Sugar Hill Discusses Insect Ordinance, Easements, City Hall Design

SUGAR HILL -- One Sugar Hill community's residents are gaining ease of mind and another's are gaining results from cooperating.

Those were developments at the Sugar Hill City Council's monthly work session Tuesday night, where it discussed an insect ordinance, as well as how neighbors together could achieve variance to build in drainage easements.

The council discussed wording of an insect ordinance to prevent July's hazardous removal of a hornet's nest the size of a five-gallon bucket on the garage door of a vacant home on Under Court. Limited by policy to address such issues on private property, the city felt it prudent to broaden its rodent and mosquito control ordinance to include such insect infestation.

Specifically at issue Tuesday was the initially proposed wording that property be maintained "not to allow, create or be conducive" to such infestation. After thorough discussion, however, the city plans to refine its wording to better stress homeowners' refusal to address such hazards once aware.

But, City Manager Bob Hail warned, "I don't want to do nothing and get in trouble waiting for the perfect wording."

Such an ordinance might assure residents that similar episodes will be addressed before becoming so hazardous and requiring removal by pest control companies.

Separately, the council discussed residents' increasingly frequent requests to build yard structures in drainage easements. The city has long required homeowners to allow it access to the easement area and hold it harmless for damage resulting from its maintenance. But instances like resident Leopoldo Vargas' pending request to complete his fence, gazebo and patio on Daniel Creek Lane were becoming too peculiar for the city's generic written agreement.

The pending solution in Vargas' case is his and neighbors' consent to allow city access, but Sugar Hill's Planning and Development Director Kaipo Awana urged more specific review of such requests individually, perhaps at a fee to property owners.

"The issues have been becoming more unique and too complex to draft an agreement to cover everything," Awana told the council.

Separately, the council discussed likely approval of architect Precision Planning's request for roughly 20 percent more to design city hall on West Broad Street and Temple Drive downtown. In a letter to the city, Precision requested its $404,000 fee be increased to $500,000 because the size of the three-story hall had increased by about 28 percent and its budget from $7.9 million to some $10 million.