The Richmond Hill City Council met in regular session Tuesday to swear-in a new city council member, recognize city employees, and discuss a unified development ordinance.
Robbie Ward was sworn in as Post 2 council member by Mayor Russ Carpenter before the beginning of the meeting. Ward fills the seat left vacant by former council member Tara Baraniak.
The meeting was busy with personnel recognition. Park and Tree Director Harvey Ashley was recognized for his contributions to the City of Richmond Hill, which includes J.F. Gregory Park.
Then, Police Chief Mitch Shores recognized the efforts of Lt. Brad Sykes to create a training program for Richmond Hill police officers. His wife, Lexy Sykes pinned the promotion from lieutenant to captain on her husband’s lapel. Chief Shores said it is the solid foundation at home that makes a successful officer.
The council heard updates from the fire department, police department, finance department, and public works department.
Assistant City Manager Scott Allison presented a unified development ordinance to the council that has been requested by petition. RJ Reynolds Construction LLC has requested a variance to the Unified Development Code to change the minimum lot and minimum side setbacks. This request is in relation to a property at 326 Carter Street that the company hopes to split into two properties. However, the placement of water and fire hydrants has been a delay because of the right-of-way location. Extending the water line and setback would improve fire protection and water pressure, according to Allison.
Hearing Fire Chief Brenden Greene’s report of the difficulty of fighting a structure fire on Carter Street and the statement from RJ Reynolds Construction, the council opened the public hearing for comments. Hearing no public comments, the council voted to approve the variance request.
Mayor Carpenter said the City of Richmond Hill tried to buy the property last year to extend the setback and improve the water line for fire suppression reasons, but was unable to do so.
Advanced voting for the Post 4 runoff election between Les Fussell and Steve Scholar continues though Wednesday, Nov. 27 at the Wetlands Center in J.F. Gregory Park from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The election is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 3 with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.