November 4, 2004
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Ray leading in prayer. The minutes of the October 21, 2004 meeting were reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the minutes, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier recognized Judge Ray Smith who will be filling in on behalf of City Attorney Dickey at tonight’s meeting.
Mayor Rozier reported that a certified letter has been sent to David Hicks outlining council’s decision to allow him 90 days to move the non-conforming mobile home located at #1301A E. Hwy 80 since use of the mobile home as a storage unit will not be allowed. Also, at Attorney’s Dickey’s direction, a copy of the letter was delivered to his current residence by the Bloomingdale Police Department on 10-30-04 since he did not pick up the certified letters sent to him in the past. Based on the date of the delivery of the letter to Mr. Hicks, he will have until January 30, 2005 to remove the non-conforming mobile home.
Council was advised that at the June 17, 2004 meeting, they had agreed to allow Debra Brant until September 30, 2004 to remove the non-conforming mobile home(s) on her property located at #6 & #8 Brantville Drive. As of this date, the mobile homes have not been removed. A copy of the June 17th minutes and the letter Ms. Brant provided council outlining her plans to move the mobile homes were distributed for council’s review. After a discussion by council, Councilman Ray made the motion that the City send her a letter reminding her of the agreement and asking that she provide a written response to council at their November 18th meeting explaining why the mobile homes have not been moved as promised. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
The Mayor informed council that the City has not received a response or a payment from William McAllister for the $1677.14 costs related to the clearing of the overgrown conditions of his property at #14 Osteen Road by City crews. Council was reminded that Mr. McAllister had until October 30, 2004 to make payment to the City of these costs to avoid legal action to collect the expenses. Mayor Rozier reported that the property was for sale. Councilman Johnson made a motion to table this matter until November 18th since we will need some direction from our attorney regarding legal action options. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Since Councilman Tyler was not at the meeting, the Mayor postponed discussions about the progress on obtaining bids for costs related to increasing the size of water lines at the eastern end of the City and Thomas & Hutton’s comments regarding the relocation of the drainage ditch at Oak Street as proposed by Councilman Tyler.
Mayor Rozier reported that since there would be problems with the creation of an island if the City annexed some of the property on Osteen Road as presented to council, he suggested that we hold off on any action until the owner of the other property decides if he wants to be included in the annexation proposal.
Council was advised that a public hearing had been scheduled tonight for citizen input regarding the request from Walter Cason for a home occupation license to operate a mobile tool business from his residence at #809 E. Highway 80. It was noted that since Mr. Cason’s business now consisted of two (2) trucks, rather than one (1) truck as originally approved. Councilman Johnson asked Mr. Cason if he owned and lived at this residence and was advised by Mr. Cason that he did. Mr. Cason explained that he would be driving one of the trucks and his brother-in-law would drive the other one, however, his contract with the mobile tool company required that he maintain both trucks in a secure location and that was why he was keeping both trucks on his property. Councilman Wedincamp stated that since this area is to be proposed for commercial use in the future, he felt the City should grant the license. It was noted, however, that until the property is rezoned, the City must consider this a home occupation license that would have to qualify as such under the City’s Zoning Ordinance. The Mayor asked for comments from the citizens and Mr. Rogers, who lives next door to the property, stated that he had no problems with the business. There were no other comments from citizens. Councilman Johnson asked Mr. Cason if he anticipated adding more trucks in the future. Mr. Cason stated that he had sales for the Savannah area and he was only allowed to have two trucks, so there would be no other trucks added later. Councilman Ray made a motion to close the public hearing with Councilman Wedincamp seconding the motion that passed with four affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to allow the issuance of the home occupation license to Mr. Cason at #809 E. Highway 80 with two mobile tool trucks to be used in the business. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that he had met with representatives from Bloomingdale Alliance Church last night regarding the possible use of their gym as the “home gym” for the Bloomingdale Bears basketball team and felt that something could be worked out with them between now and the start of practices. It was noted that the only problem may be that the gym would not be finished in time and if it isn’t, other arrangements would have to be made for this year’s games.
