Columbiana considers board to control look of new development

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Columbiana Council will consider an architectural review committee, a cable television franchise ordinance and an investment policy when it next meets on March 7.

Councilmember Tom Seale introduced all three items during the council&8217;s regular Feb. 21 meeting.

Mayor Allan Lowe has proposed that an architectural review committee be established composed of the mayor and members of the City Council.

According to the proposed ordinance, the mayor and council would be empowered to review all commercial building plans for the purpose of improving, rejecting and or making specific requirements for the exterior material to be used in the construction of a building structure prior to and as a condition to issuance of permits by the building department within the city limits.

In addition, the exterior material of such buildings must comply with all applicable building codes, be consistent in appearance with or better in appearance than the exterior material used on other commercial buildings in the immediate area, and shall take into consideration &8220;the character of the location, proximity to streets, visibility to others within the area, and the type of the surrounding neighborhood.&8221;

The committee would meet when called upon by the Building Official or such times as deemed necessary.

And the committee would be empowered until the city completes the currently planned revision of the city&8217;s Zoning Ordinance and the City Council adopts such a revision or other similar revision as part of the Zoning Ordinance.

The new cable television franchise ordinance would require a payment to the city of 5 percent of gross rather than 3 percent of basic cable services. The contract would be for five years, but if the cable system were upgraded within two years, would allow for a five-year extension.

The old cable franchise agreement was for 25 years.

The investment policy would state that the city is charged to protect financial assets by depositing funds in qualified financial institutions and investing only in investments fully secured by agencies of the United States Government.

It would state that financial institutions must be members in good standing with the Security for Alabama Funds Enhancement (SAFE) Program and to certify their participation by Sept. 30 of each year as member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

It would also state that qualified investment firms must be members in good standing with the National Association of Securities Dealers and certify their participation by Sept. 30 of each year.

In other matters, the council voted to donate $3,000 each to Elvin Hill Elementary, Columbiana Middle School, Shelby County High School and the School of Technology for a total donation of $12,000.

On a 3-2 vote the council approved the posting and advertisement for a full-time bookkeeper. Councilmembers Frieda Abrams and Danny Kelley voted no. Mayor Allan Lowe, Tom Seale and Ouida Mayfield voted yes. And Councilmember Tom Billingsley was absent.

When Abrams asked if the bookkeeper would be a new position, Lowe explained that it would not be a new position as far as personnel numbers, but would require more of an accounting background. It was reported that the auditor requested the bookkeeper position.

Councilmember Seale said the vote was not to hire for the bookkeeper position, but to take a list of applications.

Both Kelley and Abrams agreed that the position would be an item that is not in the budget.

The council voted unanimously, however, to hire a temporary full-time clerical worker for administration.

Approved without a vote under the consent agenda were:

u Minutes of the Feb. 7, 2006 regular meeting.

u Payment of accounts as listed on a Feb. 17, 2006 printout.

u Mayor Lowe&8217;s re-appointment of Jim Strickland to the Zoning Board of Adjustments for an additional three years to expire Oct. 1, 2008.

u Council&8217;s re-appointment of Corley Ellis to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for an additional three years to expire Oct. 1, 2008.

u Approval to use the city credit card for hotel expense for Fire College