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City OKs Griffin Park rezoning
Hinesville City Hall

The Hinesville City Council approved a variety of agenda items at its meeting earlier this month, including a zoning petition, board appointments and changes to loan requirements.

Dryden Enterprises Inc. filed a petition to zone 22.23 acres from AR-1, agricultural residential, to planned unit development along Live Oak Church Road as part of the expansion of Griffin Park.

The petition was previously presented at a Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission meeting, where Sarah Tripak, whose property borders part of the tract, expressed concern about her farm being near the proposed homes. Planning commissioners recommended approval with a condition that Dryden install a privacy fence between the houses and Tripak’s property.

At the City Council meeting, Marcus Sack of P.C. Simonton and Associates Inc. said the back property line will be fully fenced. One lot will have a fence that runs three quarters of the lot to separate it from Tripak’s property.

Tripak said she was satisfied.

“It meets my needs,” she said. “I also see that some trees will be left up as well, which will be a good buffer.”

Council members approved the petition and then approved to annex the land into the city.

The Community Development Department was approved to submit a grant application on behalf of the Hinesville Police Department for the Community Grant Program through Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. HPD is requesting $1,000 to buy 20 backpacks containing school supplies. HPD will give out the backpacks to children during the National Night Out.

The city of Walthourville requested that Liberty Transit extend service there. Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards said the request is being processed to get approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration. Public hearings have been held on issue in last month and this. The public comment period closes today. No one spoke at the council meeting.

The council approved entering a modified loan agreement with the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority. GEFA removed the conditions from the loan.

Kimberly Ryon, the city’s chief financial officer, said the loan is for the city’s stormwater utility.

“Originally we were asked to establish a separate debt service reserve fund … to make sure that we had funds to service the debt,” she said. “The second thing we had to do was in the general fund, you had to set aside $125,000 each year and set that up and transfer it into the stormwater utility fund.”

Hinesville’s stormwater utility was established in 2007, Ryon said, and is supposed to sustain itself after a few years. GEFA said the special condition that made the general fund liable is no longer required. Ryon said it was a good idea to still use the debt-service account to set aside money to pay back the loan so the city will not “have to scramble to make those payments.”

The council approved allowing the Public Works Department to do an outlet control structure at the Hokey Jackson Stadium detention pond. Matthew Barrow of P.C. Simonton and Associates said the city received two bids, from Palm Coast Utilities LLC of Ludowici and Y-Delta Inc. of Stateboro. The lowest bid was submitted by Palm Coast Utilities and was more than double the budget estimate for the project, which was $28,739. Barrow said he could not find a good reason why their bids were so high. There were revisions to the project, such as what types of materials to use, and it was found that the Public Works Department could complete the task. Work will start by mid-July.

The Liberty County Re-entry Coalition received an $18,700 grant from the Georgia Department of Economic Development Workforce Division with the aid of Coastal Workforce Services. CWS implements different programs that help people find employment. The Coastal Workforce Development Board in Savannah applied for the grant. The CWDB is responsible for managing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act services in 10 coastal counties, including Liberty. The grant is earmarked to fund staff, office furniture, office supplies, software and computers.

Assistant City Manager Kenneth Howard said the grant is two-tiered. The initial amount of more than $18,000 is available now, and the coalition will receive $106,000 to $125,000 for operations over two years. Council members approved allowing Hinesville to be the pass-through agency.

Other agenda items

In other business, Lenard Scoggins, project director of CH2M, presented updates on ublic Works operations. When Tropical Storm Colin hit the area, a sinkhole was found on Kings Way, caused by a rusted pipe. He said Public Works secured the area and coordinated with P.C. Simonton to bring in a contractor to fix the problem.

An inspections report said Wal-Mart will be undergoing a $1.11 million renovation.

Melanie Thompson was appointed interim director for the Hinesville Housing Authority.

The council appointed the following to boards:
• David Anderson, reappointed to the Coastal Regional Commission Aging Services Council.
• Pastor Douglas Harn and LaMonica Jenkins, reappointed to the Live Oak Public Library Board.
• Tom Ratcliffe, to the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority after Babs Holtzman resigned. Holtzman recommended Ratcliffe for the seat.

Councilwoman Vicky Nelson said there should be more diversity on the boards, instead of having the same list of names. She said the boards should represent Liberty County’s diverse population.

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