If it’s old, it’s no good: tear it down! Despite Alfred Willis saying the Nichols House was not just historic like he presented in his October 1st lecture, but perhaps the most historic, a lawyer spoke against it, and the Valdosta City Council voted against preserving it and thus in favor of demolishing it for the Turner Brooks subdivision next to VSU. Only Council Robert Yost, in whose district the Nichols House remains for the moment, voted for preserving it. We’re told the water issues noted by WWALS for that subdivision are permitting issues, so we’ll see what happens with those. See also Alfred Willis’ comments to the Valdosta Historic Preservation Commission.
See the agenda. Here are videos of events as they transpired at the 23 October 2014 Regular Session of the Valdosta City Council.
- Call to Order, Invocation, Pledge
- Minutes for Approval
3.a. Public Hearing: CU-2014-08 Scintilla Charter Academy
Video. They tabled it last time because (I hear) there was confusion that a vote for might be considered a vote for the charter school, when it’s really only a vote for the conditional use, the charter school being approved by the state charter school committee, itself approved by the Walton Family-backed state constitutional amendment of 2012. Council unanimously approved the conditional use.
3.b. Nichols House HPC- 2014-63 – staff
Video. Staff presentation had plenty of pictures and maps.
3.b. Nichols House HPC- 2014-63 – (pro and con)
Video. Council Yost asked if the house would retain its value if it was picked up and moved elsewhere. Alfred Willis said it would retain a great deal of value, but it would lose value because it was designed for that specific site.
The attorney against is an alumnus of the fraternity that until recently occupied the house. He seemed to think everybody knew who he was, but I couldn’t catch his name.
- 3.b. Nichols House HPC- 2014-63 – con – continued
3.b. Nichols House HPC- 2014-63 – council discussion
Video. Council had quite a bit of discussion (14 minutes), including Council James Wright wanting clarification about restrictions on the property if it was designated historic. The city attorney said a historic designation would put some restrictions on the property. But the attorney added that if the city were to be sued, he wasn’t too worried about that. They voted all but one to deny the historic designation anyway.
3.c. Alley Closing btw East MLK and Hudson
Video. Unanimously approved.
4.a. Code of Ordinances (first reading)
Video. Various updates over many years to be actually embedded into “one cohesive coordinated code”, said City Manager Larry Hanson. Unanimously approved.
4.b. Master Lease Agreement with GMA
Video. Unanimously approved.
5.a. Sidewalk on Gordon Street
Video. There was some confusion about whose district. Unanimously approved.
5.b. MOA with GDoT for Lighting on West Hill Ave
Video. For the new overpass on West Hill Avenue. Plan worked out with Georgia Power mostly using existing poles and lights, plus five new poles, around $6500, and a slight increase to monthly lighting bill. GDOT required this memorandum of understanding. Council unanimously voted to authorize Mayor to sign. No mention of the forthcoming conversion to LED streetlights.
6. City Managers Report 7.Council Comments
Video. City Manager Larry Hanson announced, among other things:
- Electronic recycling day coming up, free for everything except TVs ($20 for those): Saturday 15 November 2014, 9AM to 1PM, Mathis Auditorium Parking lot.
- Openings on local board and authorities: apply by 29 October 2014.
- RFP coming up for handling information technology.
Council had a few comments of their own.
8. Citizens to be Heard
Video. They almost forgot this item.
- Dr. Michael Noll of WACE, who said he’d hand Council some information about the Sabal Trail pipeline.
- Yvonne (?) said she’d been there last time asking if taxi meters would be required, and she wanted to know how that was coming. City Manager Larry Hanson had some detail on how they’re looking into that.
Here’s a video playlist:
Videos: Nichols House, Turner Brooks, Scintilla Charter School, sidewalk, street lights
Regular Session, Valdosta City Council (VCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 23 October 2014.