Hinesville City Council members and Mayor Jim Thomas recognized Councilman David Anderson as they began their meeting Thursday afternoon.
On Jan. 26, Anderson was awarded a certificate of distinction from the Georgia Municipal Training Institute at the Georgia Municipal Association’s annual Mayor’s Day Conference in Atlanta. Thomas said the GMA training program consists of more than 40 courses, and that the certificate of distinction is the highest level of the GMA training certification.
Anderson earned the certificate by completing 204 hours of training, which included the Newly Elected Officials Institute course and the Leadership Institute for Municipal Elected Officials course.
In other business Thursday, the council approved a request by the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission on behalf of the Hospital Authority of Liberty County to rezone 15.9 acres from office institutional to general commercial. The five parcels are near Liberty Regional Medical Center. LCPC Director Jeff Ricketson said the zoning change was needed to accommodate future planning objectives at the hospital.
Ricketson also presented a proposed ordinance that would allow for and regulate recreational-vehicle parks within city limits. He reminded the council the request was connected to a special permit use approved by the council for Happy Acres LLC that allowed the manufactured-home park to convert a section of its park to RV living spaces, primarily for those who have short-term jobs on Fort Stewart.
He said the proposed ordinance was added to the city’s existing ordinance for manufactured-home parks. Specific requirements included establishing a minimum and maximum size for the RV park and each RV space.
The duration an RV would be allowed to remain at the park became an issue of discussion.
“No RV shall remain in an RV park for a period of more than six (6) months within a calendar year,” the proposed ordinance reads.
Mayor Pro Team Charles Frasier said he thought the original intent of the ordinance was to allow for contract workers who need temporary residence for the duration of their contract, which might exceed six months.
“We need to ensure (an RV park) does not become a permanent facility,” Thomas said. “That’s why we have to have that six-month limit.”
Councilman Keith Jenkins then asked where the RV owner was supposed to live during the rest of his or her contract. He said the city doesn’t want to discourage construction contracts here or on Fort Stewart or send temporary workers to find temporary living space out of town.
City Manager Billy Edwards also pointed out that the wording “within a calendar year” could allow someone to stay in an RV park for longer than six months.
Thomas then suggested that Frasier and Anderson meet with LCPC planners to work out the right wording for the duration clause.
The council approved a contract bid by Langdale Forest Products of Valdosta for the yard-waste grinding at J.V. Road storage area and bid by McLendon Enterprises Inc. for the Memorial Drive realignment project. According to project engineer Matthew Barrow, P.C. Simonton & Associates, the construction project is slated to begin later this year.
“Hinesville is one of the 13 hub cities outside Atlanta that contributes 47 percent of Georgia’s economy,” Thomas said as the meeting drew down the officials’ reports. “We want to make sure we keep a representative at state government ... Next week, the city manager and I will join (representatives of) 30 other (military) communities in San Antonio (Texas) to discuss what might happen with another base realignment and closure or continued sequestration.”
Thomas said thanks to the expansion of the Townsend Bombing Range in Long County, this area has become even more important for the Department of Defense. The increased importance should help protect this community from future military budget cuts, he said.