Council Meeting

June 15, 2006


The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilman Myrick leading in prayer.  The minutes of the May 18, 2006 meeting were reviewed.  Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the minutes, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.  Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the June 15, 2006 agenda, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.


Chief Gossett introduced Officer Wayne Daniels, a newly hired officer with the Bloomingdale Police Department, to the Mayor and Council. 


Mayor Tipton introduced Travis Cowart, Jr. who is a candidate for the Chatham County School Board from District #7.  Mr. Cowart stated that he would push for a new high school for West Chatham County, a safe environment for our children, a better line of communication, and the resources necessary to provide the best education possible for the children of Chatham County if he is elected to this position.  Mr. Cowart thanked council for an opportunity to attend the meeting and asked for everyone’s support in the upcoming election.




Councilman Strozier reported that we were still waiting on an answer from EPD regarding an increase in our groundwater withdrawal permit. 


Councilwoman Winn stated that the Patriotic Celebration was well attended and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  She reported that plans were already underway for next year’s celebration and if anyone has any suggestions please submit them to her as soon as possible.


Mayor Tipton reported that the DOT has submitted the City Right of Way Agreement for Church and Lynn Streets for execution.  The agreement allows for the base and resurfacing for a length of 0.221 miles on Church Street and for a length of 0.133 miles for Lynn Street with a total length of 0.354 miles.  Council was advised that by execution of the agreement the City confirms that it has good and sufficient title to provide 40’ existing right of way.  It was noted that the agreement requires the signature of the Mayor and City Attorney.  After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the execution of said agreement, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.


City Attorney Dickey advised council that he was working on the preparation of the bid for the design work on Stagecoach Road and should have it completed soon.


Council was advised that the carport on property owned by Bobby & Debra Brune at #201 Cherry Street has been relocated and it now meets the City’s required front yard setback.


Councilman Myrick reported that the grass and weeds have been cut on the property located at #301 E. Highway 80, but the junk cars have not been removed.  Councilman Myrick stated that he had tried to contact the owner, Al Bowen, by telephone, but Mr. Bowen has not returned his calls.  After discussing this matter, council agreed that Mr. Bowen should be sent another letter advising him to remove the junk vehicles from the property by July 15, 2006.  City Attorney Dickey stated that Mr. Bowen should be advised that he was being subpoenaed to appear at the July 20, 2006 meeting to discuss this issue with the Mayor and Council unless the vehicles are removed from the property by the July 15th deadline and council instructed the clerk to include this information in the letter.


Council was informed that a letter had been sent to Kellie Robertson on May 21, 2006 advising her that all outside traffic at #68 Cheyenne Road related to her lawn care business must cease immediately, however, the City continues to receive complaints about this problem.  Councilman Myrick expressed his concern that we were still having these problems since Ms. Robertson was informed prior to the issuance of the permit for her storage building that she could not operate her lawn care business from this location and she stated that she understood this stipulation.  After discussing this problem with City Attorney Dickey, Chief Gossett was instructed to continue to monitor the situation and to issue citations for the operation of a business without a license if any business activity appeared to be taking place at this location.


Mayor Tipton reported that Triet Bui has requested that council consider a reduction in the speed limit on Michael Street to 15mph and the posting of speed limit signs.  Council discussed this request and agreed that the reduction of the speed limit would not solve the problem with persons who were speeding in the neighborhood.  The Mayor and City Council instructed Chief Gossett to increase the patrols in this area and to issue citations to those persons who violate the speed limit.


Councilman Rawlings stated that plans were underway to pursue the acquisition of property from BellSouth to upgrade the existing gateway sign at the eastern City limits to comply with the proposed changes to the current sign ordinance. 


Council was advised that the owners of the property located at #913 East Cregor Street have obtained a permit for the utility building placed on this property.


Mayor Tipton reported that he, Councilman Waller, and Chief Gossett had attended the CEMA workshop held on May 30th & 31st and felt that it had provided some very beneficial information to all of them.  The Mayor stated that each department will need to make arrangements for the protection and/or relocation of their vital records and he plans to make contact with the area churches to discuss what type assistance they could provide to the citizens should an event occur in the future.


The Mayor stated that he had recently been involved in some discussions related to the extension of the Jimmy Deloach Parkway and found that this project is not progressing as he thought.  Mayor Tipton pointed out that it may be necessary for the City to get more involved in this road project to make sure that it proceeds as planned.


