July 20, 2006
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilman Myrick leading in prayer. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the minutes of the June 15, 2006 meeting and Councilman Ray seconded the motion. The motion was approved with six votes. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the agenda of the July 20, 2006 meeting, Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Due to his ownership of property in the area, Mayor Tipton excused himself as moderator of the hearing. Mayor Pro-tem Ray called the hearing to order and stated that the hearing had been scheduled to obtain citizen input on a request from Site Development Services, Inc. (SDS) for a special use permit for a monopole tower on property owned by Ottawa Estates located off Bloomingdale Road and a height variance for the monopole tower from the 50’ allowed by the City’s Telecommunications Ordinance to a height of 180’. It was noted that the ordinance allows for a maximum height of 120’ for towers in any zoning district in the City. Mayor Pro-tem Ray recognized Kevin Wiles with Site Development Services, Inc. who stated that after obtaining information from the FAA indicating they could install the tower to a height of up to 199’, they would like to amend their request for a height variance to 190’ rather than 180’. John Moore stated that as a nearby property owner he wanted to know why the tower has to be so high since it de-values his and other people’s property. Mr. Moore stated that the cellular companies should invest more monies in satellites rather than building more towers on the ground. Mr. Wiles advised him that their research indicated that this site was best suited for the areas that they needed to serve in Bloomingdale, along Pooler Parkway and in the Pine Barren Road area. Citizens were also informed that the Ottawa Estates property was wooded on two sides and was almost a mile off of Bloomingdale Road. Mayor Pro-tem Ray recognized the City’s zoning consultant, Denise Grabowski, who stated that the applicant has not demonstrated any unique physical characteristics of the property which necessitates a variance as defined by the City’s Zoning Ordinance. Based on the requirements of the existing code, Ms. Grabowski stated that her recommendation would be the denial of the variance request. Citizen Richard Marlowe advised council that his property is located at #1724 Pine Barren Road and there is an open field between him and the proposed site of the tower. Mr. Marlowe stated that he objected to the construction of the tower in this area because it would be unsightly and was also concerned about the lights that would be flashing on the tower. Mr. Wiles stated that the tower would not have lighting. Mayor Pro-tem Ray recognized Citizen Bobby Thompson who reported that he works with the Savannah Airport Commission and according to his understanding of their regulations, there will have to be lights installed on the tower. Mr. Wiles advised council that they would follow-up on this information and would abide by any requirements of the Savannah Airport Commission. Being no further discussion, Mayor Pro-tem Ray closed the public hearing. Mayor Tipton returned to the podium.
Councilman Myrick reported that Mayor Tipton and members of council had met with Thomas & Hutton Engineering to discuss the progress on the City’s drainage plan. During the meeting, some changes were made to the design of the canal so there would be as little impact as possible on the property owners. Councilman Myrick stated that he planned to set up a meeting with the property owners to discuss the plans and representatives with Thomas & Hutton would be available to answer questions. It was noted that the permitting process would take several months so it would be the middle of next year before construction could actually start.
Councilman Strozier advised council that the EPD has indicated they were willing to increase the City’s groundwater withdrawal permit; however, there is a 30 day waiting period required for input from the public before EPD will sign off on the permit. Councilman Strozier stated that we should hear something from EPD by the August 17th meeting.
Councilman Myrick stated that the City has submitted the Right of Way Agreements for Church & Lynn Streets and we are waiting for the DOT to send us the City Contracts.
City Council was advised that Attorney Dickey has prepared a bid notice for receiving quotes for the design work on Stagecoach Road for council’s review and suggested that the engineering firm who prepares the design should also oversee the project. It was noted that if council agreed with this suggestion, the bid should include obtaining quotes on this phase. There were no comments from council on this issue.
Councilman Rawlings reported that the architects were currently preparing drawings for submission to BellSouth and the DOT on the proposed gateway sign.
