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Town Council OK’s screening ordinance

PULASKI — It’s been a long time coming, but the Town of Pulaski finally has a screening ordinance to call its own.
The Pulaski Town Council Tuesday night unanimously voted to approve a screening recommendation offered by Pulaski Planning Commission, despite the fact at least one councilman felt the ordinance still needed some work.
In May, the council sent the ordinance proposal back to the planners, saying the height requirements for the screening should be eight feet rather than six feet and that the ordinance should be extended to include salvage yards, junk yards and recycling uses in the Industrial (I-2) District.
The planners agreed with the height increase, but not expanding the screening ordinance beyond the B-1, B-2 and B-3 zoning districts.
“The commission was concerned over an arbitrary imposition of requirements on certain businesses in the I-2 District. Additional concerns were possible issues such as grandfathering of existing, affected businesses and cost to businesses,” Assistant Town Manager David Quesenberry said of the planners’ reason for rejecting the zoning district suggestion.
“I don’t think it was arbitrary,” Mayor Charles Wade said.
Councilman Joel Burchett Jr. agreed with Wade.
“We might as well not do it in any (zoning district) if we’re not going to do it in I-2,” he said.
Councilman and Mayor-elect Jeff Worrell suggested council go ahead and adopt the ordinance and then work out any potential flaws later.
“If it’s not perfect, we can go back and correct it if we need to. We’ve been batting this around long enough,” Worrell said.
Councilman Dave Clark said he thinks some businesses in the I-2 District already have plans to install screening regardless of the ordinance.
Asked whether businesses would be subject to grandfathering under the ordinance, Town Attorney David Warburton said while screening isn’t a zoning issue, it could be a safety issue, and “safety regulations apply regardless of grandfathering.” As an example, he said it is a violation of town safety codes to have an open swimming pool (such as one that doesn’t have a cover or a fenced enclosure).
However, Warburton said the conversation he heard from the Town Council “sounds more like aesthetics” than a safety issue.
Burchett made a motion to approve the ordinance with the inclusion of the specified businesses in the I-2 District.

When the motion died from lack of a second, Worrell made a motion to approve the ordinance as proposed by the planners. After a second from Dan Talbert Jr., the Council approved the motion 6-0.
It was January 2007 when the Town Council instructed the staff to define “screening” before the proposed ordinance was approved because it would be difficult to enforce the ordinance if some definitions weren’t in place.
Wade said failing to define screening would be like an ordinance prohibiting a lawn from exceeding a certain height without defining how the reduced height must be achieved. As an example, he suggested someone could drive over the grass to flatten it down so it’s not too tall anymore.
Since that time ordinance proposals have been batted back and forth between the planners and council numerous times, defining several terms along the way.
The purpose of the ordinance is to require commercial establishments to hide unsightly storage from public view.
The last definition that had to be defined was “substantial.”
Planning Commission Chairman Nick Glenn suggested in March that the word “substantial” be added to language describing the type of screening required because of concern someone could throw a tarp over a clothesline to meet the ordinance requirements.

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Town Council OK’s screening ordinance

PULASKI — It’s been a long time coming, but the Town of Pulaski finally has a screening ordinance to call its own.
The Pulaski Town Council Tuesday night unanimously voted to approve a screening recommendation offered by Pulaski Planning Commission, despite the fact at least one councilman felt the ordinance still needed some work.
In May, the council sent the ordinance proposal back to the planners, saying the height requirements for the screening should be eight feet rather than six feet and that the ordinance should be extended to include salvage yards, junk yards and recycling uses in the Industrial (I-2) District.
The planners agreed with the height increase, but not expanding the screening ordinance beyond the B-1, B-2 and B-3 zoning districts.
“The commission was concerned over an arbitrary imposition of requirements on certain businesses in the I-2 District. Additional concerns were possible issues such as grandfathering of existing, affected businesses and cost to businesses,” Assistant Town Manager David Quesenberry said of the planners’ reason for rejecting the zoning district suggestion.
“I don’t think it was arbitrary,” Mayor Charles Wade said.
Councilman Joel Burchett Jr. agreed with Wade.
“We might as well not do it in any (zoning district) if we’re not going to do it in I-2,” he said.
Councilman and Mayor-elect Jeff Worrell suggested council go ahead and adopt the ordinance and then work out any potential flaws later.
“If it’s not perfect, we can go back and correct it if we need to. We’ve been batting this around long enough,” Worrell said.
Councilman Dave Clark said he thinks some businesses in the I-2 District already have plans to install screening regardless of the ordinance.
Asked whether businesses would be subject to grandfathering under the ordinance, Town Attorney David Warburton said while screening isn’t a zoning issue, it could be a safety issue, and “safety regulations apply regardless of grandfathering.” As an example, he said it is a violation of town safety codes to have an open swimming pool (such as one that doesn’t have a cover or a fenced enclosure).
However, Warburton said the conversation he heard from the Town Council “sounds more like aesthetics” than a safety issue.
Burchett made a motion to approve the ordinance with the inclusion of the specified businesses in the I-2 District.

When the motion died from lack of a second, Worrell made a motion to approve the ordinance as proposed by the planners. After a second from Dan Talbert Jr., the Council approved the motion 6-0.
It was January 2007 when the Town Council instructed the staff to define “screening” before the proposed ordinance was approved because it would be difficult to enforce the ordinance if some definitions weren’t in place.
Wade said failing to define screening would be like an ordinance prohibiting a lawn from exceeding a certain height without defining how the reduced height must be achieved. As an example, he suggested someone could drive over the grass to flatten it down so it’s not too tall anymore.
Since that time ordinance proposals have been batted back and forth between the planners and council numerous times, defining several terms along the way.
The purpose of the ordinance is to require commercial establishments to hide unsightly storage from public view.
The last definition that had to be defined was “substantial.”
Planning Commission Chairman Nick Glenn suggested in March that the word “substantial” be added to language describing the type of screening required because of concern someone could throw a tarp over a clothesline to meet the ordinance requirements.

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