February 6, 2003
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Ray leading in prayer. The minutes of the January 16th council meeting and the January 30th called council meeting were reviewed. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Tyler reported that the well permit applications consisting of a request for a permit for the lower aquifer and a request to increase our existing permit for the upper aquifer had been submitted to EPD on Bloomingdale’s behalf by Thomas & Hutton Engineering.
Councilman Tyler advised council that he has obtained cost estimates for the repair/replacement of the Maple Street Lift Station and asked that the water/sewer committee meet on Friday, February 7th at 2:30pm to review the estimates. Councilman Tyler suggested a called council meeting be scheduled next week to consider the committee’s recommendation so action can be taken as soon as possible to get the lift station operational. Council was advised that the wastewater is currently being diverted to the by-pass system that was installed several years ago when repairs were made to the main sewer line and Councilman Tyler expressed his concerns about the reliability of this temporary solution. Council agreed to meet next week and Councilman Tyler stated the meeting date and time would be decided at tomorrow’s meeting.
Councilman Tyler stated that he had obtained a cost estimate of $140,000 to run an 8” water line down the railroad bed to the Pooler Parkway to connect to Pooler’s water line for the purpose of obtaining water from the City of Savannah.
Council was advised that agreements with Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co. for water/sewer consulting services and aid in applying to EPD for well permits were forwarded to Attorney Gerard for his review. Attorney Gerard voiced his concerns about the liability limits in the agreements and he suggested the liability limits be increased to a more substantial amount or that this clause be completely deleted from the contracts. Attorney Gerard questioned the retention schedule as outlined in the agreements for records related to projects and suggested that the engineer retain such records for at least five (5) years, rather than the two (2) years as stated in the agreements, and that the records then be offered to the City as an alternative to disposing of them. Attorney Gerard also expressed his concerns that the agreements provide that the City must pay extra for the engineer’s furnishing a resident project representative whose function is to assist in observing performance of the work of any contractor since he felt that the purpose of the engineering agreement was to provide this service as part of the fees outlined in the agreement. Mayor Rozier asked Councilman Tyler to make sure that Thomas & Hutton receive a copy of these comments and that they get with Attorney Gerard before the February 20th meeting to resolve the issues he has outlined in his memo.
Councilman Tyler reported that he had prepared the generic specifications for the proposed computer upgrades for the general office and the police department and will forwarded them on to Attorney Gerard for his review before soliciting bids. Councilman Tyler stated that he wanted to make sure that the bid package included options for the City to either approve or reject the entire package or any portion thereof since there is a chance that we could not afford to proceed with all of the work at this time. Councilman Tyler stated that he planned to have Interim Chief Pike and Lieutenant Street to serve as contacts for obtaining/reviewing the bids.
Mayor Rozier reported that the Chatham County engineering department was reviewing the latest proposal for the replacement of the Wildcat Dam Road Bridge and he would report back to council as information is made available from the county.
Attorney Gerard reported that comments on the Mutual Aid agreement is still being reviewed by the City of Savannah’s Attorney.
Attorney Gerard stated that he has not yet received a response from Russ Abolt regarding his comments on the Inmate Service Fee Agreement and pointed out that there had also been some suggestions from the other municipalities about possible changes to the agreement.
Attorney Gerard advised council that he had not heard from the property owners on Stagecoach Road regarding the right of way documents he forwarded to them after last meeting, but would follow up with them before the next meeting.
Mayor Rozier advised council that the first reading of the fence ordinance had been approved at the January 16, 2003 meeting and the second reading and adoption of the ordinance needed to be handled at tonight’s meeting. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the second reading and adoption of the fence ordinance. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that the first reading of the Planned Overlay District Ordinance was also approved on January 16th and council needed to approve the second reading and adoption of this ordinance. Councilman Johnson made a motion to take this action, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that bids for the surplus police video cameras are schedule for consideration at the March 6, 2003 council meeting.