Council was informed that the City had received a response from Kellie Robertson regarding the questions that had been raised about the outside traffic going to her property located at #68 Cheyenne Road being related to her lawn care business. According to Ms. Robertson she is storing her lawn care equipment in the building and there is no outside traffic related to the business coming to and from the property. Ms. Robertson stated in her written response that the two people who live at #68 Cheyenne Road work for her and they take the lawn care equipment with them when they leave each morning and return with it in the afternoon. Councilmembers Ray, Waller and Myrick all agreed that when the permit was issued to Ms. Robertson for the building she was specifically asked if there would be any activity related to the lawn care business taking place from the building and she indicated that there would be no traffic related to her business coming or going from the building as the business was operated from another location. Since Ms. Robertson was not at the meeting to answer council’s questions related to the complaints, it was agreed that she should be sent a letter informing her to attend the August 17th meeting to discuss this matter.
Councilman Myrick reported that Al Bowen had removed the junk vehicles from his property located at #301 E. Highway 80 as directed by council.
Council was advised that the City had not received a response from Robert Riley regarding the junk cars and debris on his property located at #6 Boulevard Street and Councilman Myrick stated he would follow-up on the status of this problem between now and the August 17th meeting.
The council was informed that notice had been sent to the property owners at #246 & #252 Wallace Drive that they had until August 17th to take care of the overgrown conditions and to have the junk vehicles and debris removed.
The Mayor reported that the City of Savannah was currently preparing water/sewer agreements for council’s consideration for them to serve property of IP south of I-16 and once these have been completed they will be presented for council’s approval.
Mayor Tipton advised council that negotiations were still underway between Chatham County and the municipalities on the formulas to be used in the distribution of funds from the 2008/2013 SPLOST that is to be presented to the voters for approval in a September 19th referendum.
Mayor Tipton presented for council’s consideration the first reading of the annexation ordinance for properties owned by the Morgan Family located off Wildcat Dam Road. It was noted that this property, consisting of 91± acres, has been de-annexed by the City of Pooler. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the first reading of the annexation ordinance, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. After discussion of the annexation issue, Councilman Strozier made a motion to dispense with the second reading, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick then made a motion to approve the annexation ordinance for the Morgan Family property, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the City of Pooler has reviewed the changes requested by the City of Bloomingdale to the water agreement and the fourth amendment to the sewer agreement as related to the proposed AMB project and had no objections to these changes. The original agreements have been submitted for execution by Bloomingdale. Councilman Myrick made a motion to authorize Mayor Tipton to execute said documents, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Mayor Tipton recognized representatives with the AMB project who gave an overview of the project for the council and the citizens.
Councilman Strozier stated that he was withdrawing his request that council consider execution of a General Engineering Services Agreement as submitted by Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung, Inc.
Council reviewed the request from Site Development Services, Inc. (SDS) on behalf of Ottawa Estates for a special use permit for a monopole tower on property located off Bloomingdale Road and a height variance for the tower from the 50’ as allowed by the City’s Telecommunications Ordinance to a height of 190’. Councilman Ray raised a question as to whether council could vote on this issue since there was a difference in the height variance request from the information that was advertised. It was noted that the applicant had presented the change during the public hearing. Mr. Wiles with SDS stated that they were not aware that the airport played a role in the permitting process and asked if it would be possible to have the permit and variance request approved contingent on their abiding by the rules and regulations of the Savannah Airport Commission. After continued discussion, Councilman Rawlings stated that rather than diminishing land and property values in the area he felt that the tower would improve values because it would be protecting greenspace. Councilman Rawlings pointed out that in order to keep the family farms going the owners need to find other means of financing their operations and the tower will provide additional funds without making a major change to the character of the farm. Councilwoman Winn stated that her residence is located under the water tower and the lights do not pose a problem. Richard Marlowe advised council that he does not want the tower in his back yard and pointed out that the tower may be 1,000 or more feet from Bloomingdale Road, but there are no trees between