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BOC Meeting: Replace Those Trees, Approval of City Fire Services

Anis Kapadia, left, and Nizar Lalani

Between the Beer Board meeting and the regular BOC (Board of Commissioners) meeting tonight (2.8.18), two entities were ordered to replace trees felled without a permit and do it expediently.

Link to Beer Board agenda: https://tn-lakeland.civicplus.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/744

Link to BOC agenda: https://tn-lakeland.civicplus.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/743

Anis Kapadia and Nizar Lalani own the Mobile gas station at 3665 Canada Road where mature hardwood trees were “pruned” so extensively last week they must be removed and replaced. They went before the Beer Board tonight for a possible suspension or revocation of their beer permit.

Mike Long who is developing Long Landing on Seed Tick Road faced the BOC about mature trees which were removed from a platted open space with no permit for removal.

Both incidents happened on weekends when City staff was not on duty.

Commissioner Wesley Wright said it is imperative the trees at both areas be planted by March to avoid hot spring and summer days with little rain which could kill the trees.

Mobil gas station

The gas station owners explained they asked their landscaper to trim the trees but didn’t expect such drastic results. They said it was an honest mistake and they are very sorry it happened.

Jim Atkinson, city manager, said the station has two active code violations with the station:

  • Their exterior lighting is not in compliance with City code
  • Tree-toping is not permitted by City code.

Commissioner Matt Wright said planting new trees “… will get us even but they are not close on lighting, stone work and other landscaping.”  He recommended the beer permit be revoked until good solid progress was noted.

Commissioners debated the issue, weighing the men’s remorse and acknowledgement that they have the financial ability to rectify the situation quickly.  Mayor Wyatt Bunker said he was torn about the beer permit.  “I feel like we have to set an example. Enough is enough.  I am encouraged they came here. But we have to give them a rock solid deadline.”

In the end, the suspension or revocation of the beer permit was tabled.  The owners agreed to the following timeline:

  • “Pruned” trees be removed immediately.
  • Stone work on the exterior columns to start Monday
  • A landscaping plan goes to the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) Feb. 15.
  • A lighting plan to the MPC Mar. 15
  • Lights installed Apr. 15
  • If deadlines are not met, the Beer Board will meet again to take action on the beer permit.

Asked about a restaurant to fill the old McDonald’s at the gas station, the men said they have a signed contract with King Jerry Lawler’s Memphis BBQ Company and should know in 30 days if the restauranteur wants the location.

Long Landing

In the matter of trees removed at Long Landing, Mr. Long said the owner of the lot south of his property was having someone clear that land and asked if he (Mr. Long) wanted to use the same contractor. A $1,000 price was mutually agreed with the contractor through email to remove limbs, branches and dead trees.

Mike Long addresses the BOC

“It was a shock to me when I saw it,” said Mr. Long.  “I had no idea it would be to that extent.

Mayor Bunker explained Seed Tick Road is a scenic corridor and the Long Landing property adjoins that Road. “This is a costly mistake. We have to hold you responsible.”

Arborist Eric Bridges was consulted by the City on a plan for tree replacement, said Mr. Atkinson.  He expects the mitigation cost to be $6,000 plus a $600 fine.  Once corrective action is taken, his permits to build additional houses in Long Landing will be released.

Fire services

A resolution passed, authorizing a contract with Shelby County for fire services.  Resolution on fire services:  https://lakelandtn.gov/DocumentCenter/View/6908

Link to interlocal:   https://lakelandtn.gov/DocumentCenter/View/6903

Mr. Atkinson estimated the cost on fire services, including some increased funding for salaries, to be just shy of $1.4 million.

Mayor Bunker said the current fire fee is $2.2 million to Shelby County Fire Department. “This has been an extended effort for the Board.  The legislative initiative, time and effort of the commissioners and staff and attorneys.  We are really going to save the citizens in the long term.  Our intent is to phase out the fire fee with no tax increase.”

Operation of the Lakeland Fire Department is to begin July 1, 2019.

Other business

The City has announced a Stonebridge Advisory Council to communicate with residents in those neighborhoods.  Mr. Atkinson said 20 people have indicated an interest to serve and a first meeting should be set in about two weeks.

Boy Scout Tyler Skovdal came to observe the meeting as part of obtaining his last badge needed to be an Eagle Scout. He attends school at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Whiteville, TN.

Tyler Skovdal

One resident addressed the BOC.  Lou Melton asked about a resolution on the agenda dealing with bond issuance by the IDB (Industrial Development Board) for a high school.  She asked if that meant Lakeland could vote.  Vice Mayor Josh Roman said he was not able to answer the question at that time.  The question was about material facts in an ongoing lawsuit against the BOC.

Lou Melton

All items on the consent agenda were approved.

On the regular agenda, everything was approved including final reading on amending the Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget for legal fees and a public relations contract which was also approved.

Commissioner Wesley Wright was appointed as BOC liaison to the MPC.

The resolution repealing a resolution authorizing bond issuance by the IDB was passed. The contemplated transaction was not consummated prior to the Dec. 31, 2017 deadline.

An additional resolution was added to the agenda dealing with a Tennessee Department of Transportation grant which deals with funds for the Canada Road trail south of I-40 and gateway signs at the interchange.  Both should be done this summer. Emily Harrell, city engineer, said there is a change on the timeline from a three to two-year grant.