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Avondale Estates City Commission to vote on comprehensive development plan, amended tree ordinance

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Avondale Estates City Commission to vote on comprehensive development plan, amended tree ordinance

Avondale Estates City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated.

Avondale Estates, GA — The Avondale Estates City Commission will meet on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 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: 889 4974 8201.

To view the meeting agendas, click here.

During the regular meeting, the City Commission will consider adopting the comprehensive development plan. Every five years, cities are required by state law to update their comprehensive development plan, a long-range action plan that guides development, investment and allocation of services. The city has updated its plan with the help of the Atlanta Regional Commission and sent it to the state Department of Community Affairs for review.

The comprehensive plan highlights the city’s vision, goals, accomplishments and work plan. According to the goals, the city is working to capitalize on the qualities and values that have made for a successful community.

“For us, we revisit the vision and goals. We look at needs and opportunities,” Assistant City Manager Shannon Powell said at the Sept. 22 City Commission meeting. “We do a community work program that outlines a very specific tasks over the course of a five-year period, and oddly enough, we also look at broadband.”

The city changed the previous comprehensive development plan and held public comment opportunities. As Powell looked at the suggestions that came out of the public comments, she saw a desire to focus on environmental and economic sustainability.

Some highlights of the work plan include creating a public art program, implementing the stormwater capital improvements program, and exploring mechanisms to encourage and introduce green infrastructure.

The City Commission will also consider adopting the amended tree ordinance. The board has previously discussed specifying the canopy coverage requirements and altering the tree list.

The options the board will consider sets the city’s residential canopy goal at 50% and sets the canopy goal at 40% for non-single-family residential districts. Both options also amend the tree list, which specifies the types of trees that can be planted on city property.

One option, however, would require property owners to apply for a tree removal permit before performing any substantial land disturbance in residential areas, according to the agenda packet.

According to the draft ordinance, substantial land disturbance is defined as “any work that (a) involves earth-moving mechanical equipment (including, but not limited to bobcats or tractors), or (b) results in fifty percent (50%) of a lot’s permeable area being cleared of vegetation down to bare soil, or (c) requires installation of erosion control fencing pursuant to any applicable city, state or federal regulation.”

When a tree removal permit is required, the property owner would have to apply for the permit and submit a tree survey, a tree preservation and replacement plan, and other documentation to the city arborist. No land disturbance, demolition or other construction activity could happen before review and approval of the tree removal permit.

Additionally, during the regular meeting, the City Commission will hold the first readings of the 2021 amended budget and the 2022 budget, and will consider amending City Manager Patrick Bryant’s contract.

Bryant could receive a 4.5% pay increase, adjusting his salary from about $153,830 to about $160,752. The contract amendment would also provide additional severance benefits of nine-months’ health insurance coverage, or until Bryant gains health insurance from another employer, if he is terminated by the city without cause.

During the work session, the board will discuss any update on the police department, the 2022 budget and the draft sign ordinance.

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