him and the tower—only pasture land. SDS representatives were questioned about the number of users that would be anticipated on the tower. Council was advised that there would be a minimum of three (3) users on a 180’ tower and probably about four (4) users on a 190’ tower. Council was also advised that a height of anything under 150’ would probably not be attractive to any user. Councilman Strozier pointed out that if the tower were located at least 1,000’ from a residence or from the roadway he felt it would not pose a safety problem if for some reason it should fall. Councilwoman Winn stated that her residence is probably about 200’ from the water tank and Councilman Strozier’s residence is about 300’, but neither of them felt threatened with its height. John Moore, a property owner in the vicinity of the proposed tower location, stated that he loved technology, but felt that if the cities would not allow the towers to be constructed, the companies would have to invest in advance technology. Citizen Willene Stone asked Councilman Rawlings about the financial advantages to property owners if towers were placed on their land. Councilman Rawlings advised her that the companies pay monthly rental fees to the property owners thereby helping to provide additional income. Being no further discussion, Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve the issuance of the special use permit for the construction of the tower on property owned by Ottawa Estates off Bloomingdale Road and a height variance of up to 190’ with the stipulation that the agent provide the City with a copy of the approval from the Savannah Airport Commission for the construction and height. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Council members Rawlings, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Council members Myrick and Ray voted against the motion.
Council was informed that the City has received a quote from our current auditors, Karp, Ronning & Tindol, to perform the City’s audit for FY ended June 30, 2006 in the amount of $8750. This is a slight increase from last year’s quote, but since the 2005 audit was the first one this firm had performed, an adjustment in the rate was necessary. The auditors are ready to begin the preliminary work on this year’s audit. Councilman Myrick made a motion to contract with Karp, Ronning & Tindol, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Citizen Billy Healan advised council of his concerns regarding the failure of persons traveling Hiram Road to come to a stop at its intersection with Conaway Road and their improper use of the lanes. Mr. Healan stated that he was concerned about the safety of the children in the area and other motorists. Chief Gossett advised council that he had met with Mr. Healan and will continue to monitor this situation, but as previously discussed with council, the offenders do not violate the laws when officers are in the area.
The following recommendations were presented by the Planning & Zoning Commission from their meeting of June 20, 2006:
1) The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended the approval of a Light Industrial zoning of the 91± acres of Morgan Family property located off Wildcat Dam Road that has been proposed for annexation. The Light Industrial classification is the same as the current PUD zoning of this property. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve this recommendation, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
2) The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended the approval of a request by Commonwealth Commercial Properties, LLC on behalf of DONPAUL Enterprises, Inc. to rezone an 88± acre tract on the south side of U.S. Highway 80 between Jimmy Deloach Parkway and Stagecoach Road as a mixed use commercial development. The current zoning of the property is RA-1, Agricultural, and the proposed zoning is C-1, Central Business District, approximately 400’ deep along the front and I-1, Intensive Industry, in the rear of the property. Mayor Tipton stated that the City had recently met with Chatham County Engineering staff who strongly urged the elected officials not to rezone any properties that may interfere with Phase II of the Jimmy Deloach Parkway or the interchange at Hwy 80. The Mayor further stated that information related to this matter had been sent to the City during the previous administration and developers were urged at that time to contact the county to discuss their plans. Mike Wedincamp asked why the developers were not invited to participate in the meeting with the City and was advised that the county encouraged the developers to contact them directly to discuss this information. Attorney Dickey stated that if council is leaning towards Chatham County’s recommendation he suggested that this request be tabled rather than denied since the ordinance requires a one year waiting period before rezoning requests could be resubmitted on the same parcel for the same change in classification. After discussing the matter, Councilman Myrick made a motion to table action on the zoning request, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Susan Kendryna who asked if Chatham County’s position applied to all properties
abutting the proposed parkway or interchange and was advised by the Mayor that it was his understanding that it covered any properties in the path of Jimmy Deloach Parkway or a proposed interchange. The Mayor encouraged anyone interested in development in these areas to contact Chatham County to discuss their plans.
