Hogansville council debates dentist office decision

Published 6:25 pm Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Hogansville had a full house at its council meeting on Monday night.

The meeting started on a positive note, with Scott Landa, executive director of Keep Troup Beautiful, applauding the town and community for its participation in The Great American Clean Up.

“We totaled over 32,000 pounds of litter and debris captured from March 22 to about May 15,” Landa said.

“Hogansville has really stepped up to the plate. The City of Hogansville was the biggest contributor to it, so the board of the directors decided we want to recognize the city for their efforts.”

Landa presented the council with a first-place award and vice-versa the council presented Landa with a check for Keep Troup Beautiful.

The meeting continued with positivity as natural gas manager, Ryan “Boots” Diaz, was recognized for his hard work and dedication to the city.

“The Public Service Commission paid us a visit and were on site to do a distribution integrity management plan and also a public awareness plan,” said City Manager David Milliron. “It is with great pleasure that I say the Public Service Commission not only applauded the city but returned their paperwork with zero issues identified.”

The mood changed when the Hogansville Preservation Commission presented a staff recommendation for a request from the new Childress Dental business in the city.

The commission acted on a certificate of appropriateness and granted it to the business on several conditions in a meeting in July. The dentist office appealed one of those stipulations and requested to paint the historic brick on the building to uniform the office.

“It is up to the council to take action of the particular recommendation,” Milliron said.

Mayor Pro-Tem Theresa Strickland presented photos from the building and stated that the building looks like there is currently three different bricks.

“I think as far as historical value it is gone,” Strickland said. “But as a business standpoint, we ask for business and my frustration is we have a new business, and we need to cooperate with them.”

Strickland pointed out that the building would not be uniform with the bank and surrounding houses if it’s not painted. 

“We should be appreciative they decided to come,” Strickland said.

Sheri Matternick-Jones, a board member of the preservation committee, presented an opposing argument.

“We’ve got a building that is over a 100-years-old and by painting it we are disseminating any historic value to that building,” Jones said. “We have over 35 buildings, just in the historic district of the downtown area, that are unpainted brick. Once it is painted, there are 100 years of history that will disappear.” 

Dr. George Childress and Dr. Meredith Gardner presented reasons on why they believe they should be able to paint their building.

“We have had four different meetings [with the preservation society] and at each meeting we have been told something different,” Gardner said.

After going over ADA guidelines and being told where they were allowed to install a parking lot, Gardner said that it became clear construction and modifications had to be made to the office building.

“If the brick is not painted then the exterior will have a patchwork appearance,” Gardner said.

Childress questioned why the town would want to risk running out of town a new, successful business.

“I am not mad at you all yet,” Childress said. “We take pride in what we do. I would ask you to respect us and let us do our vision.”

The motion carried to let the dentist office paint the brick of the building.

The council then broke for approximately 30-minutes in a closed session. After returning, the council voted to approve a car allowance for David Milliron and a 6 percent increase in his compensation plan.

Lynne Miller, community development director, presented four USDA loan and grant combos that would help pay for city equipment and construction.

These included two $25,000 grants that would help cover the cost of 12 laptop printers for e-ticketing in police cars, and 18 new handheld radios that would be for both mobile and handheld for the police staff. The other grants presented included a $25,000 grant and a $25,000 loan for the equipment and furnishings of the new city hall building. Lastly, Miller presented a $150,000 low-interest loan for the renovations of the former PNC bank building that will be used for the new Hogansville City Hall.