COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES
May 6, 2004
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Ray leading in prayer. The minutes of the April 15, 2004 council meeting were reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier introduced Courtney Power who presented a proposal from Integrated Science & Engineering, Inc. to prepare Bloomingdale’s Community-specific Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) as required by the NPDES Phase I Stormwater Permit. Ms. Powers gave a brief history of the permitting process as required by the EPD under the Federal Clean Water Act. Council was advised that when the initial plan was submitted in 1995 and renewed in 2000, the smaller municipalities were included as part of Chatham County’s Stormwater Management Plan, however, prior to the renewal of the NPDES Phase I Stormwater Permit due in 2005, each municipality will be required to submit their own community-specific plan along with the application for renewal. Ms. Powers pointed out that the EPD no longer allows plans to be submitted with co-applicants, but will allow the cities to continue to be part of Chatham County’s Stormwater Management Plan, at least for the next five years, as long as they submit their own community-specific plan. Council was advised that EPD was concerned that the individual cities did not have specific guidelines for their own Stormwater management and without their own plan, there was no way to monitor their activities. Ms. Powers stated that ISE had contracted with the MPC to prepare a Model Stormwater Management Plan for use by the county and cities and it had been approved by the EPD. Council was advised that ISE would be preparing the plans for Thunderbolt and Chatham County and were to present a proposal to Port Wentworth next week. Councilman Ray asked about the cost of the plan and was advised that the proposal consisted of three tasks. Tasks I & II would be the preparation of a draft document consisting of Bloomingdale’s Community-specific Stormwater Management Plan and its submission to the EPD at a cost of $9,785. The third Task would include working with the EPD and the City of Bloomingdale during the review process and making the required adjustments to the plan for its acceptance by EPD at a cost not to exceed $4,365. Ms. Powers pointed out that the MPC will continue to do the testing as required by the NPDES Phase I Stormwater Permit and the cost for this testing would be separate from this contract. Mayor Rozier thanked Ms. Powers for the presentation and stated that the contract would be considered under new business.
Attorney Gerard reported that the Pooler/Bloomingdale Waste Water Treatment Facility Agreement Amendment had been reviewed by Pooler’s City Attorney Steve Sheer and City Administrator Dennis Baxter and the council needed to consider its approval. Attorney Gerard pointed out that the agreement called for Bloomingdale to provide a letter of credit to the City of Pooler for their share of the cost of the upgrade to the plant by June 1st and he would provide the clerk with some samples to submit to the bank for their use in preparing the letter. Councilman Wedincamp questioned if the agreement properly addressed the City’s responsibilities regarding its share of the cost of the upgrade and any future repairs and maintenance and was advised by Attorney Gerard that the wording of the agreement was in order. Being no further discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the execution of the Third Amendment to the Pooler/Bloomingdale Waste Water Treatment Facility Agreement, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Council members Ray, Myrick, Johnson and Wedincamp. Councilman Tyler abstained from voting.
Council was advised that Attorney Gerard had reviewed the information presented by Gordon Jones at the last meeting regarding the acceptance of Cheyenne Road as a road by prescription and according to his findings; the road would not qualify as such. Councilman Wedincamp stated that since there was a problem obtaining the signatures needed to obtain the rights of way to dedicate the roadway as a public road, plans were underway by three of the owners to combine their easements and present the roadway to the City for approval as a private road. Councilman Wedincamp advised council the owners were getting another survey of the roadway and would submit a new drawing for consideration by council.
Mayor Rozier reported that he had been in contact with the DOT regarding matching funds for the proposed paving projects and will provide council with the information that the DOT has submitted regarding the City’s responsibilities to receive matching funds. It was noted that the priority list that had been recommended by the General Services Committee would be added to the May 20th agenda for a vote by council.
