Mayor and council approve tennis court illumination amendment

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By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer

Council Member Fred Perriman served as Mayor Pro Tempore during a Madison City Council meeting on Monday, when the council voted to approve a text amendment that would allow tennis court illumination within the city limits.

Permits for tennis court illumination will be approved on a conditional use basis but will require that the proposed illumination be built on lots containing three acres or more, include no more than two tennis courts, not be utilized after 10 p.m., only include lighting structures 50 feet or more from the property line, and be professionally installed for the purpose of eliminating light pollution on neighboring properties.

Ben Windham, attorney for Von and Christy Friesen, who initiated the process of amending the ordinance, expressed his client’s satisfaction with the amendment as approved.

“I think the public interest is served,” said Windham.

Since the amendment only changed the tennis court illumination ordinance and applied to no particular building requests, the Friesens will still have to request a conditional use permit for their tennis court illumination before its use is approved.

The council also approved a setback variance request at 1400 North Fifth Street, reducing the setback to 30 feet. The zoning ordinance for the Heavy Commercial (C5) property would otherwise require a setback of 75 feet.

Madison Planner Bryce Jaeck described the property as “atypical” and explained that other similarly zoned properties in the area already enjoy smaller setbacks.

A request to rezone the property at 1551 Fairgrounds Road from Heavy Commercial (C5) to Light Industrial/Limited Commercial (I-1) was also approved by the council, who had tabled the motion at previous meetings.

Gene Baldwin, who spoke before the council about the property, explained that rezoning the property will facilitate the utilization of the 50,000 square foot building by bringing in a company that will be able to create jobs.

“We’re just wanting to take a proactive approach,” said Baldwin.

According to Baldwin, rezoning the property will increase interest in the building, since the need to undertake the rezoning process could be a deterrent for interested businesses.

Before the vote, Attorney Joe Reitman noted that rezoning the property does not seem to pose any issues.

“I do not see any red flags,” said Reitman.

The council voted to extend the Historic Preservation District (HPD) to include tax parcels M08B 001 A and M08B 015, which will be the new location of the Central of Georgia depot, once the ongoing Downtown District Authority Depot project is complete.

The affected parcels were not originally included in the HPD because they were part of a larger plot that included a trailer park at the time, stated Preservation Planner Ken Kocher.

The benefit of extending the district will be one of “maintaining historic character” said Kocher, who also stated that the depot, once renovated, will be a “showpiece” of Madison’s HPD.

Callahan stated that grading is currently taking place for the depot project and that the depot should be in its new location by the time of the Madison Fall Ramble in October.

The council also approved a year-end budget amendment for the 2013 fiscal year to reflected an difference of more than $67,000 in the general fund, due to increased expenses relating to LOST, Madison’s Bicentennial book, and Madison’s E-911 service.

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