Mayor Rozier distributed copies of the notice outlining qualifications the City would be looking for in a part-time code enforcer/building inspector. The Mayor read the notice to council and questions were raised about some of the wording. Mayor Rozier pointed out that this notice had come from GMA’s website. Councilman Ray stated that he had no problems with the wording of the notice; however, he was concerned about adding another employee to the payroll without with the expense having been included in the budget. Councilman Myrick asked if the inspector would have to be certified in the areas of electrical, plumbing, and heating/air-conditioning, but it was noted that according to the notice they merely had to have knowledge of the state code and local code requirements. Additional discussion was held about the specific job duties of this proposed employee and their required hours of work, but since the City did not know who may be interested in this type position and exactly what the workload may be at any given time, it was difficult to include this in the notice. Councilman Myrick stated that initially there would have to be some time set aside for training this employee since they would have to become familiar with our ordinances and procedures. Councilman Johnson made a motion to accept the wording of the notice with the understanding the salary and hours of work would be worked out with council’s approval prior to the hiring of an individual. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Council was informed that Terry Coleman with Kern-Coleman Engineering Co. has prepared the amended site plans on behalf of D.K. Morgan for his development located at #1720 E. Highway 80 as outlined by the Planning & Zoning Commission at their October 19th meeting. The council was advised that although the Planning & Zoning Commission did not require that the plan go back before their committee before presentation to council, a copy of the amended site plan was furnished to the Chairman, Andrew Rawlings, for his review and he has some comments on the plan to discuss with council. The Mayor recognized Mr. Rawlings who stated that, in general, the plan seemed to meet the recommendations from the committee, but he would like to see the “handicapped sign” noted on the plans. Mr. Coleman pointed out that any signage would meet ADA standards, but, if necessary, this could be noted on the plans. The Mayor asked Mr. Rawlings to outline for council the changes that were recommended by the Planning & Zoning Commission. Mr. Rawlings stated that the recommendations were as follows:
Mr. Rawlings added that members would like for there to be at least a one (1) year guarantee on the life of the trees, bushes, and shrubs that Mr. Morgan will be planting as well as a written agreement from Mr. Morgan that he will maintain the detention pond and provide an engineer’s certification that it has been installed according to the plan. Councilman Johnson asked if Mr. Morgan was going to have to widen the curb cut on Highway 80 and Mr. Morgan pointed out that he had measured the curb cut and it was 35’ wide. The Mayor asked Mr. Rawlings if he felt the Planning & Zoning Commission would agree to a variance of one (1) foot on the curb cut and Mr. Rawlings stated that he felt this would be alright. After additional discussion about the plan, Councilman Ray made a motion to accept the amended plan with a one (1) foot variance on the curb cut on Highway 80 and give Mr. Morgan 90 days from today’s date (February 3, 2005) to complete the work as outlined on the site plan and discussed by council. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes. It was noted that the occupational license issued to Mr. Morgan’s tenant would be coming up for renewal after the first of the year, but Mr. Morgan assured council that the work on the site would be completed within a few weeks.
Mayor Rozier advised council that the City has received notice from the Department of Transportation that the permit for the Flashing School Beacon at S.R. 17 has been approved and the DOT will be responsible for the installation of this equipment. The beacons will be post mounted and will operate between the hours of 8:00am-9:00am and 3:00pm-4:00pm in conjunction with a 25mph part-time school speed zone.
Mayor Rozier introduced Richard Lancaster, a well-drilling from Effingham County, who had asked to be placed on tonight’s agenda to discuss water issues with council. Mr. Lancaster presented council with detailed information related to the use of treated groundwater versus well water. Mr. Lancaster presented questions regarding the water quality of treated groundwater and provided a booklet outlining information about contaminates in this type water and articles related to nuclear waste that is being leaked into the Savannah River. During the discussion it was noted that most of the citizens living in the City of Savannah are drinking well water, but the tourists and customers purchasing water from Savannah are being provided treated groundwater from the I & D plant. Mr. Lancaster pointed out that there is no water shortage as claimed by the EPD and stated that in Camden County when industries stopped using well water in their plants, artisan wells started flowing again. Mr. Lancaster applauded the City for pursuing their lawsuit against the EPD. The Mayor recognized Frank Arden, an Effingham County contractor, who stated that there were other alternatives to using treated surface water. Mr. Arden pointed out that well water is safer and less expensive. Council was reminded of the warnings that had been included by the DNR on fishing licenses until this year that cautioned against the eating of fish from the Savannah River on a regular basis. Mr. Arden pointed out that by their own admission, the City of Savannah had been assured by the EPD that if they expanded their treatment facility to provide treated surface water to other areas, the EPD would shut down the wells in these areas and Savannah could provide them with water. Mr. Arden stated that the long term solution is for industries to use treated surface water and leave well water for use by residential customers. The Mayor advised council that neither Mr. Lancaster nor Mr. Arden had anything to gain by taking their stand against the use of treated surface water by Bloomingdale’s citizens, but wanted to share with council the information they had compiled about the problems with using treated surface water and he thanked them for coming.
