The Cartersville City Council heard the first readings of two proposed ordinances at Thursday evening’s meeting — one that would create tighter restrictions on food truck businesses and another that would require all businesses and residences within the city limits to register their security alarms with the local police department.
The proposed mobile retail food establishment ordinance would require anyone within the city who operates a food truck, commissary, pushcart or temporary food establishment to obtain a license from the local planning and development department — albeit, with certain exemptions for City-sponsored events.
“What is being presented to you is an ordinance that provides for definitions, standards, operations of mobile retail food establishments,” said City of Cartersville Planning and Development Director Randy Mannino. “There may be room for some additions, if there still are some concerns.”
Under the ordinance, such businesses would be required to have a $1 million liability policy — with the City of Cartersville named as an additional entity insured under said policy. As written, the ordinance would also allow the City to bar permits to any applicants based upon their “moral character.”
Which, essentially, means both the City planning and development department and the Cartersville Police Department (CPD) have the leeway to reject permits for business operators who have “been convicted of a felony or other offense involving moral turpitude” and the “pertinent circumstances connected with such conviction.”
That includes any applicant who has been convicted of an alcohol-related offense over the past 12 months or anyone who has had a drug-related conviction over the previous 36 months. The CPD also has the ability to bar permits for applicants who have “a pattern of convictions for traffic violations,” although the ordinance doesn’t specify what kinds of traffic violations, or how many, would officially disqualify an applicant.
The ordinance would limit food truck sales to 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Processing fees for the permits are set at $100.
The council is set to hear a second reading of the ordinance — and possibly vote on the item — at next month’s first public meeting.
The council also heard the first reading of, but took no action on, a proposed ordinance that would require all new alarm systems within the city limits to be registered with the CPD within 30 days of their installation — with all existing alarm systems required to be registered within 60 days of the ordinance being adopted.
Cartersville Assistant City Attorney Keith Lovell said the ordinance applies to both residential and commercial properties. The ordinance, he said, is designed to pinpoint “a contact person if we notice that an alarm happens to be operating on there improperly or has too many false alarms.”
Cartersville Chief of Police Frank McCann said the department already has the necessary software in its records management system. “We’re going to be able to populate it by doing this,” he said.
Registration is non-transferrable under the proposed ordinance. While there is no registration fee required, those who do not register their alarms would be subject to a $50 fine — with the City issuing a $100 fine each time personnel respond to an unregistered alarm.
The proposed fine schedule includes financial penalties up to $250 for multiple violations.
“As it stands now, our New World reporting system generates monthly invoices and assigns the mailing address of the alarm location,” a department summary recommendation document reads. “However, many of [the] residents of the false alarms do not receive mail at the location of the alarm, but at different locations, such as a post office box.”
Council members also voted unanimously to adopt a resolution to extend the City’s moratorium on applications for renovations or improvements to any properties within the Cherokee-Cassville and West End Historic Districts until July 6 at Thursday's meeting.
Lovell said the City is awaiting the fate of pending State legislation before making any decisions on when to lift the moratorium, which originally took effect last August.
Still, that didn’t prevent City officials from presenting a first reading of a massive Historic Preservation Commission design standards revision package, which came in at over 100 pages.
City Planner David Hardegree said the revisions are about two years in the making.
“Most of these changes before you in this text revision are grammatical in nature, they're administrative in nature,” he said. “We’ve added definitions to this to clarify some things … we’ve changed some of the language to take more of the gray out, to make things a little more black and white.”
The HPC approved the changes at a meeting in December.
“Staff looks at these as sort of the first step of the ordinances that will be coming out as related to the moratorium,” Lovell said. “Now that these guidelines are sort of in place, they can actually go into some content with respect to those that ya’ll have discussed to have in the future.”
Several community members spoke out against the proposed changes during a public comment session.
Hoyt Hatfield said he represented a property owner along Cassville Road. He said he had concerns about provisions that would forbid property owners within the City’s designated historic districts from subdividing their properties.
“This property’s already zoned R-20, and I’m not trying to rezone it, and neither is he,” Hatfield said. “When I first started this, it was about 14 homes. Now we’re trying to get it down to five.”
Meanwhile, resident Greg Cordell said he objected to the moratorium being initiated in the first place.
“I don’t quite understand why it takes so long for someone to come up with restrictions, or even proposed restrictions, for this property,” he said. “They’re tearing down houses all through the city to rebuild new houses, there’s no proposal whatsoever to tear down this historic home … the infrastructure is there, in place, to support three to five, maybe more, homes.”
Both ordinances, as well as the HPC text revisions, are slated for second readings — and possible council votes — at a public meeting to be held March 5 at 7 p.m. at 10 North Public Square.