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Avondale Estates City Commission approves contract for stormwater service policy

Avondale Estates

Avondale Estates City Commission approves contract for stormwater service policy

The Avondale Estates City Commission met on Wednesday, Aug. 25, at City Hall to discuss the stormwater service policy, the U.S. 278 complete streets project and the town green project. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

This story has been updated.

Avondale Estates, GA — The Avondale Estates City Commission, at its Aug. 25 meeting, approved a contract with Brown and Caldwell for the city’s stormwater service policy. The contract is not to exceed $46,633, which is part of the total requested funding for this project of about $55,000.

Brown and Caldwell proposed to develop two options for a policy to determine financial responsibility in areas where public infrastructure meets private infrastructure, according to the agenda.

The policy will give the city a defined way to decide when it’s the city’s responsibility to address stormwater issues and when it’s not when dealing with infrastructure that’s not on city property, Assistant City Manager Paul Hanebuth said at the Aug. 11 work session.

“We’ve sort of discussed before that our current ordinance is all the way at one end of the spectrum where we only take care of stuff that’s actually on city property. The other end of the spectrum would be if we took care of all stormwater infrastructure, no matter where it was located,” Hanebuth said at the Aug. 25 regular meeting. “So they’re going to provide two options in between those two points along that spectrum, and then provide a financial analysis of projected maintenance costs related to both of those options.”

For example, if the city had a head wall that emptied water from the stormwater system into a stream, then one proposal might say that the city would be responsible for maintaining the first 30 feet of the stream bed. Another proposal might say the city is responsible for the first 100 feet, Hanebuth said.

The financial analysis would show the difference in maintenance costs of the two options.

The other part of this project includes a contract with TerraMark for $8,500, and they will collect and organize all the plats for the city, which would help inform this project and also future planning and permitting efforts, Hanebuth said.

During the work session, the City Commission discussed a change order to the U.S. 278 road diet project. City staff requested that the scope of work for Edwards Pittman Environmental Services be expanded to incorporate the traffic light at South Avondale Road and Clarendon Avenue into the project at a cost of about $28,000.

The city has already allocated $80,000 for the design work of the project, and the total budget for the lighting project is $1.9 million.

Part of the project includes adding new traffic signals, re-time them and move them. The city has also applied for a federal earmark through the surface transportation reauthorization bill to add two signals and help the city get to construction on the project.

As the city has begun design work for the signals, staff has found that the traffic lights at Clarendon Avenue, North Avondale Road and South Avondale Road function as one signal. So the city has to take on both lights, but its environmental documents don’t include the light on South Avondale Road.

“GDOT is requiring us to extend the footprint of our environmental coverage, so we have a boundary, and we do all of the historic archeology and all the different reports that are required of us in order to move forward,” Assistant City Manager Shannon Powell said. “That little area, and it’s a fairly small area, we have to come back in and do all of the reports for that.”

Powell added that the city cannot change the traffic signals without including the light on South Avondale Road and Clarendon Avenue.

The city is still in the mix to receive additional grants from the Atlanta Regional Commission for the project.

Mayor Pro Tem Brian Fisher was concerned about allocating more money to the project when the city is not sure if it will get a federal grant or not.

Powell thinks that the Atlanta Regional Commission could help cover some cost, and said ARC has indicated a willingness to consider providing assistance.

“It’s a tough situation because if we don’t do it, then we can’t finish the design. If we don’t finish the design, we can’t move forward with construction,” Powell said.

Additionally, the City Commission considered a change to the town green project to bury the utility lines that Georgia Power has to relocate from inside the park to around the park. There are currently 16 utility poles on the site that are a mix of Comcast, AT&T and Georgia Power. The city is recommending reducing the number of poles to eight and the poles would be located on the edges of the town green.

“That can be done however it would take an amendment to the contract and the contract would need to be amended to the tune of somewhere around a $500,000 or $600,000 increase in order to cover that change,” City Manager Patrick Bryant said.

If the City Commission chose to bury the lines, the city would have to do that for Comcast utility lines as well, which would be an additional cost.

The commissioners agreed that they would prefer to bury the lines, but the city does not have the money to bury all the utility lines.

“The question is, number one, where are we going to find what sounds like to me is approaching $1 million,” Mayor Jonathan Elmore said. “We’re considering on the fly a $1 million addition to the park. No. Unless we just won the lottery, I’m just not sure how that’s going to happen.”

Commissioner Lisa Shortell added that the overhead wires won’t prevent the city from meeting its goals with the park of creating a beautiful gathering place, stimulating downtown development and activating the park.

The City Commission will meet again on Thursday, Sept. 9, at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 21 N. Avondale Plaza. The meeting will also be available via Zoom.

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