Council was advised that at their June 20th meeting, the Planning & Zoning Commission also discussed a minor subdivision request from Maree Patrick to subdivide her property located at #1312 West Highway 80. The commission members directed Ms. Patrick to seek approval from GDOT for a curb cut onto said property from Highway 80 and to submit a final plat to City Hall meeting the minimum requirements of the subdivision for council to approve, but there was no vote taken on her sketch plan. Since the commission did not take a vote on June 20th, the final plat was submitted for consideration at the Planning & Zoning Commission’s July 18th meeting. However, there was not a quorum at the meeting, so this matter is being presented to council for consideration. Ms. Patrick’s request also includes a variance on the size of the access driveway off U.S. Hwy 80. The access to Ms. Patrick’s property off of U.S. Highway 80 is with a driveway shared with the adjoining property and it was installed by the DOT years ago. The lot being divided from Ms. Patrick’s tract has 144.42’ frontage on U.S. Highway, but will only have 10’ abutting this driveway. Ms. Patrick is requesting a variance from the City of 15’ since the DOT will not approve any additional widening of the driveway. The DOT does plan to install an additional 4’ of safety pipe at the end of the existing pipe, but it cannot be used for vehicular travel. Attorney Dickey advised council that a public hearing would need to be held prior to the issuance of a variance on the driveway. Councilman Strozier made a motion to hold the hearing at the August 17th council meeting and the motion was seconded by Councilwoman Winn. The motion passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that at the January 5, 2006 meeting, the Planning & Zoning Commission recommended two amendments to the Zoning Ordinance; however, since the newly elected council members had not had an opportunity to review them prior to their recommendation only the first reading was approved. The second reading of the amendments is now being presented for council’s consideration:
1) The addition of a definition for “Dwelling, single-family attached” - “A main dwelling unit attached in groups of at least three to adjacent main dwelling units by means of a roof and/or interior wall, with each dwelling unit occupying its own lot. Each unit extends from foundation to roof with open space on at least two sides and a separate means of ingress and egress for each unit.”
2) A change in Appendix B – Multiple Unit Residential, Article V, Design Standards, (B) to strike “Apartment building” and replace with “Dwelling, multiple family or Dwelling, single-family attached”.
After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the second reading of the amendment to the zoning ordinance as recommended by the Planning & Zoning Commission, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council discussed a request for the issuance of a home occupation license submitted by Walter Cason to operate a “Snap on Tools” business from his property located at #809 E. Hwy 80. Mr. Cason has advised the City that he had planned to move to the Statesboro area last year, but his plans changed. He stated that he failed to obtain his 2005 license, but he was willing to take care of these fees, along with any related penalties, when he obtained his 2006 home occupation license. Councilman Ray questioned Mr. Cason as to why his trucks had Bulloch County tags rather than Chatham County tags if he lived in Bloomingdale. Mr. Cason stated that he had discussed his residency with the Bulloch County tag office when he purchased the tags and they indicated that there was no problem with him purchasing the tags from Bulloch County. After this discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement and issue the home occupation license, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request submitted by Jimmy Kerby to operate the office only of a custom home builders business from his residence located at #208 Adams Road. Mr. Kerby’s application indicates he will have 15 employees working in this business. Note: In January, 2006, Mr. Kerby received approval to operate the “offices only” of two other businesses from his residence. The businesses included a general & labor contracting business that employees 36 people and the other was a metal contracting business with 4 employees. Councilman Myrick questioned Mr. Kerby about the potential for outside traffic related to the businesses and was assured by Mr. Kerby that none of the businesses involved employees or customers coming to his residence. Based on this information, Councilman Ray made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement and issue the home occupation license for the custom home builders business to Mr. Kerby. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