Councilman Johnson reported that representatives from the City, Mr. George Bowen with the Board of Education and Principal John King had met to discuss the plan that was being proposed by the City to help alleviate the traffic problems at Bloomingdale Elementary School. Councilman Johnson stated that there did not seem to be a problem cutting the road across the back of the school property for the traffic from Pine Street to Church Street, however, there was concern expressed by school officials about making sure the road would be passable during wet weather. Council was advised that no one was using the ball fields at the back of the school grounds and the location of the road would not interfere with the use of the ball field in front of the concession building. Councilman Johnson stated that the Chief was preparing a diagram of the proposed road’s location for Mr. Bowen to present to the Board of Education for approval. Once the City has this approval, council can take whatever action will be needed to proceed with the construction of the road. Council discussed the need to come up with a cost estimate prior to the City’s approval of the construction.
The Mayor reported that Attorney Gerard has sent quit claim deeds to the New Hope Baptist Church and to Charles Rogers and Issac LaRoche for execution to complete the dedication of Cregor Street to the City of Bloomingdale as discussed at the last meeting, however, the quit claim deeds have not yet been returned.
Council was advised that Attorney Gerard has made changes regarding the responsibility for line extensions to the Sewer Ordinance as discussed at the last meeting and a copy of the amended ordinance has been distributed for council’s review. The changes to the Municipal Utilities Ordinance which was distributed at the last council meeting and the amendments to the Sewer Ordinance will be placed on the council meeting agenda for May 20th for discussion. Council members are urged to review these ordinances prior to the meeting and their approval.
Council reviewed a request from Terry Jones to operate the “office only” of a consulting business from his residence located at #114 Conaway Road. It was noted that the business would consist of assisting other business owners with equipment maintenance decisions. Mr. Jones was advised by the Mayor a home occupation license did not allow outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence and Mr. Jones stated that he understood this stipulation. Based on his understanding of this restriction, Councilman Myrick made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Ray made a motion to issue the home occupation license to Terry Jones to operate the “office only” of a consulting business from his residence located at #114 Conaway Road. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented a recommendation from the Planning & Zoning Commission to approve a text amendment to the zoning ordinance to add the sale of utility/storage buildings in a C-1 zone as a “conditional use”. Note: The Planning & Zoning Commission had presented a recommendation at the March 18, 2004 meeting adding the sale of these type buildings in a C-2 zone, but wanted to pursue a text amendment to include C-1 zones as well, so action by council was delayed until both of the text amendments to the zoning ordinance could be considered. The council was advised that Attorney Gerard had prepared an amendment to the zoning ordinance to include the text amendments allowing the sale of utility/storage buildings in C-1 and C-2 zones with the stipulations outlined by the Planning & Zoning Commission. After a brief discussion, Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to approve the first reading of the zoning ordinance amendment. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Ray made a motion to dispense with the second reading of the zoning ordinance amendment, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the text amendments to the zoning ordinance to allow the sale of utility/storage buildings in C-1 and C-2 zones with the stipulations outlined by the Planning & Zoning Commission and included in the ordinance amendment. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council discussed the proposal from Integrated Science & Engineering, Inc. to prepare the City of Bloomingdale’s Community-specific Stormwater Management Plan to be included in the application for renewal of the NPDES Phase I Stormwater Permit. Councilman Johnson advised council that he would recommend council consider contracting with ISE because they had prepared the model Stormwater plan and Ms. Powers worked with Bloomingdale when she was employed by the MPC and was familiar with the City’s Stormwater issues. Attorney Gerard stated that he had reviewed the proposal and the Work Authorization Agreement from Integrated Science & Engineering, Inc. and recommended that the “Risk Allocation” section be deleted from the agreement as the City has done with similar agreements in the past since it should not limit its damage claims to $50,000. Courtney Powers advised council that she had already informed ISE of the City’s position about this section of the agreement and there was no problem in deleting it. After a brief discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to authorize the Mayor to execute the “Work Authorization Agreement” with ISE to prepare Bloomingdale’s Community-specific Stormwater Plan at a cost of $9,785 for Tasks #1 & #2 and up to $4,365 for Task #3 as outlined in the proposal with the stipulation that the “Risk Allocation” section be deleted from the agreement. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier advised council that the City had received a petition from Mary K. Mitchell, a resident of #16 Douglas Court, outlining her concerns regarding the proposed commercial business complex at U.S. Hwy 80 and Douglas Court. The Mayor recognized Ms. Mitchell who distributed some additional information for council’s review regarding this matter. Sherry Mast, who lives at #12 Douglas Court, accompanied Ms. Mitchell to the podium. Ms. Mitchell expressed her concerns about the dangerous situation it would cause for their children and the additional traffic for this dead-end street. Ms. Mitchell pointed out that there were two driveways onto Douglas Court from the business and she, along with the other residents of Douglas Court, were concerned about the increased traffic that would be caused by this business being located at the entrance to their subdivision. Ms. Mast stated that although they did not want to stop progress, the residents had concerns about the development. Ms. Mast also questioned the depth of the commercial zone along Hwy 80 and was advised that in this particular area it was 600’ deep. Lewis Potts, who lives at #27 Douglas Court, asked why the driveways for the business were not located off Hwy 80 and was advised by the developer of the property, Forrest Floyd that according to his engineers there was not enough room. Mr. Potts stated that it was his understanding there were plans to add another building and with four or five businesses in each building there would be too much traffic for this road. Mr. Floyd advised the citizens that the building currently under construction would house four or five businesses, but the second building in the back would probably contain a single business, but pointed out his plans were to rent the buildings to nice businesses that would be an asset to the City. Mr. Floyd explained that he had three lots on Douglas Court and was allowed three driveways. He also stated that he had paid commercial prices for the property because it was located in a commercial zone and that he had been working on this development with the City for about six months. Mr. Floyd informed the citizens that he had attended council meetings, Planning & Zoning Commission meetings, had worked with his engineers to meet the site plan requirements and had added extra landscaping to make the development more attractive. Mr. Floyd pointed out that he had talked with the Griffins at #8 Douglas Court who did not have a problem with the construction and they lived immediately behind the development. Councilman Myrick pointed out that Mr. Floyd’s property was in a commercial zone and that Douglas Court was there for use by residents and businesses located along the roadway. Several citizens complained that it was already difficult to get onto Highway 80 and once the businesses opened it would be even harder and would cause traffic to back up on Douglas Court. Councilman Wedincamp stated that there were other streets in the City that backed up when vehicles were trying to get onto Hwy 80, such as Adams Road and Jimmy Deloach Parkway, but the traffic on Highway 80 was going to increase as the City developed. Ms. Mast pointed out that the citizens living on most of these streets had another way out of their neighborhood, but the residents on Douglas Court only had one way out. John Mays, a resident living at #21 Douglas Court, expressed his concern about the increased traffic on the road. Mr. Potts stated that there was no street lighting on Douglas Court and no turn around at the end of the road. Councilman Ray pointed out that when the City had installed street lights in the City they had been placed at intersections due to limited funds since the City had no property taxes from which to generate additional revenue. Joe Johnson, a resident of #18 Douglas Court, stated that the first driveway off of Douglas Court was probably going to cause the most problems and if that driveway could be eliminated it would help the traffic situation. Councilman Wedincamp questioned the citizens as to why they were just now coming to council with their concerns stating council meets on a regular basis. Ms. Mast commented that the City’s elected officials were placed in office to represent the citizens, but was reminded that the Mayor and Council also represents Mr. Floyd. Ms. Mitchell asked when the zoning for this property was established and was advised that the Zoning Ordinance was adopted in 1981 and it was zoned at that time. Councilman Myrick pointed out that some of the areas that were zoned as commercial property were already zoned that way by the county prior to the City’s incorporation. Councilman Johnson stated that he had looked over some of the concerns outlined in the petition and pointed out that many were short-term problems that would be taken care of once the construction was completed. Teresa Miranda, a resident living at #25 Douglas Court, advised Councilman Wedincamp that she was not interested in how congested traffic may be on other streets; she was concerned about