Council was advised that the Mayor had received a letter from County Engineer Al Bungard regarding the possible development at the intersection of Jimmy Deloach Parkway and U.S. Highway 80 and copies were distributed for their review.  Mayor Tipton stated that County Manager Russ Abolt has requested that county staff be allowed to explain the consequence of choices on this matter.  It was noted that a request for the rezoning of 88± acres has been submitted to the Planning & Zoning Commission and a public hearing on the request is scheduled for June 20th.  During discussions on this issue, Councilman Rawlings stated that in order to allow the council an opportunity to meet with the county the Planning & Zoning Commission could hold the public hearing as scheduled on June 20th, but delay their decision on the rezoning request until their July 17th meeting.  Councilman Rawlings pointed out that their recommendation could be presented to council on July 20th.  Council was advised that a meeting with the county engineer will be scheduled in the next few weeks. 


The council was informed that Attorney Dickey has prepared the changes to the water agreement and the fourth amendment to the sewer agreement as related to the proposed AMB project and this information has been submitted to the City of Pooler for their review.


Mayor Tipton presented for the second reading the de-annexation ordinance for 128.8 acres of the Morgan Family’s property located off Wildcat Dam Road with the understanding that this property would be annexed into the City of Pooler.  It was noted that the City of Pooler will de-annex properties involving the proposed AMB project that would then be annexed into Bloomingdale.  After a brief discussion, Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve the second reading of the de-annexation ordinance, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.


The Mayor reported that the water/sewer committee met with representatives from the City of Savannah and International Paper last week to discuss the possibility of Savannah providing water/sewer service to an area located in the City of Bloomingdale south of I-16.  The City of Savannah is in the process of preparing an agreement to include the specific details as discussed at the meeting.  The water/sewer committee is requesting that they be allowed to continue negotiations with Savannah as related to the agreement for this specific area and that the Mayor be authorized to sign said agreement once it has been completed and reviewed by Attorney Dickey.  Councilman Ray stated that he felt councilmembers needed to review the agreement before it was signed by the Mayor.  Councilman Strozier pointed out that it was his understanding that International Paper needed this agreement in place to continue negotiations on their property and during the discussions with them last week, it was agreed that the City would expedite the process as much as possible.  After additional discussion, it was decided that council members would be provided a copy of the agreement for review prior to its approval which could be handled at a called meeting if necessary.




Council was advised that the Chatham Emergency Management Agency has submitted the Chatham County Emergency Operations Plan dated April, 2006 for adoption by the City of Bloomingdale.  The City has also been asked to approve a resolution adopting the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as established under the Federal Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 5 and the Unified Command System as its system of preparing for and responding to disaster incidents and directs all incident managers and response organizations in the City of Bloomingdale to train in and use these systems in their response operations.  On March 24, 2006, Chatham County amended its Emergency Management Ordinance to define “emergency”, to provide for a declaration of emergency, to provide for a curfew and re-entry restrictions, to provide for building permits, to allow for temporary housing, to allow for emergency business licenses, to prevent price gouging, and for other related purposes all during periods of emergency.  The County is requesting the City of Bloomingdale execute an Intergovernmental Agreement with Chatham County approving the changes in the Emergency Management Ordinance.   After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the adoption of the operations plan, the resolution adopting the NIMS and the Unified Command System and the execution of the amended intergovernmental agreement with Chatham County.  Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.


The Mayor reported that the City has received an appeal from Site Development Services, Inc. (SDS) on the height limitations for a telecommunications facility proposed for construction on property of Ottawa Real Estate Development off of Bloomingdale Road.  The property is zoned RA-1 and this zoning district allows monopole towers with a special use permit issued by the board of appeals, but with a height restriction of 50’.  The council was informed that the proposed telecommunications facility will include a 180’ monopole tower (a difference of 130’), so the building permit application could not be approved without action by the board of appeals and the council is designated as the appeals board.  Mayor Tipton recognized Pete Waller, the owner of the property, who stated that the proposed site is located at the rear of his property well off of the highway and abutting the property where the warehouses are to be constructed.  Kevin Wiles, a representative of Site Development Services, Inc., provided councilmembers with a site plan showing the proposed location of the tower.  Attorney Dickey advised council that a public hearing would have to be conducted prior to a decision on the issuance of the special use permit and a height variance.  Councilman Strozier asked Attorney Dickey if the City could make adjustments in our telecommunications ordinance that would allow higher towers in RA/RA-1 zones provided they are located long distances from the highway as in this situation and Attorney Dickey stated that council had the authority to establish the required setbacks.  After additional discussion, council set a public hearing for July 20th for citizen input on the request for a special use permit and a variance on the height of the proposed tower as requested by Site Development Services, Inc. for the property owned by Ottawa Real Estate Development off of Bloomingdale Road. 


