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Council re-commits to ethics program
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At the regular Hinesville city council meeting, council agreed to renew the City of Hinesville’s certification for another five years as part of the City of Ethics program by the Georgia Municipal Association. Other items included multiple rezoning and plat requests submitted for approval, appointments to the new Youth Council Advisory Board, an alcoholic beverage license application for Flame Hookah Bar and Lounge, and a five percent renewal on the city’s healthcare coverage.

The City of Ethics program by GMA requires the mayor and council members to subscribe to the ethics principles outlined and approved by the GMA board. The principles are: to serve others, not ourselves; use resources with efficiency and economy; treat all people fairly; use the power of our position for the well-being of our constituents; and create an environment of honesty, openness and integrity.

Council approved the application for recertification unanimously.

A rezoning application was filed by Taro Leaf Holdings, LLC owner Jimmy Shanken to rezone 0.59 acres of land from Townhouse Dwelling District (R-TH) to Multi-family Dwelling District (R-A-1). Shanken is proposing to build one apartment building with approximately 10 units, according to Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission Zoning Administrator Gabby Hartage. The complex would be located off of Olmstead Drive in Hinesville. LCPC recommended approval with standard and special conditions being that both parcels be combined on the property. The request passed unanimously.

Dryden Enterprises submitted the final plat for phase 2A of their Independence Settlement, according to LCPC Planner III Nils Gustavson. The preliminary plat for a total of 66 lots was approved by council in September 2018. There are 39 lots that remain to be developed, Gustavson said. Two new streets will be added to the road network: Rutledge Drive and Burke Drive, he added.

RTS Homes submitted a request for final plat approval for phase 3A of the Pineridge subdivision. The preliminary plat received council approval in September 2018 for 55 lots, Gustavson said. The plat addressed the Evergreen Trail portion of the phase 3A for 21 lots to be developed. Thirty four remain undeveloped, Gustavson continued. One road will be added to the road network: Evergreen Trail.

Both plats received council’s approval.

The Youth Advisory Board received three appointments to its board, including appointments from Mayor Allen Brown, District 2 council member Jason Floyd, District 3 council member Vicky Nelson, and District 4 council member Keith Jenkins. The remaining appointment lies with District 1 council member Diana Reid.

Council approved a Class III Beverage License application for Flame Hookah Bar and Lounge, located at 117 W. Hendry Street. According to Hinesville Tax and License Coordinator Yokesha Greene, all parties approved the application. However, in a memo addressed to Greene from Hartage, the property has the correct zoning for a bar, and meets the distance requirements from a residential property. Hinesville’s alcohol beverage ordinance states that a Class III license will not be permitted on certain streets within the city. The primary entry points to the business, Hartage continued, are located off of W. Hendry Street. However, the street intersects with General Screven Way, one of the prohibited streets outlined in the ordinance.

The ordinance specifically states that “under no circumstances shall a Class III on-premises alcohol consumption license be issued for any location situated on these identified streets.”

Council agreed that since the business is set back and can’t be seen from General Screven Way, and that the primary access point to the business is from W. Hendry Street, that the application is not in violation of the ordinance, and council granted the request.

In other business, council reviewed an opportunity to renew healthcare coverage for the city. In an effort to circumnavigate the possibility on those increasing insurance costs, council members agreed to a five percent healthcare plan renewal with their current health insurance provider Cigna. The five percent increase applies only to those employees working for the City of Hinesville.

City Manager Ken Howard said that the renewal would be more cost effective than bidding out to other potential health insurance companies in 2019. The city has been under contract with Cigna to provide healthcare coverage since July 2014.

Employee Benefits Consultant Robert Ward spoke to council, citing reasons to accept the offer including a marginal increase in renewal rates should the five percent be declined, medical inflation and other factors.

Council approved the five percent renewal unanimously.


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