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City to hike Eastview Cemetery fees

A final resting place in the city-owned East View Cemetery will cost more under a new fee structure approved March 18 by Conyers City Council.

Buying a new plot in the historic, 19th century cemetery at 1127 East View Road will cost the same: $1,000. But grave-digging and burial fees are going up. A full-size grave will run $750, and a small grave $550-both increases of $50.

A cremation internment will cost $350, and a hand-dug grave will run $2,100-both increases of $100.

Councilman Chris Bowen said the new fees are mainly passing along increases from the city's contractor that does the burial work.

The decision led to some morbid joking among council members, with Bowen adding, "We're doing this to keep from going into the hole."


In other council business:

-The council made some tweaks to the zoning code. But it continued to be bedeviled by another zoning issue: the attempt to allow a well-liked trailer-selling business to make a prohibited expansion.

One simple zoning change was permitting contractor's offices that have no on-site equipment to operate by right within many zoning districts. City Planning Director Marvin Flanigan told the News that was in response to contractors doing business in various parts of town, such as Commercial Drive. Another change was tweaking the "outdoor storage" and "outdoor display" codes, mostly to clarify its definitions.

But there was still no simple solution for Rockland Cargo Equipment at 1532 Old McDonough Highway. The business is a non-conforming use grandfathered into the Gateway Village rezoning carried out in 2012. Rockland Cargo wants to expand into a half-acre parking lot, a move owner Ronald Ayers has said is necessary for its survival. But expanding a non-conforming use is virtually never allowed.

The council has worked for months on a potential solution, while also expressing fears about creating loopholes and unintended consequences. Similar concerns led the council to table the latest proposal for more discussion.

The current idea is to insert the category "utility trailer dealers" as a permitted "special use" within the Gateway Village zoning usage table. The idea was approved by the Conyers-Rockdale Planning Commission on March 12. But the council expressed concerns about opening a can of worms for other types of businesses that are also "special uses." And Flanigan later told the News that there could be another issue: the Gateway Village code requires that all allowed uses be spelled out, not just show up on the use table.

"I think about the ‘what-ifs,'" said Councilman Vince Evans.

Mayor Randy Mills said that trying to accommodate the business is "a squirrely deal at best." Any solution has to be focused on Rockland Cargo's predicament and have a "crystal-clear understanding" of how it would work for both sides, he said.

-The council approved a lease agreement for three new street lights outside the Way of Yah Synagogue of Yeshua. The religious organization will pay for the installation of the LED lights, and the City of Conyers will pay the monthly power charge, estimated at $57.

-The council approved a beer, wine and liquor consumption on premises license for Coaxum's Low Country Cuisine (application Harry L. Coaxum/Coaxum Restaurant Group LLC) at 1300 Iris Drive.

-Evans announced that the city's year-old film policy has been tweaked to discourage Hollywood productions from closing down streets and parking spaces, especially in Old Towne, for prolonged periods. It includes higher fees for street closures during business hours, and such limits as not closing a street for two days in a row.

-Jill Miller, event manager for the Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival, announced that last year's festival won two awards last month from the Southeast Festival and Events Association. They included a Silver Award for best children's programming and a Bronze Award for best T-shirt. This year's festival is slated for March 21 and 22 at the Georgia International Horse Park.

-Mayor Mills issued a proclamation to leaders of local Rotary Clubs, declaring March 17 to have been "Rotary Day" in Conyers.

-Following the meeting, the council entered executive session to discuss "potential litigation," according to City Manager Tony Lucas.