City Council Meeting 11-5-2020



Thursday, November 5, 2020

Via Zoom

Officials Present by Teleconference

Mayor:              Awet Eyasu
Council:            Jamie Carroll, Ahmed Hassan,

Debra Johnson

City Manager:   Robin I. Gomez
City Clerk:        Tracy Ashby
City Attorney:  Stephen Quinn


Present: Jamie Carroll, Debra Johnson, Ahmed Hassan, Awet Eyasu

Absent: Laura Hopkins



C1) Approve Minutes: Council Meeting 10/6/2020 and Executive Session 10/27/2020

Ahmed Hassan made a motion to approve the minutes for the Council Meeting 10/6/2020 and Executive Session 10/27/2020.  Debra Johnson seconded the motion. Vote was called and the motion carried (4, 0).


1)  Planning & Zoning Report
Shawanna Qawiy provided an update of ongoing projects in the city. She advised that November 20th is the deadline for submission of Zoning Rewrite proposals and to date no proposal have been submitted. The Planning and Zoning Board will meet on November 17 to discuss calendar and expiring terms.


2)  City Manager’s Report
Mr. Gomez discussed the special election unofficial results and the planned swearing in once the results are certified. He reported on clean up from the storm and Georgia Powers efforts to restore power to residents. He provided a budget to actual report through October 31, 2020 and he discussed the 2021 Budget adoption process.  He provided the status of City and community operations during continued Covid issues.


   3)  City Attorney’s Report
No report

4) Council Remarks
Jamie Carroll thanked the City Clerk and the poll workers for the special election and he congratulated Mayor elect Beverly Burks. He thanked YT Bell for her candidacy in the election.


   Debra Johnson thanked the City Manager and the Vice Mayor for their support and the plaque recognizing the community service of the young man who recently passed.  She discussed the success of the first Candlelight Vigil held for Domestic Violence Awareness on October 17th .


   5)  Mayor’s Report

   Vice Mayor Eyasu stated October had been a busy month. He congratulated both candidates for Mayor and he stated he looked forward to working with Beverly Burks. He gave appreciation for being able to serve as acting Mayor since March. He provided details of attended meetings during the previous month resident noise complaint, substance abuse meeting, Early Learning Task Force, the Candlelight Vigil for Domestic Violence, Metro Atlanta Mayors meeting,  and attend the funeral of young man active in the Clarkston food drives.

Any member of the public may address the Council, during the time allotted for public comment. Each attendee will be allowed 3 minutes for comments at the discretion of the Presiding Officer. The public comment period will be limited to 40 minutes and it is not a time for dialogue. If your public comment contains a series of questions, please submit those to the City Clerk in writing. This will facilitate follow-up by the council or staff. The City Council desires to allow an opportunity for public comment; however, the business of the City must proceed in an orderly, timely manner.


The Vice Mayor read comment policy

Speakers who signed up for public comments were recognized:


Brian Medford voiced concerns with the billboard agreement and the laundry zoning change.  He thanked the City Manager and Public Works for their hard work.


 Mr. Benet thanked the city for the after school childcare approved at the last meeting.


Kathleen Connors spoke Well Refugee Center partnership to plant daffodils to in honor of children victims. She addressed concerns with applying for her business license.

Leslie Sloan spoke in support of the Well Refugee Center.


Cameron Kilberg spoke on their new business GoPuff.


Angela Moore spoke in support of the childcare funds provided by the CRES Act.


Roberta Malvienda spoke in support of the CARES Act funding for childcare.


Pupu Pweh spoke in support of the center and the assistance they provide.


Ms. Ansley spoke on issues with flood damage and renting in a flood zone.


Kern Kautious (Ponce Sports) spoke on the clean air act and consideration to allow hookah at an earlier time.


Tesfamarian spoke in support of adopting the grandfather clean air act ordinance and hookah.


Tara Armstrong spoke in support of the two childcares centers and the CARES Act funding proposed.  




G1) Award DeBelle St/Atlanta Area School for the Deaf Stormwater Work bid to the lowest bidder – Leach Landscaping

CM detail the purpose and process of the DeBelle Street/Atlanta Area School for the Deaf Stormwater Improvement Project to the low bid presented by Leach Landscaping in the amount of $419,474.00.


Debra Johnson made a motion to award DeBelle St/Atlanta Area School for the Deaf Stormwater Work bid to the lowest bidder – Leach Landscaping.  Ahmed Hassan seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (4, 0).   


G2) Approve Extending the Sunset Clause of the Clean Indoor Air Act to Certain Grandfathered Businesses

Mr. Gomez stated the item addresses Extending the Sunset Clause the previously adopted Ordinance 421 that extended the Temporary Grandfathering of Certain Establishments until December 31, 2020, and added a new section titled Hookah Licenses for Restaurants allowing for hookah smoking in restaurants that obtained a license no later than July 2, 2018.