Council reviewed a request from International Paper Realty Corporation for the recombination of parcels of the Carter Brothers Tract located on Little Neck Road.  The boundary lines of these two tracts have been changed and prior to the recording of the plat and the Mayor and Council will have to sign off on the plat.  Note:  The City’s Zoning Ordinance allows for recombination plats to come directly to City Council if they meet certain criteria.  These tracts abut an existing public right of way and the tracts meet the City’s minimum road frontage and lot sizes with the change to the property boundaries.  After a brief discussion, Councilman Rawlings made a motion to approve the execution of the recombination plat as submitted by International Paper Realty Company.  Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.


Recreation Director Joe Young presented the following recommendations on behalf of the Recreation Executive Board for council’s consideration:


     1)  The acceptance of a letter of resignation from Howard Raper effective May 31, 2006 due to his moving from the area;

     2)  The appointment of Tammy Zachary to fill the unexpired term of Mr. Raper (term expires on June 30, 2008); and

     3)  The renewal of the terms of Enid Cuffy, Melanie Burke, Drenda Randell and James Cannon that expire June 30, 2006.  The new terms would expire on June 30, 2009. 

(Note:  James Cannon and Drenda Randell have moved outside of the City of Bloomingdale, but request to remain on the board)


Councilwoman Winn made a motion to approve the recommendations as presented, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.  Council was also advised that the board appointed the following officers:  David Milton, Chairman; Tammy Zachary, Vice-Chairman; and James Stringer, Secretary/Treasurer.


Councilman Rawlings recommended on behalf of the Planning & Zoning Commission the renewal of the terms for members Tiffinie Hill and Becky Reece that expire on June 30, 2006 with the new terms to expire on June 30, 2010.  Councilman Rawlings stated that although Becky Reece is also involved in the fire department and is not able to attend many of the meetings, she was still interested in serving on the commission.  The Mayor asked if there were any vacancies on the Planning & Zoning Commission and was advised that there was an alternate position available.  Councilman Rawlings made a motion to approve the term renewals for Tiffinie Hill and Becky Reece.  Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.


Councilman Myrick reported that he had requested Chief Gossett check into complaints received on abandoned vehicles and overgrown conditions at #6 Boulevard Street and overgrown conditions on property located at #262 Wallace Drive.  Council reviewed photographs provided by the Chief of these properties and council agreed that letters needed to be sent to the owners of these properties outlining what they needed to do and giving them a deadline of July 20, 2006.  The Mayor recognized Bob Webster who informed council that he had submitted the complaint on the Boulevard property and he stated his appreciation for council taking this action to get the property cleaned up.


Chief Gossett presented a request for the Mayor and City Council to approve the initiation of a Reserve Officer Program.  Chief Gossett stated that the reserve officers will be unpaid certified police officers that will be used to supplement our officers in time of need.  The Chief pointed out that the only cost to the City would be for uniforms and weapons and there will not need to be an increase in the police budget as he has sufficient funds to insure that the officer will have equipment and uniforms needed to perform his job.  The council questioned the Chief on why an officer would be willing to work for the City without receiving any compensation.  The Chief explained that the officer he had in mind was retired, but he wanted to maintain his police certification which required that he work in law enforcement a certain number of hours a year.  It was noted that if the officer was working for the City, he would be included on our worker’s compensation policy and there would be some expense involved in this coverage.  Chief Gossett advised council that the officer would be hired under the same criteria as the City’s paid officers and would be included in training programs.  After a discussion of this request, Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the Reserve Officer Program with the hiring of one (1) reserve officer with the program to be evaluated by City Council at the end of six (6) months.  Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.


Mayor Tipton stated that the council had held a workshop last week to discuss proposed changes to the sign ordinance and additions to the zoning ordinance related to Planned Unit Developments.  The Mayor reported that copies of the sign ordinance with the proposed changes have been distributed to council for their review and he suggested the information be submitted to the Planning & Zoning Commission for review.  It was noted that a public hearing must be held prior to the approval of an amendment to the sign ordinance.  After discussing the matter, the Mayor directed the clerk to submit the sign ordinance information to the Planning & Zoning Commission.


The council reviewed a request from Ralph Bell dba Bell Crane & Rigging, Inc. to park a crane at his business located at #1720A Highway 80.  Mr. Bell plans to store the equipment inside the building, but in the event it has to be parked outside, he wanted to obtain prior approval from council.  The equipment is described as a 2006 Terex crane with a 23.5 ton capacity. The zoning ordinance allows for contractor equipment in C-2 zones as a “conditional use” with council approval.  Councilman Strozier asked Mr. Bell if he planned to keep the equipment inside most of the time and Mr. Bell stated that if it was outside it would only be a small percentage of the time.  Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve a “conditional use” permit for the storage of this equipment at #1720A Highway 80.  Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.


