Updated, 9:58 a.m.
Covering trees to millage rates, the Norcross City Council got some work done during Monday's council meeting for August.
The focal point for the evening was on the approval of the revisions to the Tree Preservation Ordinance, which passed 3-2. The council was split 2-2 on the vote (Councilman Charlie Riehm was absent), so Mayor Bucky Johnson's vote was the final decider.
The revisions for the ordinance, which were made from the Tree Preservation Board, have been discussed and tabled in the past during policy work sessions, for reasons including restrictions on removing trees and simple verbage.
The core issue that caused the split vote was on tree removal. The ordinance states that in order to destroy a tree, it is required to have a tree removal permit completed and signed by a forester, an arborist or a landscape architect.
Councilman Ross Kaul, who voted against the revisions, explained during the meeting that he was concerned because he currently has a leafless tree in his yard that he knows is dead.
"I don't want to have to pay somebody to tell me it's dead to cut it down," said Kaul.
Mayor Pro Tem Andrew Hixson also voted against the revisions.
"If I have a tree in my backyard that I want to cut down," said Hixson, "I think it's my job to cut it down. I don't want the government to come in and [get involved]."
City Planner Chris McCrary explained that the Tree Preservation Ordinance is one of the stricter ordinances in the metro area, but it's also because the city has been certified as a Tree City USA for seven years now.
Other items on the agenda:
- The 2012 property tax millage rate was approved. The millage rate will stay at 6.424, the same rate as last year, which is lower than the proposed 2012 millage rate of 7.018.
- The council decided to table the digital display reader board proposal so that the Architectural Review Board can review the item. Some public opposition, , was addressed to the council. The item will be discussed next at the policy work session Monday, Aug. 20.
- A public art display to be made from recycled telephones was approved for The Nest grounds. The display will be from Lawrenceville St. to the Nest at 17 College St.
- A special use permit was approved for 5990 Unity Dr., Suite E. The business there wants to use a part of the office as a place that processes titles, mostly for cars.
- A parcel of land on Goshen Springs Road was approved to be rezoned from C-2 (general business) to M-1 (light industrial).