July 19, 2001
Mayor Strozier called the meeting to order and Councilman Waller opened it with prayer.
The minutes of the June 21st meeting were reviewed. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Richard Shirah with TLC Communications who provided council with information regarding the placement of an antenna on the water tank. Mr. Shirah stated that the design of the antenna would minimize the problems related to the maintenance of the tank. Mr. Johnson reported that Utility Services provided maintenance on our water tank. Mr. Shirah pointed out that he was completing negotiations with two other sites where Utility Services was maintaining their water tanks and although the restrictions were rather rigid, they had been able to reach agreements on the details of the construction. He pointed out that if necessary, he would work through them to obtain the lease. Mayor Strozier stated that he felt the City would rather deal directly with him on this agreement. The Mayor asked him if the property around our well would be large enough and Mr. Shirah assured him he had visited the site and felt sure they could work within the area that was available. Councilman Johnson asked if there would be only one user and Mr. Shirah stated that it would depend on the other users interested in the site and if their frequencies would allow co-locates close to the existing antenna. Mayor Strozier asked how soon he would needed to know if the City was willing to enter into an agreement and Mr. Shirah stated that he did not need an answer tonight. Attorney Gerard pointed out that he had reviewed the lease agreement and had some items that needed to be addressed. Mayor Strozier suggested Mr. Shirah and Attorney Gerard work out the details of the master lease and report back to council when this matter has been resolved.
Mayor Strozier reported that the City had closed on the property located at the corner of Hwy 80 and Cherry Street at the approved purchase price of $85,000. Councilman Waller made a motion to transfer these funds from the fund balance of previous years and to amend the 2000/2001 budget accordingly. Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that some of the property owners on Cheyenne Road had submitted applications for the rezoning of their property from residential to commercial. The Mayor pointed out that there were about 12 property owners living in this area and stated that he had talked with Mike Wedincamp on this matter several times and had advised him that unless all of the property owners agreed to rezone their property there would be a problem with the requests. If only a few property owners made requests, they could not be approved because this action would be considered spot zoning and would create problems with the tracts that remained residential. There were a couple of property owners present at the meeting and the Mayor advised them that once the property was rezoned commercial, residences would only be allowed as conditional uses. The Mayor advised them there would have to be a 60’ roadway through the property and each tract would have to abut the road. Mayor Strozier encouraged the property owners to get some legal advise on this matter and advised them that it would probably be best to try to sell the property in large tracts, possibly three 20 acres sections, rather than individually. The Mayor stated that one example of this method was the property sold on Wilshire Ave. and Attorney Gerard stated he would check to see how this was handled with the MPC and provide this information to the Mayor.
Council was advised that the cleanup of the property owned by Juni Ricketts on Hwy 80 is nearing completion and Mr. Ricketts has requested a letter from the City reporting that he has complied with the council’s requirements on this matter. However, with the removal of the mobile homes on the property, he no longer has bathroom facilities for the employees. Since he is required to provide these facilities for the employees, Mr. Ricketts should not receive any kind of release from the City until the work has been completed. A letter has been sent to Mr. Ricketts outlining the procedures he needs to follow to obtain a permit for construction of the bathroom facilities and since there is already a grinder pump assigned to this location, the cost would be greatly reduced.
Mayor Strozier reported that he and Recreation Director, Joe Young, had met with two of the four Recreation Executive Board members whose terms expired on June 30, 2001. Letters had been sent to Lorrie Cannon, Ben Rozier, Karen Davidson and Lois Douberly about the meeting, but only Ben Rozier and Karen Davidson attended. The Mayor suggested Ben Rozier and Karen Davidson be reappointed to the board with their terms to end on June 30, 2004. Councilwoman Key made a motion to renew said terms, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the clerk had contact the Census Bureau and the RDC for information concerning the challenging of the 2000 Census figures due to reports that at least eight (8) citizen do not feel they were counted during the recent census. The clerk was advised that there are no provisions in the process for correcting the census figures for undercounts within housing units that appeared on the updated maps. The only errors to be addressed are boundary disputes and housing units or group quarter challenges where entire census tracts were not counted.