Council was advised that the City had received an inquiry a couple of months ago concerning the home occupation license for a mobile tool business that had previously been issued to Walter Cason to operate from his residence located at #809 E. Highway 80.  Apparently, Mr. Cason had indicated to several people that he had moved from the residence, but they continued to see the Snap on Tools vehicles parked at the Highway 80 location.  The City reviewed its records and found that Mr. Cason had failed to renew his 2005 license and has not yet obtained his 2006 license.  When Mr. Cason was finally contacted, he stated that he still lived at this address and would come to the City Hall to make whatever arrangements were needed to obtain or renew his license; however, Mr. Cason has not been to City Hall and has not responded to messages that have been left on his answering machine.  Council discussed this matter and agreed that Mr. Cason should be sent a letter giving him notice that he must attend the July 20, 2006 council meeting to obtain approval for the issuance of a home occupation license for this business at #809 E. Highway 80 and if he fails to obtain the license by July 21, 2006 the police department will be instructed to issue a citation for the operation of a business from this location without the proper licensing.


Mayor Tipton reported that the City had received a request from the Department of Revenue regarding the millage rate for tax year 2006.  Council was advised that in the past the millage rate had been set at 10mls and then rolled back to zero.  After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to set the millage rate at 10mls and Councilman Rawlings seconded the motion.  The motion passed with six affirmative votes.  Councilman Strozier then made a motion to roll the millage rate back to zero, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.


The Mayor presented for council’s consideration a resolution for the delay of the adoption of the FY 2006/2007 budget for up to sixty (60) days from the beginning of the fiscal year with the appropriations for the last fiscal year being the appropriations for the new fiscal year until the adoption of the budget.  Councilman Ray made a motion to approve said resolution, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.


A request has been received from the Azusa Now Church located at #1410 Pine Barren Road to obtain a mobile unit for use as classrooms for their church.  The City’s zoning ordinance allows for the addition of religious education buildings as a customary accessory to a church building.  This property is zoned RA-1, which allows mobile units.  The Mayor recognized Pastor Jeff Hartman who stated that before making a purchase of a mobile unit the church wanted to make sure they could obtain a permit.  Councilman Rawlings advised him that the unit would have to meet the City’s building codes for this type structure.  Pastor Hartman was also informed that if the property is no longer used as a church in the future this accessory building must be removed and he stated that he understood this stipulation.  Mayor Tipton advised him that council had no problems with the church obtaining a mobile unit for use as classrooms provided it met the building code requirements.


Council was advised that the Bloomingdale Alliance Church was in the process of doing some pavement and drainage work on their property and at the request of the City their plans was currently under review by Mark Mobley with EMC Engineering Services to make sure it met the requirements of the stormwater ordinance.  Councilman Myrick reported that the engineer indicated that the DOT is to provide a written statement that the pipes that were to be installed as part of the widening project on Highway 80 would handle any additional runoff from the property without the need for additional detention.  The engineer’s report also stated that the ditches on the east and west side of the property needed to be enlarged and the plans should be changed to reflect this information.  Councilman Myrick asked that the general services committee be allowed to work with EMC Engineering and the church’s engineer to bring their plans for the paving of their parking lot into compliance with the City’s Stormwater Management Ordinance and council agreed.


Mayor Tipton stated that he had talked with EMC Engineering about a feasibility study on future wastewater needs and the possible means of providing the service.  The Mayor reported that he was informed that EMC had done a similar study for the City in 2002, but it needed to be updated.  The council was advised the cost would be approximately $2,000 and this expense could be included in the FY 2006/2007 budget.  Councilman Myrick made a motion to have EMC proceed with the study, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.


The Mayor reported that this concluded the items that were presented prior to the agenda deadline of Friday, June 9, 2006.


The following discussion was held during committee reports:


Councilman Strozier asked if there was any reason why the City could not proceed with the closing on the property located at Maple and Main Streets the first week of July since council had already approved the purchase of the property.  The Mayor asked that Attorney Dickey proceed with the steps needed to close on this property.


Mayor Tipton asked that the General Services Committee meet with Thomas & Hutton Engineering to obtain an update on the drainage plan and Council members Myrick and Strozier stated they would schedule a meeting next week if possible.


The Mayor reported that the trustees from the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department had met with members of council to discuss the possibility of transferring ownership of the properties donated to the fire department to the City so we could pursue funding for a fire station.  Mayor Tipton pointed out that the property had been donated with the stipulation that it always be used for public safety & fire protection and that would be the City’s intention for its use.   


Councilman Strozier asked if council planned to make any adjustments to the City’s SPLOST request since funds needed to be included for a fire station, recreation pavilion, and the paving of Stagecoach Road.  Council agreed that these items needed to be considered in the final list to be submitted to the county.


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 at 8:30pm.  Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.


Mayor Tipton and all council members were present at the meeting.