MARIETTA — The City Council sold property it owns on Roswell Street across from the Big Chicken to the Red Hare Brewing Company.
The council also voted to limit the amount of time buildings can sit boarded up and approved spending tourism funds to appraise properties it’s eyeing for a new tourism center.
In a 7-0 vote, the council approved selling the 1.5 acre property for $465,000.
Red Hare Brewing Company has another location in Marietta on Delk Industrial Boulevard.
Mayor Steve Tumlin said the new location will be a good addition to the community.
“We live in an era where local craft beer is very popular, so having that at one of our main streets that hasn’t had anything for years — we’re very excited about it,” Tumlin said.
Tumlin added he enjoyed having the opportunity to support a local business.
“Red Hare has kind of come out of nowhere. It has just grown in popularity,” Tumlin said. “When you see the can (with the city’s name), it gives us a lot of pride in Marietta.”
City Manager Bill Bruton said the situation worked out well because Red Hare was looking to expand its business and the city was looking to sell a property on 994 Roswell Street it had purchased when it began widening the road.
Red Hare plans to construct a new 25,000 square foot building on the property that will include a brewery and tasting room, according to the purchase agreement approved by the council.
Limiting lifetime of boarded up buildings
The City Council voted 4-3, with Philip Goldstein, Anthony Coleman and Johnny Walker opposed, to approve a new portion of the city’s code limiting the amount of time a building can sit vacant and boarded up.
Buildings could remain boarded up for an unlimited amount of time before, but now, under the proposed portion of the code, there is a limit of up to six months.
After six months of sitting boarded up, city staff will ask the owner to bring the building up to code. If the owner does not want to comply, they can appeal to the City Council, said Brian Binzer, the city’s development services director.
If the owner wishes to appeal the City Council’s orders to comply with the code, he or she can take the issue before a judge, Binzer said.
The judge will decide if the building should be demolished or brought up to code.
“We’re not tearing down someone’s house. That is up to a judge,” said Councilman Stuart Fleming, who spearheaded the change.
Binzer said owners of boarded up buildings will have six months after the code goes into effect, which is expected this week, to register their buildings with the city.
Discussion of the proposal among council members was varied.
Tumlin argued against the ordinance at first because he said it did not allow due process to properties owners.
But, during the meeting, the council agreed to add language that puts the decision of demolishing a building up to a judge, and not to a member of the city government.
“There’s no chance for the government to get overzealous now,” Tumlin said.
Goldstein said he didn’t think all boarded up buildings should be eventually demolished.
“We’re going to knock it down, and you’re left with a slab there,” Goldstein said.
He added the value of a standing building could be higher than that of a vacant lot.
Walker said the new portion of the ordinance needed more work.
“I think there’s ways we can make our code enforcement stronger by making the fines higher and higher,” Walker said.
Coleman said the new code won’t solve the problem.
“You can put in all the ordinances you want, but you’re going to have to get in there and roll up your sleeves and take a proactive approach,” Coleman said.
The City Council also approved spending money to appraise property it is eyeing for a new tourism center, but which properties it is looking at were not specified.
Council voted 6-0 vote, with Goldstein abstaining, to use $2,500 from the tourism fund to appraise a few properties. Tumlin suggested Goldstein’s property at 77 North Park Square, which is an empty lot, could be one property the city appraises.
Goldstein would not specify his reason for abstaining from the vote.