Smyrna honors Cobb teacher of the year, tables swimming pool application

Cobb County School District Teacher of the Year Jenifer Mitacek accepts city council’s proclamation.

By Arielle Robinson

Smyrna’s City Council began its first meeting of the month by issuing a proclamation in honor of Jenifer Mitacek, who the Cobb County School District announced as its Teacher of the Year back in August.

Mitacek teaches second grade at Argyle Elementary School in Smyrna, where she has taught for five years. She has been a teacher for nine years and has done various work around the community.

Mitacek thanked the council and said it was an “immense honor.”


The city council also honored Blair Berenson for the Eagle Scout Project.

Berenson will soon be an Eagle Scout and is a junior at Campbell High School. He is in Troop 220 in Smyrna, which is based in Life Church.

According to the Atlanta Area Council for Boy Scouts of America’s website, “The rank of Eagle Scout is the highest and most prestigious achievement a Scout can achieve.”

Berenson fundraised for, built, painted, installed, and stocked Little Free Libraries across ten Smyrna parks for his Eagle Scout project. He worked with Smyrna Parks and Recreation Director Richard Garland to do this.

During his mayoral report, Mayor Derek Norton also reminded citizens that this Saturday is Smyrna’s 150th birthday celebration. Events will occur from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and feature various live entertainment. It will end with a fireworks show. For more information on the celebration, check out the city page on it.

Norton also reminded people that the following Saturday, Oct. 15, is the city’s second annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration in front of City Hall. It will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is free. For more information, see the city’s website on this as well.

City council voted unanimously Monday to table a resolution that sought to appeal a denial by the city’s License and Variance Board that would have allowed encroachment into Smyrna’s 75-foot impervious surface area setback to build a 691 square-foot in-ground swimming pool.

The pool would be constructed at 1921 Sadler Drive. Wayne Melnick, the homeowner, appealed the 3-0 decision by the License and Variance Board, leading to the public hearing that occurred Monday.

The original applicant was Eddie Karr of Bellareed Luxury Pools. The License and Variance Board heard the case back in August.

“The property was originally platted in 2006, after the Stream Buffer Ordinance was enacted in 2005, and no mitigation plan has been proposed for the property,” City Administrator Joseph Bennett said. “The hardship is self-created, as the lot of record has existed after the Stream Buffer Protection Ordinance was adopted. Without a mitigation plan to offset any potential effects of the buffer encroachment, staff cannot assume that there would be no negative impacts to adjacent properties if approved. Community Development recommended denial of the 75-foot impervious surface area setback encroachment.”

There was a bit of back and forth between Melnick, Councilmember Tim Gould, and Councilmember Charles Welch on the issue. The proposal is in Gould’s ward.

Norton recommended Melnick go back and work on the details with Gould and city staff, leading to the item being tabled.

To watch the full conversation on this public hearing, skip to minute 24:21 in the meeting’s recording.

City council also unanimously approved its second and final adoption of the charter amendment which approves the city’s redistricting plan.

The city is required to do this every decade after the release of a new census. In this case, Smyrna bases its decennial redistricting process on the 2020 census. Districts should have about the same population sizes.

Wards 1, 2, and 3 will be altered while Wards 4, 5, 6, and 7 will retain the same boundaries.

Councilmembers Glenn Pickens, Latonia Hines, and Travis Lindley of Wards 1, 2, and 3, respectively, will host a joint town hall Tuesday, Oct. 18, in City Hall at 7 p.m. about redistricting.