the street where she lived and pointed out that sometimes citizens do not get involved until they are affected by a certain situation. Ms. Miranda stated that she had small children and was concerned about the traffic. Councilman Wedincamp advised Ms. Miranda that the traffic on Hwy 80 was worse as you traveled west. Attorney Gerard reviewed with the citizens some of the issues they had presented in their petition. He pointed out that if the dust was a problem, they could contact the EPD and if the road is damaged by the construction, the City had ordinances that required it to be repaired by the person(s) or company causing the damage. Attorney Gerard further stated that Mr. Floyd has a history of cooperation and he felt sure he would work with the citizens as much as possible; however, Mr. Floyd already has an approved plan and he is in compliance with the zoning laws for this development. Attorney Gerard pointed out that the type businesses that could be located in this area would be restricted to those allowed in a C-1 zone. The Mayor asked if anyone had anything else to add that had not already been discussed. Karyl Taulbee, who lives at #26 Douglas Court, expressed her concerns about the increased traffic. Council was also advised that the telephone box at Douglas Court and Hwy 80 was too high. It was noted that the telephone boxes were installed by BellSouth. Ms. Mitchell asked council about the information that had appeared in the September, 2003 minutes regarding the violations regarding the City’s drinking water. Ernest Grizzard, the Water/Sewer Supervisor, advised Ms. Mitchell that the water samples had actually be sent in a day early and the state considered this a violation so the City was required to send in additional samples and notify the citizens of the violation notification from EPD. Ms. Mitchell advised the Mayor that she would like to be able to revisit this issue at a later date. Mr. Potts stated that he would like to request council’s consideration of a street light in the subdivision. Being no further discussion, the Mayor stated that the council would move onto other business.
The council was advised the City had received a complaint from George Wingate about the overgrown conditions of the vacant lot at #14 Osteen Road that is located next to his property. Mr. Wingate had talked with Councilman Waller a couple of weeks ago about the problem and Councilman Waller called the owner, William McAllister, who assured him that he was going to clean up the lot. However, as of this date, the lot has not been cleaned. After a brief discussion, the Mayor stated that he would send Mr. McAllister a letter giving him thirty (30) days to clean up the lot.
Mayor Rozier reported that Chief Gossett was requesting council’s consideration of a letter giving notice of termination of services between Professional Corrections Services, Inc. and the Municipal Court of Bloomingdale effective September 15, 2004. It was noted that the current contract states that if the contract is not terminated by either party it is automatically renewed. Chief Gossett asked that council approve this action to allow him an opportunity to work out the details of a contract with another probation service and have it approved prior to September 15th. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion not to renew the contract between Professional Corrections Services, Inc. and give the company written notice of the City’s plans not to renew said contract. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council discussed a request received from Donny Tuten regarding the disconnection of City water service to three (3) residences on Tuten Ave. Councilman Tyler asked that council allow him and Councilman Johnson to meet with Mr. Tuten to discuss his request and work out details regarding the use of the existing lines and the proper disconnection of water services to these residences. Council agreed to allow Council members Tyler and Johnson to meet with Mr. Tuten regarding this matter.
Mayor Rozier advised council that he had been contacted by Commissioner Dean Kicklighter regarding a proposed Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Bloomingdale and Chatham County in which Bloomingdale would agree to annex Osteen Road and the Osteen Road Bridge in exchange for the county’s commitment to provide up to $40,000 to assist in the repair and maintenance of the bridge. Attorney Gerard stated that before the City should consider signing the Intergovernmental Agreement, there should be some clarification of several issues which include the length of Osteen Road which the county wishes the City to annex, the exact cost of repairing the bridge and the exact amount of money which the City would be receiving from the County in return for annexing the portion of Osteen Road at issue and assuming maintenance responsibility for the Osteen Road Bridge. Attorney Gerard pointed out that there needed to be more definite terms included in the agreement to protect Bloomingdale. Council discussed their concerns about who would be determining the extent of the repairs that were needed for the bridge and its cost. Mayor Rozier stated that he would contact the DOT about setting up a meeting to look at the bridge to give us some idea about what they were requiring as far as repairs so we could obtain cost estimates.
