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Berkeley Lake officials at odds over zoning board appointment

BERKELEY LAKE - Sparks flew Thursday night when Mayor Lois Salter announced her appointment to the city's Planning and Zoning Board Chair. Citing past experience and strong community involvement, Salter named Dan Huntington as her choice for the chairman's new term.

Before the council voted on Salter's choice, councilman George Sipe voiced his disappointment and "sadness" over Salter's failure to reappoint chairman Skip Johnson. Johnson, who has served on the board for 12 years, was "too valuable to lose," said Sipe, who added that the mayor is to get advice and consent from council members before making such an appointment.

"The mayor and Skip are obviously on opposite sides of the political fence," Sipe read from a prepared statement, referencing the fact that the two supported different candidates in the city's last election.

"I made this decision based on much thought and not political consideration," Salter said.

At the end of the discussion, the council voted 3-2 to approve Salter's appointment of Huntington. Councilman Bernie Cohen and Sipe voted against it.

City officials in planning stages of new City Hall

A representative of Urban Collage, the planning firm that had a hand in Suwanee's recent facelift, addressed the City Council on Thursday night with a proposal to assist in planning Berkeley Lake's new City Hall project.

For about $8,000, Urban Collage can facilitate the planning stages of the project, gathering input from the community and coming up with a workable project plan that could then be presented to an architect for the next phase.

Urban Collage was recommended by the city's facilities committee based on research done over the past few months. Cohen, who said he was impressed by Urban Collage's presentation, asked that the facilities committee look at one or two other similar firms for purposes of comparison.

Council to meet once a month

Beginning in March, the City Council will meet once a month on the third Thursday of each month.

Under the approved ordinance amendment, the mayor or three council members can call an additional monthly meeting if necessary.