Forsyth tabled its proposed ordinance to change two blocks each of Harris and Kimball Streets to one way after businessman George Emami told council he had only learned of the ordinance that afternoon because someone told him of the notice in The Reporter. Emami has an office and business near the proposed one-way streets that will be affected by the change.
Emami said he was a “little surprised” that he didn’t have more time to process the change since it would affect him and his staff daily. He said he had just signed a 12-month contract for a billboard on I-75 that will be sending patrons the wrong way to get to the parking lot for Fox City Brewery. He said he isn’t opposed to making the streets one-way but would suggest they run opposite of the way the city is proposing.
“There was never an intention for you not to get notice. All property owners were to be notified. We should communicate,” said Mayor Eric Wilson. “We expected input to inform us which direction [the streets should go].”
Emami said he didn’t have time to check with other property owners to see if they got notice. City manager Janice Hall said she didn’t know why Emami didn’t get a notice and asked that council table its planned vote on Oct. 5 until its Oct. 19 meeting. At the Sept. 21 council meeting Hall told council that in addition to the required legal advertisement of the public hearing on the one-way ordinance she would notify all businesses and property owners.
“I’ll be more careful to read ads,” said Emami.
The proposal is to make the portions of Harris and Kimball Streets between East Main Street and Adams Street one way, with Harris running south to north and Kimball running north to south. The streets are on either side of Robins Financial Credit Union. There would be a traffic control sign at the intersection with East Main, which would require DOT approval since it is a state road. Violations of the one-way traffic ordinance would result in city court citations.
“The issue is pulling out into traffic,” said Wilson. “It’s a leap of faith.”
When the ordinance was proposed there was also discussion about the shortage of parking available for customers of businesses, especially on Harris Street.