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Avondale Estates City Commission to consider U.S. 278 road diet change order, amendments to tree ordinances

Avondale Estates

Avondale Estates City Commission to consider U.S. 278 road diet change order, amendments to tree ordinances

Photo obtained via the city of Avondale Estates website.

Avondale Estates, GA — The Avondale Estates City Commission will meet on Thursday, Sept. 9, at 5:30 p.m. for a regular meeting immediately followed by a work session. The City Commission meetings are held in person at City Hall, 21 N. Avondale Plaza, and will be available via Zoom.

To join the meeting via Zoom, click here. To join the meeting via phone, dial 301.715.8592 and use webinar ID: 838 7197 5072

To view the meeting agendas, click here.

During the regular meeting, the City Commission will vote on 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-timing them and moving 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.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is requiring the city to expand its footprint of environmental coverage to include the light in order to move forward with the project, Assistant City Manager Shannon Powell said at the Aug. 25 meeting.

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

The board was concerned about allocating more money to the project as the city isn’t sure it will get additional grants for the project.

“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.

During the work session, the City Commission will continue discussions of amending the city’s tree ordinances and discuss adding language clarifying a desire to keep the city’s canopy coverage at or about 50%. Tree permits and the tree list may also be points of conversation.

In a memo, Assistant City Manager Paul Hanebuth proposed language to multiple sections to state that the purpose of the ordinance is to “protect the City’s existing healthy tree canopy and amplify it whenever possible, so that coverage remains above 50% and increases over time…”

That language was also added to the ordinance that establishes the Tree Board and adds that “[t]o further this goal, such plan should provide for the planting of overstory (large) trees wherever and whenever practicable,” the memo states.

Also, on the agenda for the work session, the City Commission will consider the time frame for applying for open seats on the Tree Board and the Planning, Architecture and Zoning Board, proposals for Banbury Cross Pathway and will begin an initial discussion of a potential senior tax exemption.

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