As requested by council at the last meeting, Attorney Gerard has prepared an amendment to the City’s “No Smoking” policy to include smokeless tobacco. The original guidelines were adopted as part of the personnel policy, however, in order to enforce the restrictions for both employees and non-employees, Attorney Gerard has prepared an ordinance for council’s consideration. The ordinance follows the same basic restrictions as the policy adopted in April 1990, but is expanded to include use of any tobacco products. The Mayor pointed out that the adoption of the ordinance would allow enforcement of this policy in all city owned facilities and vehicles. After a brief discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve the first reading of said ordinance, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilwoman Key made a motion to dispense with the second reading, Councilman Johnson seconded her motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Tyler then made a motion to adopt the ordinance, Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed an amendment to the City’s Water Conservation Ordinance prepared by Attorney Gerard after last meeting’s discussion concerning restrictions imposed by the state being different than our local ordinance. The ordinance redefines “water shortage” to include periods when the EPD has issued a state-wide notice of water restrictions and which provides for the imposition of the same watering restrictions of the EPD during such water shortage periods. Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve the first reading of the amendment to the ordinance, Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Tuten made a motion to dispense with the second reading, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Waller then made a motion to adopt the amendment to the ordinance. Councilman Rawlins seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented a request from Glenda Sheley at #437 Wallace Circle requesting an extension on the deadline imposed by the council on May 17, 2001 for the removal of the mobile home placed on her property without a permit. Ms. Sheley was given sixty days to have the mobile home removed, but as she states in her request, she has not been able to find a buyer nor has she been able to find anywhere to move the mobile home. Ms. Sheley was unable to attend the council meeting due to preparation for surgery in the morning. Council discussed the request and agreed to allow Ms. Sheley another sixty days to move the mobile home but stressed the importance of having it moved before the end of this extension period. Councilman Tyler made a motion to allow an extension on the removal of the mobile home until September 18, 2001. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Attorney Gerard reported that although some changes have been made to the proposed route of the Cypress Natural Gas natural gas line application, the initial plan to go through portions of the City limits of Bloomingdale remain unchanged. Attorney Gerard stated that the cities of Savannah and Pooler, as well as Chatham County, feel there would be less impact to the area if the route followed the existing power line right of way through Effingham County. Attorney Gerard advised council he would keep them informed of developments as they occurred.
Mayor Strozier presented the Fire Protection Contract between the City of Bloomingdale and the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department for council’s review. The Mayor pointed out that the term of the contract is for one year from July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2002 and the contract amount is $40,000 plus reimbursement for the cost of worker’s compensation. Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve execution of said contract, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. As the Fire Chief of the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department, Councilman Tyler abstained from voting.
Council reviewed a request from Robert Hodges to operate a heating and air conditioning business from his residence located at #902 E. Cregor Street. Although Mr. Hodges does not have his own state license to perform heating and air conditioning contracting work, he has written permission from William Michael Wenz for the use of his license. Mr. Wenz will be the manager of the business. Mr. Hodges plans to use the residence for his office only and states that he understands the restriction that a home occupation license does not allow any outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence. Mayor Strozier advised Mr. Hodges that there could be no evidence of a business being operated from this location including the congregation of employees at the residence and there should only be one vehicle related to the business parked on the property. Mr. Hodges stated he understood these stipulations. Based on Mr. Hodges agreeing to these stipulations, Councilman Waller made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement. Councilwoman Key seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Tyler then made a motion to allow the issuance of the home occupation license to Mr. Hodges for his residence located at #902 E. Cregor Street. Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Robbie Bland who requested council’s consideration of the extension of water service to his property located on Mesa Ave. Mr. Bland is proposing the extension of the water line down “Burnsed (Bragg) Drive” which he states is a 25’ right of way approved years ago. Mayor Strozier informed Mr. Bland that at this time, there would be a problem making any extensions to our water lines due to the problems with our water permit. He also pointed out that we would not be able to extend the lines across private property without the proper easements. The Mayor advised Mr. Bland that if the water tap was made on Conaway Road and he made arrangements the owners to run his service line across private property, we might be able to provide the service. However, the Mayor pointed out that it would probably take a 2” line to have enough water pressure and he would be responsible for the additional cost and the maintenance of a larger water meter. The Mayor also advised Mr. Bland that no one else could tap onto this water service line. After a discussion on the matter, Mayor Strozier asked Councilman Tuten to get with Mr. Bland to see if they could work out the details on providing water to him using this process.
