When the Glennville Downtown Development Authority (DDA) met for a meeting on Friday, October 27, 2023, at 8 a.m., the only item on the agenda was the "discussion/approval of removing the 'lean to' structure beside Sweet Pea's/Subway parking lot. Zuber Malek built this structure without approval, and until the proper processes are followed, the structure will remain dismantled."
DDA Chairman Luke Burkhalter pointed out that Malek had built this structure without the securing of DDA approval and subsequent approval by the council, which is required. He was instructed by a vote of the members present to dismantle it, submit a design to the DDA, and then secure approval from the council. Malek was at the meeting and said he would comply.
"The issue is that there are consequences and repercussions if you go outside the rules," said Burkhalter. "Let your carpenter dismantle it and then you can put it back in place after your design and building permit have been approved."
Malek had added the slatted covering of boards, referred to as a pergola, to the side to the Sweet Pea's building (whose side is to the Subway parking lot) so as to provide a partially covered seating area for owner Elizabeth Porter Kennedy's customers to Sweet Pea's.
The design of any renovations/attachments and signage in the downtown area must be submitted to the DDA. Then the DDA will then make a recommendation to the city council to approve or disapprove the request. At this time, the person making the request, once the project has been approved, will visit City Hall to purchase a building permit. The building permit can be obtained first, but the renovations/attachments design must be presented to the DDA and then submitted to the council, based on their recommendation, before any construction/attachments can be made.
The downtown business area, according to the Glennville City Code Sec. 42-201, refers to "the area of Barnard Street from U.S. 301 (Veterans Boulevard) to Tillman Street to include alleys, (one block) to the north and south of said area excluding U.S. 301."
Malek pointed out that a business across the street had replaced several windows a few weeks ago, and he questioned whether the procedures for the renovations had been followed, which City Code Enforcement Officer Billy Conley replied that the business owner had not done so. Chairman Burkhalter replied that it had not even occurred to him when this renovation was ongoing.
Conley further pointed out that these downtown businesses were not supposed to have a sign in their display windows other than the items or services they were selling in the shop, and he added that this included the political signs that were in place in several of the places of business of the DDA members. Although it did not come to a vote, the members affected commented that they would remove the signs, and then would further clarify the wording of signage at the next DDA meeting on Friday, November 3, at 8 a.m. in the City Hall Conference Room, and all DDA meetings are open to the public.
Glennville City Code Sec. 42-222 Signage (c). All planned signage for downtown area must be reviewed and recommended by the Downtown Development Authority prior to approval of the city.
Conley pointed out that the DDA members themselves had not always followed the proper procedures in place. He pointed out how they were targeting one thing but overlooking others.
DDA members present at the meeting in addition to Chairman Burkhalter included Jennifer Bland, Carol Watters, Stacey Berry, Salena Rentz, Marc Nobles, and Jessica Mitchell.