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Starbucks part of proposed Richmond Hill strip shopping center
RHPD promotes officer to captain
RH Council 012116
Jason Sakelarios gets his captain pin put on his uniform by his wife, Shannon, during the Richmond Hill City Council meeting Tuesday in City Hall. Standing behind Shannon is Police Chief Billy Reynolds. - photo by Brent Zell

The Richmond Hill City Council approved a variance on a perimeter buffer requirement between a commercial development on Ford Avenue and Rushing Street, which lists Starbucks as a tenant, and Richmond Hill United Methodist Church.

The Hutton Company requested the variance to reduce the landscape buffer along the property’s western boundary from 20 feet to 1½ feet at its narrowest point and the dumpster-enclosure setback from 50 feet to 1½ feet at its narrowest point. According to the variance application, “the reduction in developable area associated with the standard buffer and setback requirement imposes a hardship on the proposed development rendering it nonfeasible.”

The landscape plan for the development shows a 5,000-square-foot building with room for three tenants, with a Starbucks being the only listed tenant as of Tuesday.

At the Jan. 11 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Anthony Sardines, the chairman of the board of trustees of the Methodist Church — the property of which is along the development’s western boundary — raised concerns that customers going to a tenant in the development would use the church’s parking lot. He said the church was requesting a 6-foot fence on the property border and had concerns that a 4-foot fence wouldn’t deter people.

The developer agreed to a 6-foot fence, according to the meeting’s minutes, to be built on its side, and the commission recommended approval of the variance request.

On Tuesday, the council approved the request, with the condition that the fence would be a minimum of 4-feet tall near the front of the start of the parking on the development’s property closest to Ford Avenue to the building line. From there, the fence would be a minimum of 6-feet tall to the back of the property and east to Rushing Street. Aesthetics were the main concern for having the 4-foot tall request in the front portion of the property.

Also Tuesday, the council approved $225,000 from SPLOST for the purchase of seven vehicles for the Richmond Hill Police Department.

And Jason Sakelarios of the RHPD got his captain’s pin and badge during a ceremony at the council meeting.

RHPD Chief Billy Reynolds recounted Sakelarios’ accomplishments in the last few years, including Sakelarios completing his master’s degree in public-safety administration and helping the department achieve state certification.

“I couldn’t think of a better person to promote than Jason Sakelarios to captain,” Reynolds said.

The chief later said that out of 32 officers on at the RHPD, eight have bachelor’s degrees, two have master’s degrees and four have associate degrees — a ratio that he said was “pretty awesome.”

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