Mayor Rozier, along with Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman Wayne Tipton, presented plaques to Sue Kennedy, Jackie Lowman and Margel Winn for their years of dedicated service on the Planning & Zoning Commission. Mayor Rozier stated that Tommy Bragg could not be at tonight’s meeting, so his plaque will be presented at the next Planning & Zoning Committee meeting.
Council was advised that the City had received a request from Catherine Hickling to operate the “office only” operation of a mobile cleaning business from her residence located at #312 Elm Street. Ms. Hickling has obtained permission to operate said business from this location from the owner of the property, Michael Belford, provided she does not post a sign at the residence to advertise the business and that she only use the residence for the office of the business. Council was advised that this would be considered a home occupation license and the council has the option to waive the public hearing requirement. After a brief discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick then made a motion to issue the home occupation license to Ms. Hickling to operate the “office only” operation of the mobile cleaning business from #312 Elm Street. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier reported that the City has received a request from Kenneth Brigdon for council to re-sign the minor subdivision plat that was approved on October 17, 2002 for property located on Adams Road. Apparently the attorney misplaced the plat that was signed in October and until he obtains the signatures, he cannot record the minor subdivision. The Mayor advised Mr. Bridgon that council has signed the plat and he could pick it up at the end of the meeting.
The Mayor recognized Shane Holcombe who had requested that he be placed on tonight’s agenda to discuss construction (building permit, etc.) and other issues regarding the property located at #80 Cheyenne Road that was previously owned by Lance Hancock. Mr. Holcombe stated that he had purchased this property with the intent of constructing a home and was advised that before he was issued a building permit he would need to meet with council. Attorney Gerard advised Mr. Holcombe that although the City can legally issue him a building permit, there have been concerns voiced by council of how practical this would be since his access to Hwy 80 does not include a culvert across the drainage ditch. Mr. Holcombe asked why he could not use the existing access road that has been being used by the other residents living on Cheyenne Road. Attorney Gerard explained that since this access consists of property owned by other people, there is a possibility that they could prohibit his use of the property. Attorney Gerard stated that prior to obtaining a building permit Mr. Holcombe should try to work out something with the owners of this property to establish a permanent access to his property since there could be a problem with the DOT allowing him to install a culvert on Hwy 80 for his own access. Attorney Gerard further stated that Mr. Holcombe may want to address his problem with the DOT since they were actually denying him access to his property by not allowing a culvert to be installed. Mr. Holcombe asked why the City couldn’t handle the problem and Councilman Johnson pointed out that this is a civil matter between property owners and the City cannot intervene. Councilman Ray stated that the problem existed when the property was in the county, but the City of Bloomingdale inherited it when we annexed this area. Mayor Rozier asked Councilman Wedincamp, one of the owners of the property being used as the access road, if he would be willing to work with Mr. Holcombe on the problem, but Councilman Wedincamp stated he would rather deal through a third party because there were some hard feelings between the property owners with the previous owner. Attorney Gerard stated that he had previously offered to do the necessary legal work pro-bono, but has not been contacted to provide the service. Mayor Rozier stated that he had also volunteered to meet with the parties concerned, but had not heard from anyone. The Mayor suggested that Councilman Wedincamp set up a meeting with everyone involved and he would attend and try to help them work out a solution.
