Cartersville council seeks compromise in rezoning issue
by Neil B. McGahee
Aug 08, 2014 | 1916 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After nearly an hour of public debate on a proposed parking lot adjacent to Moore’s Gourmet Market, 221 Fite Street, the Cartersville City Council decided to give the opposing parties more time to reach a compromise.

Cortney Hultman, owner of the popular restaurant, applied for a special use permit to demolish a house bordering his business and create a lot for overflow parking. Hultman justified his proposal stating that by adding off-street parking, traffic flow would be improved.

One resident, Emma Templeton, 83, has lived in her home at 4 Walker Street for more than 60 years. Her attorney, Shep Helton, reminded the council that allowing the parking lot to be built would put an end to Templeton’s ability to enjoy this house that she has occupied since 1951.

“ I’m usually here representing people who want to get something rezoned,” Helton said. “But tonight is different. If you approve this project as it is presented, you will change her life — and not for the better.”

Helton said the plan would mean as many as 11 cars shining their headlights directly through Templeton’s windows. He also cited the certain increase in noise volume.

“Imagine 83-year old Mrs. Templeton,” Shelton said. “She is trying to sleep but people are coming out laughing and having a good time. Car doors slam, cars crank, cars back out, headlights shine in her windows making it impossible for her to sleep. Moore’s Market is a wonderful place just like it is. We’re not asking anyone to stop what they are doing. As y’all are weighing these things, remember that Mr. Hultman is a businessman. He wants those parking places so he can make more money. Then you have Mrs. Templeton who just wants to live in peace and tranquility. She just wants to be able to sleep. When you weigh Mr. Hultman’s desire to make more money against Mrs. Templeton’s desire to get some good sleep I think you should consider compromises.”

At this point Mayor Matt Santini interrupted, urging Helton to be more specific about the compromises.

“Take off all the parking places that are against her property line so the headlights shine onto Fite Street,” Helton replied. “That would mean the elimination of 11 parking places, which would leave 22 places to park. There would be an increase in noise, but at least there wouldn’t be headlights shining in her house.”

Hultman countered that eliminating 11 parking places wouldn’t justify the $30,000 expense of the building the lot. Instead he proposed erecting a privacy fence tall enough to insure Templeton’s tranquility, but Helton remained adamant about removing the 11 spots.

During the hearing, five residents endorsed the idea, saying it was good for the community by getting parked cars off the streets. Two objected, citing increased traffic congestion.

Mayor Pro-Tem Dianne Tate made a motion to table the vote until the next meeting giving both sides a chance to compromise further. Council member Louis Tonsmeire seconded the motion and the council voted 4-2 to table the discussion.

In other business, council:

• authorized the City of Cartersville M&O property tax millage rate to be set at 1.38 mills.

• authorized the Cartersville city school system property tax millage to be set at 17.93 mills.

• authorized the Cartersville Business Improvement District millage rate to be set at 2.50 mills.

• approved a proposal for a downtown festival zone for the August First Friday event, which was postponed to Friday, Aug. 15 due to earlier inclement weather. Council also approved an agreement with Mellow Mushroom to sponsor the event.

• approved participation in a new Federal Emergency Management Agency program called Risk MAP, which can coordinate flood hazard data with all federal, state and local entities.

• authorized a rental agreement with Western Sky, a fly-fishing apparel company, for the third floor of the depot.

• authorized an emergency repair on a 24-inch water main at El Nopal restaurant.

• authorized $11,000 for replacement of a secondary bearing on a pump at the water department that failed recently.

• authorized $7,500 to repair cracks found at the base of a ladder on a 1994 Pierce fire truck.

The Cartersville City Council will meet next on Thursday, Aug. 21, at 7pm on the third floor of city hall.