On Aug. 3 Forsyth approved a pouring license for beer, wine and malt beverages and a license to sell distilled beverages by the drink for BMK Group LLC. This group, under Lucio Castillo, is opening a Mexican restaurant at 12 W. Main Street, the former location of Bluetick Mercantile Company.
City attorney Bobby Melton said everything on the application was complete. No one spoke either for or against granting the license, and there was no discussion by council before the approval.
Winifred Berry came to council to ask for assistance in getting an absentee property owner on Pinkney Circle to cut trees that are in danger of falling and damaging property at other homes on the street. Berry represented her mother and other neighbors. One large tree fell on July 3 and pushed two other big trees down; the trees narrowly missed causing damage to vehicles and other property.
City manager Janice Hall said the city code enforcement officer sent a letter to the property owner, but there is nothing in the city code that will let the city cut trees on private property even if they are a danger. Hall said Pinkney Circle is narrow and the properties are close to one another.
In addition to the danger from the trees, the vacant lot where they stand is overgrown, making it both unsightly and a health hazard. Berry’s mother and another neighbor have been paying to have the grass cut on the property. However, Hall said this is a dilemma because as long as they keep the property maintained the code enforcement officer can’t cite the property owner for not maintaining the property.
“If we don’t cut the grass, it will be higher than the trees,” said Berry, adding that her mother, who has lived on Pinkney Circle since 1965, wants the neighborhood to look good.
Council member Chris Hewett asked Hall if the city billed the property owner for removing the trees that fell on July 3 blocking the street. Hall said it had not but would do so. Hewett said that will be one way to get the property owner’s attention.
Hall said the code enforcement officer asked if council would consider an ordinance prohibiting panhandling. City council member Greg Goolsby asked if there is a lot of panhandling in Forsyth, and Hall answered, “Yes.”
Hall said Night Market, the event planner with which the city had contracted for once per month concert/vendor events before the COVID-19 shutdown, has informed her it will not plan any events for 2020. The city will try to partner with Night Market for events in 2021.
Hall invited the mayor and council members to a round table discussion with city department heads about what the city has done right and wrong in responding to the COVID pandemic. The meeting of department heads is at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays; Hall said she will advertise the meeting if a quorum of council expresses intention to attend.
Hall said Forsyth received $64,000 from the U.S. CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act.
Hall said Georgia DOT has completed its study of the 4-way stop on Johnston Street. She said there have been three accidents at the intersection since it was made a four-way stop in 2018. DOT will also do a traffic study at Patrol Road and North Frontage Road and will probably recommend changing the speed limit from 45 to 35 and then increasing it to 45 and 55 as it goes out of town. DOT may also study Main Street/Highway 18.
Hall said work on the new city hall building is on schedule to move into the building next March. She said she talked to the project manager who said the walls are poured and are curing. His team has started removing forms and is waiting for steel to come in. She said when the steel arrives it will be easier to see the progress on the building.