Council discussed a request from Robert Robbins to place a mobile home on property located on Adams Road. The City had been contacted several months ago about his placing a second mobile home at #415 Adams Road under a “medical hardship” to care for his parents. However, the City’s ordinance regarding hardship secondary dwellings requires that the second mobile home be occupied by the party with the medical problem. In September, 2002, the City was advised that the Chatham County Health Department was going to issue a temporary permit for them to connect to the existing septic tank at #415 Adams Road. However, the Chatham County Health Department would not issue the permit unless the mobile homes were on the same lot. Apparently, the lots have now been combined, but this causes a problem in issuing the permit because the ordinance does not allow the secondary dwelling to be used by the caregiver under a medical hardship permit. Ms. Robbins explained that her husband was working and could not attend the meeting, but there was definitely a need for them to live near her in-laws to take care of them. She stated that although they have had the property combined, the plat has not yet been recorded because she wanted to make sure they could move the mobile home on the property before going any further in the process. Councilman Johnson advised council that he knew the family and agreed that a medical hardship existed, but understood the restrictions of our current ordinance. Council discussed the possibility of changing the ordinance to allow a family member to live in the secondary mobile home, but wanted to make sure there were safeguards in place that would stipulate the requirement that the secondary mobile home be moved if the medical hardship ceased to exist. After the discussion, CouncilmanWedincamp made a motion to recommend to Planning & Zoning Commission that the hardship ordinance be amended to allow a family member to live in the secondary mobile home with the stipulations outlined above. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Ms. Robbins was advised that the council would direct this matter to the Planning & Zoning Commission for action, but since this is an amendment to the zoning ordinance a public hearing was required and the process could take about 45 days. Councilman Johnson pointed out that he had talked with Mr. Tanner with the Chatham County Health Department who stated that the Robbins would have the opportunity to add some additional drain field to the existing septic tank to accommodate the secondary mobile home, however, if there was a problem with the operation of the system, the temporary permit would be withdrawn and the mobile home would have to be removed. Based on this information, Councilman Johnson pointed out that we would probably need an agreement with the Robbins outlining this additional stipulation and Ms. Robbins stated that she understood this provision. Councilman Johnson suggested that Ms. Robbins hold up on recording the plat that combines the property until the City has a chance to process the change in the ordinance and Ms. Robbins agreed. Ms. Robbins was also advised that the ordinance requires the permit to be reviewed every six months and if the medical hardship no longer exists, council would not renew the permit and the secondary dwelling would have to be removed.
Mayor Rozier advised council that he has received some complaints about the unsightly and unsafe condition of a mobile home on Osteen Road and wanted to initiate action through the nuisance abatement ordinance to address the problem. The Mayor pointed out that it was his understanding that this mobile home located at #9 Osteen Road was damaged in the 1994 floods,
but the owner has not taken any steps to make the repairs to the structure or remove it from the premises. Attorney Gerard stated that the current ordinance allows the process to be handled through our recorder’s court, but some preliminary steps were required prior to bringing the case to court. The Mayor directed Interim Chief Roy Pike to start the process required by the nuisance ordinance for this dwelling. The Mayor also stated that there are some junk vehicles at this location as well as at other locations throughout the City and wanted the police department to pursue action to get the vehicles moved. Attorney Gerard pointed out that there are provisions in the code of ordinances to address junk vehicles. Mayor Rozier asked that Interim Chief Pike handle these matters as well.
Councilman Tyler stated that delivery of the new fire truck is expected next week and suggested council have a called meeting to finalize the financing of the truck. Since a called meeting is scheduled to handle the recommendation from the water/sewer committee on the lift station, council agreed to discuss this issue at the same meeting.
Councilman Tyler asked the city clerk to provide council with an update on the City’s financial status for use in determining the availability of funds for drainage projects.
The Mayor recognized Citizen Roger Allen who voiced his concerns about the length of time the process to secure a Chief of Police is taking because he feels that some good candidates may be taking other jobs. Mayor Rozier advised him that the Public Safety Committee has been reviewing some applications, but because many of the officers currently have jobs, they are hesitant about publishing the names of the applicants until they have narrowed down the list of candidates. Mr. Allen also questioned the development of a written direction for the police department without the input of the new chief. Mr. Allen was advised by the Mayor that the Public Safety Committee, along with council, agreed that the City needed to develop this information prior to securing a police chief. Mayor Rozier stated that a committee consisting of Councilman Myrick, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, Councilman Tyler, Interim Police Chief Pike, and Detective Walker are involved in preparing a rough draft of a policy that will be brought back to council for review and approval. Councilman Johnson stated that he felt this policy should be in place before a permanent chief was hired. Councilman Myrick agreed that this was the best way to handle the matter and also stated that since we had a competent person serving as interim chief, the committee did not want to move too quickly in the review process to hire a permanent police chief.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Waller made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. The meeting adjourned at 7:45pm.
Mayor Rozier and all council members were present at the meeting.