The prospect of rezoning an area near the current Cherokee Village Animal Shelter, upcoming police training and the introduction of the members of A Better Cherokee Village Steering Committee were the main topics of discussion at Cherokee Village City Council's regular monthly meeting held Aug. 20 at Cherokee Village City Hall.
Prior to moving forward with the council meeting, public comments on items on the agenda were discussed. Alderwoman Verna Mae Newman, moved to have the issue of the planning and zoning request for two "white areas," which include the possible annexation of Big Oak Estates and a 60 acre hunting area into Cherokee Village, moved from unfinished business to new business.
Alderman Peter Martin said council had not adequately discussed the subject, but rather that it was tabled at an earlier meeting. He did not feel that it was in the best interest of the city to move forward on the issue. The remainder of the council, including Cherokee Village Mayor Lloyd Hefley said it had been thoroughly discussed by council and felt no need to put off the issue. The vote to move the item on the agenda to new business was voted on and moved to new business. The agenda was approved by council with the corrections.
Mike Taylor, Cherokee Village Fire Chief, presented his July report to council which included 16 calls, 222 hours of training and two hours of volunteer training. He said he also participated in 32 hours of incident command training. Taylor also told council he was trying to schedule another training session in which other firefighters from the area could attend.
Taylor was also questioned by Alderman Ray Torbitt about a recent fire on Caclan Trace in which there was a lot of talk about an alleged "dry hydrant." Taylor told council that the water company has a record of the testing of the hydrants and assured the council that the hydrant had plenty of water. He said the response time was nine minutes and that Cherokee Village SID pays the water department $174,000 a year to maintain and test the hydrants. He welcomed anyone with questions or concerns to visit the water department if they would like to see the pressure results. Alderman Tom Thone asked about areas where there has been low pressure. Taylor acknowledged that prior to the new system there were some issues, but since the new water system, there has been none. He said, "I have worked for the fire department for over 32 years and have never hooked to a hydrant in Cherokee Village and failed to get water." He also said that there was 500 gallons a minute coming from the hydrant during the Caclan fire.
Ricky Crook, Cherokee Village Police Chief presented his July report to city council including that the department had received their new A radios and said they would be handing down the old ones to part-time officers. He said that Officer Tamara Taylor would begin training in Pocahontas and said he and Officer Richey Thatcher would be participating in training on Internet file sharing and ways to intervene in child pornography. Crook told council that the city did not receive the COPS grant for which they had applied. The Chief was proud to announce the police department's membership in the ROCIC program, a program which allows equipment sharing between other police departments who are members. Crook also said they offer the department free technical assistance that helps with cell phone record subpoenas. He said the organization has standing agreements with all cell phone service providers and he said this saves a lot of time retrieving vital records and will be a great benefit to the city.
Crook also presented the animal control department report to council. He said the department logged 535 volunteer hours in July and had 30 surrenders, 24 adoptions, 16 animals were transported and 12 are scheduled for transport to new homes. He also said an area resident donated a building to the facility to store pet food. He said he is currently getting estimates on repainting the sign to reflect the new name of Cherokee Village Animal Shelter.
David Crain, Cherokee Village Road and Street Superintendent told council that the Federal Emergency Management Association had extended the time frame for which to submit reimbursement invoices until February 2010 from the ice storm. He also told council that the first of the employees whose wages will be paid for through a grant has began work. He also said the department was working on adding the word "Caution" to the signs for golf carts. Crain said the department has advertised for bids to be submitted for the resealing and hot mix for Cherokee Road and Pontiac. The bids are due Sept. 2.
Jerry Adams, with Planning and Zoning read his report to council. Adams said there were 221 residential remodels permits issued in July, three new construction permits, 25 HVAC and 21 septic for a total of 290. He also said there were 59 roofing tear-off permits and 18 layover permits issued for at total of 77.
Alderman Lynn Maxedon introduced the council to the members of A Better Cherokee Village (ABCV) steering committee. Members include Jason Rhodes, Laurence Bronson, Pat Sasfai, Tracy Webb and Lynn Maxedon. The group's tasks include planning for the next 20 years including such things as conducting a needs assessment, creating a vision statement and creating a community blueprint. Maxedon also announced the new e-mail account set up for the public to share their thoughts and ideas. The e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. He said that while the public is welcome to submit their ideas and concerns, only those e-mails with names included will be considered.
In unfinished business, Adams presented a cover letter to council for the rezoning of the area near the current animal shelter as agricultural. Because owners of land near the facility were not notified of the meeting, following the advice of City Attorney Jon Abel, council agreed to postpone the item until owners could be contacted.
In new business, the planning and zoning request for two "white areas" was discussed. Alderwoman Newman proposed a public hearing on the issue and the sending out of certified letters as required by law. The hearing gives those citizens who could potentially be affected by the annexation to be present and voice their concerns to council.
Council voted to set the hearing for Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. and for letters to arrive by Sept. 28. Abel advised council to mail the letters immediately.
In other new business a temporary use permit was issued to the Lions Club. The permit was for White Cane Days to be held Oct. 1-2 at the corner of Okmulgee Drive and Iroquois Drive. Several city council members were concerned with cars starting and stopping at these two busy intersections. Crook agreed it wasn't safe, but the Lion's Club said they had done this fundraiser in the past. The council agreed to issue the temporary use permit under the stipulation the club would post advance warning signs. The Lion's Club was also issued a second temporary special use permit for an upcoming carnival to be held Sept. 3-6 at Choctaw Center from 5-11 p.m.
The next meeting of the Cherokee Village City Council is scheduled for Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. at Cherokee Village City Hall.