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New HPD chief named, council addresses zoning
Hinesville City Hall

 At a regular Hinesville City Council Thursday, council voted unanimously to appoint Interim Police Chief Bill Kirkendall as Chief of Police of the Hinesville Police Department (HPD) after a recommendation from Hinesville City Manager Kenneth Howard.

Council opened the meeting by recognizing local citizens who provided life-saving measures in a March 31 crash on E. Oglethorpe Hwy. The EMTs’ professional opinion stated in a memorandum that the victim would not have survived without the citizens who rendered lifesaving first aid. Council thanked Carol Chapman, Rondy Bacon, Brett Ferron and Susan Avant for their work in saving Ricky Eaton’s life.

A special permit request submitted by Buckel Design Group for permission to build a discount tire retail store at 612 W. Oglethorpe Hwy received approval from council. 

The Liberty County Planning Commission recommended approval with standard and special conditions. LCPC requires a 6-foot high opaque fence barrier be built to separate the building from the residential community, and establish a driveway connection between the adjacent commercial developments to the south.

Donald Christopher Hunt submitted a rezoning petition to rezone his property from C-2 (General Commercial District) to C-3 (Highway Commercial District). His business, Duck Pawn, wants to sell fruits and vegetables from a local vendor in the parking lot. A city ordinance requires the property has to be zoned at a minimum C-3. LCPC recommended the petition with standard conditions, and council approved unanimously.

The last rezoning petition is to rezone .68 acres of land at the intersection of W. Oglethorpe Hwy and Brantley Drive from MH (Manufactured Home District) to C-3. The adjoining parcels are currently zoned C-3. LCPC recommended approval of Council with the special condition that all adjoining parcels will be recombined.

Phil Odom, the executor of the state adjacent to the potential rezoning, spoke in opposition. He requested that access to the 3-way light be denied by removing the connection to the main road from the parcel in question.

“For the sake of the community, I don’t see a need for this to connect,” Odom said. “I’m asking you all, stub out that driveway and don’t make the connection.”

There will be no special access given to the southern property until it is developed, said David Shanahan, representative of Dimension Hinesville Venture, LLC. Speaking after Odom, he assured council that no connection would be made, until a later, more appropriate time. After discussion, all council members approved the petition.

Council approved a request for a class II Alcoholic Beverage License for the new establishment Bar Nine on Highway 196. The owner, Jakeyra Blair, received consent from all required entities ahead of council.

The Community Development Department (CDD) representative Erica Usher brought the 2018 Balance of State (BoS) Continuum of Care (CoC) Renewal Grant application to council for final authorization. The grant is submitted to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for funding consideration, Usher said. 

The money provides continuation to the Community Development Department Homeless Prevention Program’s Rapid Rehousing Project, according to the request. The Rapid Rehousing Project assists homeless individuals and families in securing housing through a combination of rental or utility assistance, Usher said. HUD’s Continuum of Care program has continually supported Hinesville’s work towards reducing homelessness in the community, according to the request.

The grant application is seeking $138,040 for their total project budget on behalf of the Homeless Prevention Program’s Rapid Rehousing project. The CDD is requesting a total of $110,432 in grant funds, Usher said. The department is supplying the required 25 percent match through a combination of cash and in-kind support, she said, totaling $27,608. City council approved the grant unanimously.

Howard spoke regarding the proposed Classification and Compensation Study for the City of Hinesville. 

“This will allow the consultant to come in and look at our personnel system,” Howard said. The last time the city conducted a pay compensation study was 2006, he said. There’s a proposal from Condrey and Associates and they’re prepared to conduct the study, Howard continued.

“The agreement delineates the scope of work which was discussed at our off-site,” Howard said. “And the cost associated with this study is $24,500.” Howard recommended that the city enter into an agreement with Condrey and Associates to conduct the study. The study will be completed in October, he said, and comes with a series of recommendations.

“This is an internal and external equity analysis that will essentially look at all the factors that impact our pay plan,” Howard said.

District 1 Councilmember Diana Reid asked why council received no local bids for the study, in order to reduce cost. Howard replied that no local businesses were considered, due to the complexity and magnitude of the compensation study. 

“In the past, Strategic Business has not done a study this comprehensive,” he said. 

“Well, I don’t want to be the reason why they’re held up from getting their pay,” Reid said. “Let me ask you this Mr. City Manager, do you think it’s worth the $24,500 to have this done?”

Howard responded that it is a very good cost associated with conducting the study, and that it is an all-inclusive and comprehensive approach.

With Howard’s recommendation, council approved the study.

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