Berkeley Lake amends city code

BERKELEY LAKE - City Council members voted to adopt an amendment to the section of the city code which provides for administrative guidelines and procedures.

One topic debated was whether the city's Planning and Zoning Board should meet on a regular basis or at the members' discretion, as is the case currently.

Councilman George Sipe argued that the board members should hold meetings at their own discretion when they deem necessary.

"My view is that (forcing the board members to meet regularly) is the wrong thing to do," Sipe said, adding that out of respect for the planning board members, the council should at least ask for their input on the matter.

Councilwoman Debbie Guthrie said if meetings were held on a monthly basis, as is the case in every other Gwinnett city, business could be handled in a more timely and efficient manner. City Clerk Leigh Threadgill said regularly scheduled meetings tend to address residents' needs in a more responsive manner. When meetings occur regularly, proper preparation is easier, she said.

Guthrie said one case took eight months to resolve, partly because of the Planning and Zoning Board's irregular schedule.

Councilman Bernie Cohen expressed concern over the fact that the Berkeley Lake Conservancy has not met at all in 2007.

The Berkeley Lake Conservancy is the city's environmental planning group, responsible for managing city-owned greenspace and recreation areas as well as applying for governmental funds for these duties and is required to meet once a quarter.

Mayor Lois Salter agreed to look into the matter.

The amendment was adopted, but Guthrie asked that the matter be addressed again at next month's council meeting after board members have given their input to council members.

Public Works prepares stormwater drainage report

Randy Perkins, the chair of the city's Public Works Department, told Salter and the council members that his committee is working on a report about stormwater drainage.

With the county's recently imposed stormwater utility, Gwinnett cities were given the option of preparing this detailed report themselves or having the county prepare it for a fee. Berkeley Lake and most other Gwinnett cities opted to outsource this task for a much lower fee than the county charges.

According to Perkins, however, Berkeley Lake will prepare the report using their own resources after this year.

"This is a considerable task for our small city to take on," said Salter.

The mayor said Grayson, which is the most comparable city to Berkeley Lake, opted "at the last minute" to use the county's services because of the scope of the task.