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Avondale Estates City Commission approves contract for North Woods phase two construction 

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Avondale Estates City Commission approves contract for North Woods phase two construction 

During a public meeting on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, the city of Avondale Estates and consultants from Long Engineering and Lord Aeck Sargent presented the Northwoods project that will include three rain gardens near Berkeley Road and two new trails. Photo is a screenshot of the presentation.

Avondale Estates, GA — The Avondale Estates City Commission, at its May 10 regular meeting, approved a contract to construct phase two of the North Woods stormwater project. 

The commission awarded a contract to JOC Construction in the amount of $1.15 million to build phase two of the North Woods stormwater project. A contingency of $115,000 has also been requested, bringing the total cost to $1.27 million.

City Manager Patrick Bryant said the firm specializes in stormwater projects. 

Phase one of the project has been completed and included building recreational trails, which connect the sidewalk on Berkeley Road to the existing path on the north side of Lake Avondale.

Construction of phase two will include adding rain gardens and a wooden walking path. Construction will likely begin later this month. 

“There are two major parts of the second phase. The first part is a nature trail and boardwalk,” said Kristin Moretz, Capital Projects Construction and Maintenance Director. “We’re going to enhance the culvert…We’re going to add riprap, add velocity reduction devices.” 

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, riprap “is a layer of large stones that protects soil from erosion in areas of high or concentrated flows. It is especially useful for armoring channel and ditch banks, among other features.”

Part of the boardwalk will be elevated to save some large trees in the area. 

“As you go farther south, we have three separate rain gardens,” Moretz said. “There’ll be plantings with them. There’s a small overlook so you can sit and check out the rain gardens from a higher vantage point.”

There will also a large outfall with riprap, which will take away the main failure point of the North Woods is. 

“There’s a very large pit that’s eroding away,” Moretz said. “That pit will be restabilized, compacted, and now all of this water is essentially redirected so that it’s leaving at a slower velocity with water treatment at this lower point, much closer to the area that’s more stabilized, it’s more flat so the velocity is not so intense.”

The city commission additionally accepted a grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for the project. The DNR has increased its grant to the city by $188,357. The agency also requested the city allocate an additional $75,343 as the local match, which is already budgeted in the stormwater fund.

In other business: 

– The city commission will consider contracting with Stantec to conduct environmental work related to the U.S. 278 complete street project. The contract amount is not to exceed $59,000.

“As we previously discussed at last meeting’s work session, this is an item to allow for some phase two environmental work at five sites that we acquired for right of way related to the 278 project,” Bryant said. “We do not anticipate the costs rising to $59,000. That is a contingent cost in case that there is a discovery of contaminants upon the site.”

– Clarendon Avenue has been repaved, but the striping of the road will be completed during the last week of May. Additional curb and sidewalk repairs will continue throughout the summer. 

– The city commission is considering a farm winery ordinance. For a business to operate as a farm winery and a tasting room, it has to obtain federal, state, and local licenses. 

Currently, the city of Avondale Estates does not have a provision in its alcohol ordinance that would allow for a farm winery or tasting room. 

“Wild Heaven approached us to say they are going through the process to obtain the permitting and licensing necessary to do this because they want to offer wine as a product at their brewery,” Bryant said. “The brewery would doubly function as a farm winery tasting room.”

He added that Wild Heaven intends to order bulk wine from California or other areas and order wine from Georgia farms. They plan to blend the wines in-house to create a new product. 

Businesses can currently manufacture and sell beer and spirits according to the ordinance. 

– The commission discussed an administrative fee ordinance to allow the city manager to establish and update the fees regularly. The city charges fees for various permits, licenses, and other administrative tasks. The city has not updated its fees in several years. 

“The impetus behind an administrative fee is that you are charging the applicant for the time spend by city staff to perform that work, so you’re recovering the cost incurred by the city through that fee,” Bryant said. 

Currently, those fees are set by multiple ordinances, and the city didn’t have a mechanism to update the fees regularly. 

“What this ordinance does is it gives the city manager the responsibility to create a fee schedule, update it as necessary, and make that fee schedule publicly known so that any customer of the city knows what the administrative cost to whatever it is they are doing will be,” Bryant said. 

At this time, Bryant is not recommending that the city create any new fees. 

Some concerns were raised about what oversight the city commission would have over the fees. City Commissioner Dee Merriam suggested that the city manager make a recommendation on the fee schedule during the budget process, and the board would approve the fees annually during the budget process. 

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