Thursday, February 12, 2004
The City Planning Commission generally was pleased with plans for an expansion of the city's transit operation center on 13th Street but suggested more landscaping on the east side of the building.
City Transportation Director George Krawzoff proposed a 1,090-square-foot expansion for office space in the front of the building and a 6,300-square-foot expansion for a bus storage bay on the east side.
The plan also allowed for additional parking and 29 trees to be planted in front of the building, at 1463 13th Street. No landscaping improvements were proposed along Lithia Springs Road.
The expansion is expected to cost about $1.1 million, with 80 percent of the funding coming from a federal transportation grant. The grant is for $2.1 million and what is not spent on the project will go toward purchasing more buses, Krawzoff said.
The city already has budgeted its share of the project, Krawzoff said, with hopes of putting the expansion out to bid this spring. City Deputy Manager Wendy DuBord said the goal is to begin building this summer and have the expansion operational by winter.
The expanded storage bay, which would mirror the existing one, could hold 12 full-size buses and six smaller buses.
"A number of buses are parked outdoors and that is bad for the buses, especially in the winter, and it is not good for presentation, either," Krawzoff said.
Another problem with parking outside, Krawzoff said, is that ice blocks form under the buses, making the wheelchair accessible lifts difficult to operate. The expansion would put in heated floors that would melt those ice blocks.
The office space expansion will include a dispatch center, a training room and office space. Right now, training is held in the drivers' break room, Krawzoff said, and offices are in the same room as the dispatch center.
"This is something that is very necessary to keep our system operating as it should," Krawzoff said.
The city started looking for grant funds for the project about three years ago, Krawzoff said, and retained an architect about eight months ago. The original cost of the expansion was estimated to be between $830,000 and $900,000, but the added expense of landscaping and sidewalks bumped the cost closer to $1.1 million.
The city asked for a variance from a landscaping requirement for a10-foot-wide landscaping buffer along Lithia Springs Road. The reason for the request, the city said, is because an automatic irrigation system in that area would be cost prohibitive.
Krawzoff also said the steepness of the road likely would keep drivers from noticing the landscaping, anyway.
Planning Commissioner David Ballinger Jr. asked for trees along Lithia Springs Road, which he thought would help cover the 130-foot-long wall on the east side of the building.
"The landscaping plan needs to be improved and upgraded with more trees," Ballinger said.
In other business, the Planning Commission approved the development plan for Eagle Crest at Steamboat, a 12-unit townhome development in the Eagleridge Subdivision.
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