for camp, conditioning, and non-contact practice while adhering to Covid-19 health guidelines. City staff is recommending Fitzgerald Field not open for Tucker Football League’s full-tackle football games.

“I know they want to play tackle football, there’s a lot of groups out there that want to play tackle football, and there’s a lot of groups out there that are playing tackle football. Alpharetta, Brookhaven, Cobb County, Roswell, Milton. These are all [recreation] agencies that I’ve been in contact with, and they are playing full-contact football,” Robertson said. “We come tonight with a little bit of an apprehensive recommendation in that we know there’s a lot of people doing it, but we just don’t feel safe with that duration of contact.”

Robertson wants to continue evaluating the risk, and leave the door open for future play.

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Mayor Frank Auman commended the Parks and Recreation department for engaging citizens. The department is planning programming for isolated senior residents affected by the shelter in place order.

In July, Tucker tabled a discussion on taking over public works from DeKalb County. Council members heard from Seth Yurman, land development manager for Peachtree Corners Public Works, and Katherine Atteberry, stormwater planning manager for Atlanta Regional Commission and Tucker resident, at the Aug. 25 meeting. The experts presented pros and cons of taking over stormwater management.

Benefits of local control of the stormwater system include quicker mobilization, better customer service, and attention to residents’ needs, Yurman said.

In other news from city staff:

– The first court session in the new courtroom at city hall will be Sept. 16. Traffic court is set to start in October.

– City staff is asking all property owners to adhere to code by repairing or replacing abandoned and dilapidated signs within six months. A citation will be issued; if the property owner needs more time to address the sign, three additional months may be allowed.

– Council members unanimously passed two second reads: the finance ordinance to amend the FY20 budget, and clarification of language in city code on trees and stream buffers.

The next City Council meeting is Monday, Sept. 14.

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