Council was advised that, Builder’s Co-op, Inc., the City’s tenants located at #6 Adams Road have asked that the amount of space they are renting from the City be reduced. They propose renting the back half of the building for $500 per month. If this option is not available, they plan to vacate the premises by July 31, 2001. The Mayor pointed out that if the option was available, the electrical service would have to be separated and a petition should be constructed between the area they will be using and the rest of the building. A meeting was set up for Monday afternoon at 4pm between the Mayor, Councilman Tyler, and the tenant to discuss the matter.
The Planning Commission approved the following recommendations at their July 17, 2001 meeting for presentation to council:
1) The Planning Commission approved a minor subdivision of property owned by Gary Walden on Hiram Road. The City advised Mr. Walden that once the road was paved, council could consider subdivision of the property. Since the paving contract has already been awarded, the minor subdivision could be approved. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the minor subdivision, Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
2) The minor subdivision of property presented by John Holley and Jesse Sparrow on Cregor Street was approved by Planning Commission with the stipulation that the problems with the right of way/easement issues on Cregor Street be resolved before the plat was signed for recording. It was noted that until Cregor Street has been brought up to City standards and accepted by the City, it will not be considered a public right of way and the subdivision of the property couldn’t be approved unless it abuts a public right of way. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the minor subdivision of this property with the stipulations concerning the roadway, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request submitted by Richard Marlowe and Barry Anderson for the recombination of three (3) lots off Pine Barren Road to increase the size of Lot #’s 1 & 2. The recombination of lots where the total number of lots is not increased and the lots are equal to the standards set forth in the ordinance are exempt from the requirements of the subdivision process and can to be approved by the council. After a review of the plat, Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the recombination of these lots, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Mayor Strozier pointed out that it is the City’s understanding that plans are underway to convert the barn located on Lot #1 to living quarters. Since this property is in a flood zone, there will be requirements concerning flood prevention for a dwelling that did not apply when the barn was permitted and these requirements must be met before the structure can be occupied.
The Mayor reported that the City has received a request from Billy Swinson for the cost to repair a dent in his vehicle he reported had been struck by a rock thrown from under the City mower cutting grass along Hwy 80. Mr. Swinson has submitted two estimates on the cost of the repairs with the lowest estimate coming from Westside Collision. Mayor Strozier suggested Mr. Swinson get with Chief Anderson to work out the details of having his vehicle repaired at Westside Collision and the City will pay the cost for these repairs directly to them. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the payment of the cost of these repairs as outlined by Mayor Strozier, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Strozier advised council the City has received a request from the Department of Revenue to set the City’s millage rate for the year 2001. In the past, the City has set the millage rate of 10 mils and then rolled the millage rate back to zero. The roll back is possible because of the local option sales tax distribution received by the City. After a brief discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to set the millage rate for the year 2001 at 10 mils. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Waller then made a motion to roll the millage rate back to zero, Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the City needed to approve the continued participation under the county’s contract with Sapp’s Wrecker Service to provide towing services for the City of Bloomingdale. Councilman Johnson made a motion to take said action, Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The clerk reported that GMA has submitted a request for the ratification of the appointments of Ronnie Simmons, John Bennett and Bob Sosebee to the GIRMA Board. These appointments were made at the June 23rd meeting of the GMA Board of Directors and consist of four-year terms. Councilman Tyler made a motion to ratify said appointments, Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported notification has been received from the Department of Community Affairs that an additional $25,000 in Local Assistance Funds from the State of Georgia’s 2002 Fiscal Year budget has been approved for distribution to the City of Bloomingdale for use towards the purchase of fire fighting equipment. After a discussion of the matter, Councilman Rawlins approved the execution of the contract covering the distribution of these funds. Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Strozier advised council that since the last meeting, Janice Stricklin, who lives at #201 Poplar Street had a house fire that caused extensive damage to her home. The insurance company offered to provide a mobile home for the family to move into on a temporary basis while repairs were being made to their home. Although the property is not zoned for mobile homes, the Mayor stated that based on council’s approval of a similar situation several years ago, he assumed responsibility for granting approval to move the mobile home onto her property on a temporary basis. He pointed out that the permit was issued for a six-month period. Council agreed that the Mayor’s decision complied with the way council would have handled the situation and felt that the policy of granting temporary permits under this type situation should continue in the future.