Council discussed a request from the Westside Christian Church located at #1106E Hwy 80 to sell Christmas trees at their church as a fundraiser for their Youth Ministry. The church plans to start the sale on November 22, 2004 and they are anticipating December 15th as their last day. The hours will be limited to after school during the week until 9:00pm and on holidays and Saturdays from 9:00am until 9:00pm. Sunday sales will be held from 1:00pm until 8:00pm. The trees will be located on church property with about a 120’ setback. The church parking lot has two entrances and these will be used for the incoming and outgoing traffic. The church plans to use a temporary sign that will advertise the tree sale and it will be secured in the ground approximately 20’ from the road. The sign will be removed promptly after the tree sale is complete. Council was informed that since the church property is located in a C-1 zone and the City’s Zoning Ordinance does not allow open lot sales of Christmas trees in this type zone, council will have to issue a variance and give their reasons for making the exception. It was noted that council approved a variance for this sale last year. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to allow the issuance of a temporary permit for the church to sell the Christmas trees as requested since this activity is a fundraiser for their youth ministry and is an extension of their church’s programs rather than a commercial business. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request from Stephen Pohl for the issuance of a building permit to construct a barn at #30 Perry Road. The barn consists of approximately 1300 sq. ft. of enclosed area and council must approve permits which consist of over 500 sq. ft. of enclosed space. It was noted that the property is located in an RA-1 zone that allows livestock. Although there would be electrical power and water to the barn, no bathroom facilities would be installed and Mr. Pohl assured council that there would be no living quarters located in the building. Based on this information, Councilman Johnson made a motion to issue the building permit, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Council was informed that an application for a home occupation license has been received from William & Denise Dixon to operate the office of a dock construction business from their residence located at #1205B Highway 80. The Dixon’s advised council there would be no outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence and all work would be done at the customer’s site. Based on this information, Councilman Ray made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to issue the home occupation license at #1205B Highway 80, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the Bloomingdale Police Department had ordered and received the three (3) 2005 Ford Crown Victoria Police Sedans with equipment that were included in the 2004/2005 budget. The vehicles were purchased under a three-year lease agreement which totaled $72,197 and council needs to authorize Mayor Rozier to execute the lease agreement documents. Councilman Ray made a motion to authorize the Mayor to sign these documents, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Councilman Johnson informed council that the City has been picking up the trash cans from the residences of customers whose services have been disconnected for non-payment and after payment is made they are returned. This action allows the City to have some control over the possible theft of the cans since the residence is vacant. Councilman Johnson stated that some questions had been raised about whether council should consider charging customers a fee for the pickup and return of the cans when services have been disconnected for non-payment. However, since there were only two (2) cans that were picked up and returned as a result of disconnection/reconnection for non-pays over a four (4) month period, this may not be necessary. The Mayor suggested that since there was such a small number involved, council should just wait and discuss this matter during the budget preparation for 2005/2006. Councilman Johnson made a motion to include discussion about possible fees for this service during the 2005/2006 budget process. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier reported that the personnel committee, along with other council members, had met on Monday night to discuss employee leave and benefits and were presenting the following recommendations for council’s consideration:
After a review of the recommendations, Councilman Ray made a motion to accept the recommendations as presented by the personnel committee, Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes. Councilman Johnson made a motion to amend the 2004/2005 budget to include the costs of approximately $1750 as related to the direct deposit of payroll checks. Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Council was reminded of a work session to be held on Thursday, November 11, 2004 at 7:00pm here at the City Hall to review and discuss the group development ordinance.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to adjourn at 8:15pm. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier and Council members Johnson, Myrick, Ray and Wedincamp were present at the meeting.