Marietta City Council Approves Crisis Response Canine Program, New “No Parking” Signs, and More

Exterior of Marietta City Hall. Red brick modern building

By Emma Buker

The Marietta City Council unanimously approved multiple agenda items during the eight committee meetings held Wednesday at City Hall.

During the Public Safety Committee discussion when police Chief Marty Ferrell proposed the Crisis Response Facility Canine Program.

The program is a collaborative effort between the school system and the police department, introducing a specially trained police dog who will primarily be used in elementary schools to provide emotional support to children in crisis. Ferrell said that the dog is a 1-year-old black Labrador retriever named Barney.

“This is fully funded by the school system through a foundation, no cost at all to the police department in our city,” Ferrell said.

Chief Ferrell said that the dog likely has a work expectancy of approximately 10 years. The school may have the option to negotiate bringing in a new dog before Barney retires.

“Everything about this is good,” said Mayor Steve Tumlin. The council unanimously approved the program.

Later in the meeting, the Public Works Committee considered a request from the sanitation department regarding issues it has experienced with street parking.

“We’ve had some conflicts with people parking along the street and we cannot get our sanitation trucks down the street in order to service the residents along the street,” said Mark Rice, the director of public works. “Our request is to install ‘No Parking’ along the north side of Ramona Street which is where the sidewalk is in order to allow us to have access when we park our sanitation trucks there.”

The estimated cost of this project is expected to be $500. Ramona Street runs from Fairground Street over to Allgood Road.

The committee unanimously approved the motion. Rice said that the department would give residents a notice before the installation of the signs begins.

A representative with the Marietta History Center made her annual request to the committee about a large removal of artifacts from the center’s collection. Christa McCay, the collections manager at the MHC, said that the request is to remove over 400 items.

When asked by the council what the museum plans to do with the removed items, McCay said that items will be sold at the Marietta History Center’s yard sale in June.

“There are a couple of items that you’ll notice it does say ‘destroy’, those are newspapers,” McCay said. “All those newspapers are available digitally and newspapers inherently are made out of really acidic papers and they’re awful for the environment. It wouldn’t be worth it to sell them.”

The artifact removal request was unanimously approved by the Judicial Legislative Committee. McCay said that the yard sale will likely take place on the first Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of June.

Not every agenda item was approved at the meeting. The Judicial Legislative Committee debated over a code amendment to Section 710.04, a zoning ordinance regarding fences and walls. The law currently requires that the finished side of a fence face the exterior of the neighbor’s property in all cases.

A citizen recently argued that the wording of the ordinance was unclear, an argument which was held up in civil court, so the council members reviewed the new definition of what the law considers a finished fence.

The example provided in the law was a wooden picket fence. Councilwoman Cheryl Richardson expressed concerns over the limited examples of fences provided in the law.

“Are we only doing it for this kind of fence,” Councilwoman Richardson said. “I mean, I have chain-link, so are the poles on the inside or the outside?”

Councilwoman Richardson motioned the committee to move discussing this law forward to the Agenda Work Session so that the council could fully discuss what other types of fences need to be included in the updated law to avoid future conflicts.

The next Marietta City Council Committee Meetings will be held at 5:15 p.m. on April 25 at the Marietta City Hall.

Emma Buker is a student at Kennesaw State University.