Council was informed that at the April 20, 2004 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting Bill Saxman advised members that he would be retiring soon and council needs to discuss obtaining the services of another consultant for the review of subdivision, zoning and development plans. It was noted that Mr. Saxman had discussed with Mr. Thomas Thompson, Executive Director of the MPC, the possibility of the MPC providing this type assistance to the cities in this area and he is interested in talking with Bloomingdale about this matter. Mayor Rozier stated he would see about setting up an appointment with Mr. Thompson to discuss the matter. Councilman Johnson stated that his only concern about the MPC was the turn-over in personnel that we may face. Councilman Wedincamp suggested that we see about getting our Planning & Zoning Commission members better educated so they can provide more assistance with these reviews. Mayor Rozier advised council that it was his understanding that GMA offered periodic training opportunities on planning and zoning issues and stated that we may need to include some funds in the upcoming budget to help cover the costs to provide this training to the members.
Mayor Rozier reported that the Planning & Zoning Commission will hold a work session on May 11th at the Bloomingdale Community Building to review and discuss the sign ordinance and council members were invited to attend.
Council was advised that the City needed to appoint a voting delegate for the GMA Annual Convention to be held in Savannah in June. Since Mayor Rozier and Councilman Wedincamp were planning to attend the convention, Councilman Tyler made a motion to appoint the Mayor as the voting delegate with Councilman Wedincamp serving as an alternate. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The council was informed that budget worksheets have been distributed to department heads for use in preparation of the FY 2004/2005 budget.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Tyler made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Myrick made a motion that council amend the agenda to present three (3) recommendations from the Public Safety Committee that were the results of a meeting that was held earlier this afternoon. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Wedincamp requested that the recommendations be voted on individually. The recommendations were as follows:
1) Approval of the organizational chart submitted by Chief Gossett outlining the chain of command for the Bloomingdale Police Department. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the chart, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
2) Approval of the promotion of Corporal Richard Shane Tatum to Sergeant. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the promotion and Councilman Tyler seconded the motion. The Mayor asked if council members had any comments on the recommendation. Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to table approval of this promotion until he could meet with council members to discuss information he would like to present for their review. The motion died for a lack of a second. Councilman Wedincamp insisted council postpone a decision on the promotion until he could discuss the information he has concerning the officer. After continued discussion regarding this matter, Councilman Tyler made a motion to adjourn into executive session. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. A copy of the signed affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Law is attached. After completion of the executive session, Councilman Tyler made a motion to return to the general session. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to promote Corporal Richard Shane Tatum to Sergeant. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and passed with affirmative votes from Council members Johnson, Myrick, Ray and Tyler. Councilman Wedincamp voted against the motion for Corporal Tatum’s promotion.
3) Approval of capital outlay purchases proposed by Chief Gossett totaling $8525.00. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve said purchases, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Myrick advised council that the new ball field at Taylor Park will be dedicated on Saturday, May 15th. Councilman Myrick recognized Mike Brower, Chairman of the Recreation Executive Board, who advised council that the board voted to dedicate the new ball field as the “Joe Louis Young, Sr. Field” and this information met with council’s overwhelming approval. Council was advised the ceremony will start at 10:00am.
Council was informed that the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department was extending an invitation to the Mayor and City Council to join them for a fish fry on May 28th at 7:00pm.
Being no further business, Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn at 9:15pm. Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier and Council members Johnson, Myrick, Ray, Tyler and Wedincamp were present at the meeting.