Manila Council approves construction

Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Discussing future condominiums to be built in Manila are, from left, Wes Wagner, city attorney; Dr. Michael Oldham, developer; and Tracey Reinhart, city code enforcement officer. (Town Crier photos/Revis Blaylock)

Manila City Council approved construction of a condominium complex on Olympia Street and a waiver for a house to be built on the corner of Walnut and Dixon Streets at the Dec. 18 meeting.

All council members, Donnie Wagner, Dale Murphy, Jason Baltimore, Wendell Poteet, Steven Milligan and William Barnhart, were present.

Dr. Michael Oldham had made a request at a special meeting on Dec. 11 to build a gated, condominium complex across from the Manila Fire Station. He presented his plans and as is the city's protocol, the council took no action giving citizens time to be informed and the opportunity to comment. The condominiums will be built on six acres.

Mayor Wayne Wagner said the the back gate to the complex would be locked and the entrance will be off Olympia. There should not be an increase in traffic on Davidson Street.

“We think this is positive for the city,” Mayor Wagner said. “We want to see enough growth to attract more retail. The sewer should not have any negative effect on the area.”

Samuel Eugene “Blue” Daniels, a resident on Davidson Street, addressed the council. He said he was interested in what was going on. He commented the new housing in the former Davidson mobile home park is kept up very well. Daniels said everything he heard about the new project he agreed with.

“We appreciate people like you who will come to the council if they have any questions or concerns,” Mayor Wagner said.

Andrew Fleeman asked if this would set new regulations for apartments.

Mayor Wagner said there are no blanket approvals.

Councilman Baltimore said the council considers each request case by case.

“I think there is some confusion and some people think we have a no apartment policy, but that is not the case,” Baltimore said. “Plans must be brought before the council and the plans and location have to be approved.”

Councilman Milligan said he had posted the request of the condominiums on Facebook and had not received any negative comments.

Mayor Wagner said for the last three or four years the biggest problem Manila has is housing. He said, "If you want people to move here, they must have a place."

The council voted unanimously to approve the plans.

Fleeman had addressed the council at last month's meeting with plans to construct a house on a 50'x90' lot he had purchased. He met with code enforcement officer Tracy Reinhart and the owner of the property around the lot. The present ordinance requires 15 feet on each side and 25 feet on the front of the structure. Fleeman said he needed a variance of 10 feet on one side.

Baltimore said if the neighbors are fine with it, he did not see a problem and made the motion to grant the variance. The motion passed unanimously.

Mayor Wagner said city employees will be off Monday and Tuesday for Christmas. The trash pick-up crew wants to work their regular pick-up days on Monday and Tuesday. Wagner said he did not have a problem with it.

Cathy Huddleston, city bookkeeper/treasurer, discussed a budget adjustment needed in the 2017 budget. She said $475,341 in grant money for projects at the airport was added to the budget in anticipation of the work being done this year. The project was not done in 2017 and the budget needs to be corrected. It will be added to the 2018 budget if the project is done.

The council voted to approve a request to appoint Sheila Wattingly to the Manila Housing Authority Board.

The council went into a short executive session but no action was taken and the meeting was adjourned.

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