The proposed ordinance would permanently extend the grandfathering provisions at the following locations:

A. “Qualified adult entertainment establishments” recognized pursuant to City Code § 2.5-31;  and

B.  Restaurants holding a “hookah permit” pursuant to City Code § 10-79.


Additionally, restaurants that obtained a hookah permit prior to July 2, 2018, may continue to obtain an

annual hookah smoking permit by December 31 by completing an application and playing a regulatory

permit fee of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00). The restaurants must also comply with various other regulations including that no other type of smoking is allowed and no person under the age of 18 years old is permitted inside the establishment at any time.


Jamie Carroll made a motion approve the ordinance extending the Sunset Clause of the Clean Indoor Air Act to Certain Grandfathered Businesses.  Awet Eyasu seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (3-Yes: Carroll, Hassan, Eyasu, 1-No; Debra Johnson).  


G3) Approve Providing CARES Act (Coronavirus Relief) Funding for Continued COVID-19 Testing

The Vice Mayor stated the city wanted to extend the use of CARES Act Funds assistance for Covid testing in the City. He advised the City had received requests from Ethne Health, CORE and IRC and that he proposed the City consider provide funding of $20,000 to Ethne Health for testing, $40,000 to CORE for testing and $40,000 to IRC for food distribution.


The City Attorney stated he has prepared a memorandum of understanding that provides for reimbursement that the City Manager can sign.  It defines the amounts the City Council had approved for this purpose and the organizations will provided receipts to be turned into the City to receive reimbursement.  In keeping with what DeKalb County had done, he included 20% for administration costs to be approved.  Once participants provide receipts they will be reimbursed.


Representatives of the organizations spoke on their operations and the funding request.


Awet Eyasu made a motion approve CARES Act funding up to $20,000 for Ethne Health, up to $40,000 to IRC and up to $40,000 to CORE for a total amount of $100,000.  Debra Johnson seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (vote 4, 0).


G4) Approve Providing CARES Act (Coronavirus Relief) Funding for Child Care Centers in Clarkston

Awet Eyasu stated he had introduced this request regarding child care centers for $93,590.00 and this item was discussed in-depth at work Session.   


There will be a memorandum of understanding (MOU) created for each participating organization, and then they will submit receipts to be reimbursed.


Debra Johnson made a motion to approve  providing CARES Act (Coronavirus Relief) Funding for Child Care Centers in Clarkston up to $93,590.00  Ahmed Hassan seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (4, 0).


G5)  Amend Appendix A of the City Code Of Ordinances, Article VII– Zoning District Standards – to allow self-service laundry, A/K/A Laundromats, as a Conditional Use Within the NC-1, NC-2 and Industrial Districts

Jamie Carroll stated the text amendment is to permit a laundromat under the conditional use permit criteria

within the NC-1, NC-2, and I, zoning districts if approved.  There are several laundromats in Clarkston, but no zoning lists them as permitted and so if they closed, no one could open a new one.  Based on the number of apartments in Clarkston, it is illogical to not permit for these necessary businesses.  The Planning and Zoning Committee had recommended to deny and to consider this as part of the full zoning rewrite review. Councilman Carroll stated this was a minimal change to consider now and then it can be further reviewed under the zoning rewrite process.


Ms. Qawiy confirmed that the conditional use is not guaranteed, they must applied for and approved by the City.


Jamie Carroll made a motion to approve the text amendment to allow laundromats as a conditional use in

NC-1, NC-2 and Industrial Districts.   Ahmed Hassan seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried ( 4,0 ).


G6)  Review and vote on Settlement Agreement with Railroad Outdoor LLC to allow for the Issuance of a Sign Permit to install One (1) Billboard just inside the West Side of I-285 along Church St.   

The City Attorney stated that the City had received four applications for billboards and one of the City’s objection to the application  was only one sign is allowed within 1000 feet of another sign as well as residential considerations. The City was threatened with a lawsuit and the Council indicated a willingness to settle on one sign on the west side of I-285.  Mr. Quinn negotiated a legal document with the applicant’s attorney and that is the item for the council’s consideration.    


Discussion by Awet Eyasu and the Mr. Quinn that this was not an admittance of any wrongdoing and that the document explicitly states the city believes the denials were appropriate and the ordinances are valid, but we are compromising on one of the four sizes to forego the expense of litigation.


Discussion that the city had several large legal expenses in this year so another potential litigation could be costly for the city and still result in billboard sign being allowed.


Jamie Carroll made a motion to approve the settlement agreement.  Ahmed Hassan seconded the motion.  Jamie Carroll discussed the Council was unanimous in denying the signs but the cost of litigation and the potential to lose in courts was not prudent.  He agreed that the zoning review will address future issues with the zoning codes. Mr. Gomez stated the billboard ordinance is very sound but that doesn’t stop litigation actions. Discussion that the billboard display will be available for posting of emergency notices and possibly city events. The Vote was called and the motion carried (4, 0).


Awet Eyasu discussed the CARES Act funding issues and that they had raised the limit on rent assistance and mortgage and utility assistance and they had provided for retroactive payments for expenses related to utility.



Jamie Carroll made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Awet Eyasu seconded the motion.  A vote was called and the motion carried (4, 0).