Council was advised that Ailene Lynch has resigned her position as school crossing guard. Ms. Lynch has been employed by the City for 25 years and in addition to her school crossing position she worked in the City’s library. The Mayor stated that a reception will be held in her honor on August 7, 2001 at 7:00pm at the Bloomingdale Community Building and everyone is invited to attend.
Mayor Strozier reported that the billboard that was erected at #1716 E. Hwy 80 was done without a permit being issued by the City of Bloomingdale. The property is owned by Forrest Floyd who operates the 80 West Mini-Storage business at this location. The Mayor advised council that the plans, without the electrical drawings included, were submitted around 10:00am one morning, but the installation of the sign was apparently already underway. Our building inspector did not have an opportunity to review the plans or inspect the footer/foundation and there is also a question about the billboard being the proper distance from the property line. Although a letter has been submitted from the contractor, Phoenix Structures & Services, Inc., verifying that the foundation was installed according to the plans that were submitted to the City, there is still a possible problem with the setback. The Mayor recognized Chris Beecher with Precision Marketing who is handling the installation of the billboard and he admitted that his company failed to obtain the proper permits before the sign was installed. He stated that when the construction crew arrived, there was not enough time for a permit to be obtained and his company made a business decision to proceed with the construction of the billboard without the permit since it would cost a considerable amount of money to delay the contractor. Mr. Beecher apologized to the City for their actions and asked what it would take to resolve the problem to avoid having to move the structure. Councilman Tuten expressed his concern that this company would come into our town and erect the billboard without getting the required permits from the City. Mayor Strozier advised him that the main problem at this point was the setback of the sign. Mr. Beecher stated that the sign was placed about 25’ from the center of the ditch along the front of the property, but could not assure council that the property line started at this point. Mr. Beecher asked if he could request a variance if the sign was less than the 25’ setback required. Attorney Gerard advised him that a request for a variance should have come before the sign was erected, not after it has already been installed. The Mayor pointed out that until some specific information could be furnished to the City about the exact distance the sign was from the property line council could not even consider granting a variance. After additional discussion on the matter, Councilman Tyler made a motion to require a survey be presented to council giving the exact location of the property line at the front of the property and an exact distance from that point to the billboard should be furnished to the City. The motion was seconded by Councilman Tuten and passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Ben Rozier who asked if council could advise him who was responsible for the maintenance of Towles Road between Adams Road and the Jimmy Deloach Parkway. Mayor Strozier advised him that to the best of his knowledge this was not a City street and the City would not maintain it. Councilman Rawlins reported that the road is in very bad shape and the trucks hauling timber from the area have caused most of the problems. Martin Collins stated that the mail carriers and the school buses have used this road for years and he wondered if that made it a public road. It was pointed out that now that Jimmy Deloach Parkway has opened, use of this road is really for convenience rather than necessity since there is now another access to the other part of Towles Road. After a length discussion on the matter, the Mayor asked Attorney Gerard to do some research to see who actually owned this property. Mayor Strozier asked Ben Rozier to furnish Attorney Gerard with any information he may have pertaining to the road. The Mayor suggested we wait to get this information from Attorney Gerard before the City did anything to the road.
Councilman Rawlins asked if the City could take steps to adopt an ordinance that would require logging companies to repair any damages their trucks may cause to City streets while hauling timber in and out of the City. The Mayor asked why we couldn’t cite them for damage to City property if they were tearing up the road. Attorney Gerard stated he would check to see what would be the best way to handle this problem and report back to council.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Tuten made a motion to pay the bills. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Tuten made a motion to adjourn at 8:30pm. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
MAYOR AND ALL COUNCILMEMBERS WERE PRESENT
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