City Council was informed that the City currently participates with Chatham County in an “Annual Contract for Gasoline and Diesel Fuel”. The County requested a one-year extension on last year’s bids from Barrett Oil Distributors, Inc. and The Sommers Co. and both have agreed to the extension. The City purchases its fuel from Barrett Oil Distributors at a price of +$.12 above O.P.I.S. for both diesel and gasoline fuels. Council was advised that the City needed to approve the extension of our agreement until June 26, 2006 so we could notify the vendor of our plans regarding our fuel purchases. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the extension of our agreement until June 26, 2007, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Citizen Mary Mitchell who had requested an opportunity to discuss some issues with council. Ms. Mitchell requested that the Mayor and City Council review and approve the Keep Georgia Beautiful Grant Application that has been completed. Ms. Mitchell suggested council consider the lot at the corner of Cherry Street and Highway 80 as a target area for beautification and improvement with the possibility of its use as a park or welcome center. Ms. Mitchell requested approximately $50 to purchase frames for certificates of appreciation to those persons contributing $100 or more to the Keep Bloomingdale Beautiful Campaign. Councilman Myrick made a motion to provide these funds from the City’s general budget. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Ms. Mitchell expressed her concerns about the members and alternates of the Planning & Zoning Commission that do not attend meetings. Council was advised that there have been several meetings in which there was not a quorum, so business could not be conducted. Councilman Rawlings stated that these problems would be addressed in the rules and procedures that were being considered for the Planning & Zoning Commission members. Council discussed the need to pursue replacement of those members and alternates who were not attending the meetings, but would need to receive this information from the commission so they could take the necessary action to replace them. It was noted that if commission members had conflicts with other volunteer positions they needed to make a decision as to whether they wanted to serve on the Planning & Zoning Commission and if so, they needed to commit to attending the meetings. The Mayor asked Councilman Rawlings to provide council with the names of those members who needed to be replaced. Councilman Rawlings stated that the members also needed to be trained and requested they receive a copy of a publication that he had found helpful when he became a member of the commission. Councilman Rawlings pointed out that a current city limit and zoning map is needed by the commission and he was assured that work was underway on this map and it would be completed as soon as possible.
Councilman Myrick stated that the City has been receiving complaints about the garbage service over the last couple of months but he has been assured by Republic Waste representatives that they have taken steps to correct the problems and will continue to monitor the service we are receiving.
Council was informed that the City currently has three (3) desks that need to be declared surplus so they can be disposed of as required by ordinance. These desks cannot be used by other departments and one employee is interested in purchasing the desk she has been using for several years. Councilman Strozier made a motion to declare the desks as surplus and set the selling price at $1.00 with the desks to be sold on a first come, first served basis. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Rawlings made a motion to adjourn into executive session to discuss personnel matters. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
At the conclusion of the executive session, Councilman Myrick made a motion to return to the general session. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to execute the affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Law, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. A copy of the signed affidavit is attached to the original minutes.
The following action was taken as a result of the executive session:
1) Councilman Myrick made a motion to create a City Administrator’s position. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
2) The Mayor appointed Council members Myrick and Strozier to obtain and review General Engineering Service Agreements from area engineers and make a decision on an engineer to act on the City’s behalf for plan reviews, inspections and other duties as related to the AMB project. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve this action, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton suggested that council consider the possibility of recognizing citizens on a bi-monthly, monthly or other regularly scheduled time that have made or are making specific contributions to the betterment of the City. After a general discussion by council, it was decided to recognize one citizen a month with the Mayor to make the first recommendation at the August 17th meeting and the other recommendations would come from council members in alphabetical order. The Mayor stated that he was working with the City clerk on some type of a keepsake to give to the citizens.
This concludes the items presented prior to the council agenda deadline of Friday, July 14, 2006.
There were no committee reports.
The accounts payable were reviewed with Councilman Ray making a motion to pay the bills. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn at 10:00pm. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and all council members were present at the meeting.