The City of Benton Community Services Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday October 10th, 2023, immediately following the Parks Committee meeting which begins at 5pm. The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers at the Benton Municipal Complex.
June 14th, 2022
Chair – Evelyn Reed
Vice Chair – Ann Spencer-Cole
Staff Liaison – John Parton, Director of Community Development
- Establish a Quorum / Call to Order
- Recognition of Attendees
- Approval of September 12th, 2023 minutes
- New Business
A. Discussion/Review of Proposed Condemnations
- 916 Ridge Rd
- 1815 Sorrell Rd
- 914 Banner St
- Old Business
Previous Meeting Minutes
COMMUNITY SERVICES MINUTES September 12th, 2023
Council Member Ann Spencer Cole
Council Member Jeff Hamm
Council Member Judd Hart
Council Member Frank Baptist
John Parton, Community Development Director Tom Farmer, Mayor
Council Members present:
Council Member Jeff Hamm Council Member Steve Brown Council Member Judd Hart Council Member Jeff Morrow Council Member Shane Knight Council Member Frank Baptist
Council Member Ann Spencer Cole, filling in for Council Chair Reed, declares a quorum and calls the meeting to order. Introductions are made around the room. Council Chair Cole made a motion to entertain approval of the August 15th minutes, Council member Jeff Hamm made a motion, Council member Judd Hart seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Community Services Agenda:
ITEM A – NEW BUSINESS
DISCUSSION AND APPROVAL OF THE NOMINATION VACANCY ON THE HISTORIC DISTRICT COMMISSION
Community Services Director, John Parton stated that there is a vacancy on the Historic District Commission. Ms. Hogue had reached out and asked what the process to be on the commission was and if there were any openings. She was asked to submit a letter of interest which was done and presented to the council along with a resolution nominating her. Ms. Hogue is personally vested in the district, has several properties and also lives in the HDC. Council member Judd Hart made a motion to approve, Council member Shane Knight seconded the motion. Motion carries.
ITEM B – OLD BUSINESS
ITEM C – PLANNING COMMISSISON/TOWN HALL/CONDEMNATION REPORT
Mr. Parton advised that the last town hall meeting will be held Tuesday, September 19th. Attendance at the town halls has gradually picked up.
Alderman Baptist asked for a status report of the 2022 condemnations. Several reports were provided, one being of the liens. The dollar amount includes the cost of the remedy or cleanup. The paid status indicates that we’ve collected on the fees that were charged either for the liens or the city directly. The following page shows the condemnations for 2022. We had 20 total condemnations for the calendar year, of those, 13 have been raised by this point. One that had not been demoed, was sold by the mortgage company and remodeled. A few others had asked for extensions or delays. There are a few on Reed and Dixie that are in a holding pattern. For 2023, there have been 15 approved by council condemnations, of those, 4 have been raised.
Council Member Baptist asked with the cost of condemnations and such if we were in line with our budget. Mr. Parton stated that he’d sat down with the CFO, Mandy Spicer and said that we’re basically where we expected to be, around 64% within our condemnation budget. Mr. Baptist also brought up the issue about having trouble getting bids for these condemnations and asked if this was still an issue. Mr. Parton replied saying this was part of the delay but that it had picked up a little bit.
Mr. David Godfrey and Heather Newsom approached the podium. They live off of Heights Road. They’re concern is a church (GracePoint) in their area that for about 3 hours on Sunday and Wednesday nights they’re playing their music loudly. They state that they live about 3 blocks away and when the music is playing, it sounds like it’s right next door. They’d like to know if something can be done about this. Mr. Godfrey said he has spoken with the preacher of the church and was told that there is no insulation in the walls. Mrs. Newsom stated that this is her families land and her relatives have lived on this land for 60 plus years. She said they were really surprised to learn that the music was coming from the church and she states that when her husband confronted the church about the music, that they weren’t very nice to him saying that “they were a church and no one can make them stop.”
Council Member Shane Knight asked if this was the same facility where their lease was not renewed and they are going to have to relocate in the near future. Mayor Farmer stated yes but that they have 2 years. Council Member Steve Brown said he wanted to clarify the statement that a new sound system was purchased and that there been an increase in the sound noticeably recently. Mr. Godfrey said that in the last 3 months it’s gotten louder and in the last few weeks they’ve started hearing it on Sunday mornings whereas before, they didn’t.
Council Member Judd Hart stated that our Ordinance doesn’t have an overall decibel or noise limit that we could go out and enforce. Mrs. Newsome stated there was an Ordinance that was passed she thinks back in 2007 for peace and quiet on your property but because it’s a church, it’s excluded. Mr. Parton said that at the end of the noise ordinance, it says that the term loud or
disturbing noise does not include sound or noise generated by the following, and #7 on that list is religious worship activities conducted in a permanent structure included but not limited to, bells, chimes and/or organs. This includes regularly scheduled church bells, chimes, or music.
Council Member Knight suggested that the Ordinance be given to City Attorney, Baxter Drennon for review and interpretation to see how it pertains to religious freedoms.
Council Chair Cole asked if there were any other questions or comments from the council or community and there were none.
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