January 17, 2008
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilman Ray leading in prayer. The Mayor reported that the Outstanding Citizen recognition would be postponed until next month. Mayor Tipton congratulated City Clerk Sandra Jones and her husband, Alton, on the celebration of their 38th Wedding Anniversary and expressed his appreciation for her attendance at tonight’s council meeting.
The minutes of the January 3, 2008 council meeting were reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the minutes of said meeting, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilwoman Winn made a motion to approve the agenda for tonight’s meeting, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Under administrative and committee reports, Councilman Myrick expressed his appreciation to the Bloomingdale Alliance Church for allowing the Bloomingdale Recreation Department use of their gym for basketball practices. Councilman Myrick pointed out that due to a scheduling problem the Bloomingdale School gym was not available and the church had agreed for the teams to practice in their gym again this year. The Mayor stated that Councilman Strozier had been working closely with public works on the cleaning out of the ditches in the City and also noted that the department had transferred their maintenance records to the computer. The Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department reported that there had been approximately 25 calls since their last update with an average response time of 3.9 minutes.
Mayor Tipton reported that a public hearing had been called for tonight’s meeting to present information and receive citizen input on the Overlay District Ordinance which would initially be applied to all properties abutting U.S. Highway 80. The Mayor recognized Denise Grabowski with Lott Barber Architects who presented information to the citizens outlining a description of overlay districts and their purpose. Ms. Grabowski stressed to the citizens that the overlay district did not change the current zoning of their property it merely provided special regulations that would help the City to manage the development on Highway 80. It was noted that the trend along U.S. Highway 80 was for the transition from residential to commercial development and the overlay district would help to provide a safer environment for pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Ms. Grabowski pointed out that the ordinance included some design elements to help enhance the appearance of commercial developments with attractive landscaping, buffers, and building design and to help minimize the impact of parking areas by addressing their location and providing requirements for screening. Ms. Grabowski noted that any rezoning of properties within the overlay district would still have to follow the process of rezoning and meet the requirements of existing ordinances. Donna Goodwin expressed her concern that the City would be taking control of how owners developed their property and would also be requiring them to give up rights of way along the front of their property to the City. Ms. Goodwin was advised that the overlay district did not include the acquisition of rights of way by the City. Gerald Cook stated that he would like to have a copy of the ordinance to review and the Mayor advised him that copies of the ordinance would be made available to the citizens. T.J. Cox asked if his rental unit remained empty six months would the property zoning change and he was advised that the zoning of the property depended on regulations contained in the zoning ordinances already in effect and that the overlay district ordinance did not address this issue. Matthew Goodwin asked if the Department of Transportation had been consulted about this ordinance. Ms. Grabowski stated the Department of Transportation and the Department of Community Affairs encouraged and promoted ordinances that provided for a safer environment for pedestrian and vehicular traffic and this ordinance was modeled after similar ordinances that addressed these issues. William Brune commented that before doing any building, either residential or commercial, property owners had to submit site plans that had to be approved by the City and asked if this would continue to be the process. Ms. Grabowski stated that he was correct about the site plan requirement as it currently existed and the overlay district ordinance would provide additional guidelines that the City would encourage developers to use for commercial properties abutting one another. Frank Bennett asked if his property was residential and commercial properties were on either side of him would he have to provide a road across the front of his property for their use and was advised that he would not and that was not the intent of the overlay district ordinance. Randy Woods asked if the dedication of rights of way would be on a volunteer basis or would they be required. Mr. Woods was advised that the Planning Commission and Council would be considering the type development and its impact on the area when making these type decisions, but there would be some flexibility in the ordinance as well. Vernon Wingate stated he would like to get a copy of the ordinance to review and Hugh McIntosh asked a question about street lights. Walter Cason commented that as he understood it the regulations in the overlay district ordinance would provide some ground rules for development and put everyone on a level playing field in the beginning. William McCarty raised some questions about the size business that could be placed on a lot and was advised that the size of the property would control the size of the business. Mayor Tipton stated that after tonight’s public hearing the ordinance would be on the Planning Commission’s February 12th agenda for discussion with a recommendation to be presented to council on February 21st. Barbara Griffin commented that she had attended several commission meetings, but still did not understand the overlay district ordinance and felt that it was spot zoning. Ms. Griffin was advised that as previously stated this ordinance did not rezone any properties from their current zoning. Ms. Griffin asked if the overlay district was being applied equally to both sides of Highway 80 and was reminded that the overlay district would apply to all properties, on the north and south side, that abutted Highway 80. Ms. Griffin was advised that the size of the tracts governed the depth of the overlay district. Ms. Griffin expressed her concerns that if she sells her property the new owner would have to give up property for parking, landscaping, and buffers. Ms. Griffin was informed that current ordinances already included guidelines that governed these requirements and if a commercial business is built on property with or without this ordinance there would still have to be provisions made for parking facilities, landscaping and buffers. Ms. Griffin asked Councilman Rawlings for his opinion on the ordinance. Councilman Rawlings stated that he had been involved in the development of the overlay district ordinance and felt that we should move forward with its approval for connectivity of the commercial properties within the City. Terry Jones stated that he was a new member of the Planning Commission and explained that the overlay district ordinance did not change the zoning of any property, but merely set up guidelines for its development that would have to be followed by the new owner. During additional discussion, Ms. Goodwin expressed her dislike of the City being able to tell a property owner what they could and could not do with their property. Mike Hammond stated that he owned a piece of property that was commercial now and asked if the guidelines applied to existing property. Ms. Grabowski advised him that if he pursues development of the commercial property the guidelines would apply. Larry Bukowiec expressed his concern that the City wasn’t trying to keep the property along Highway 80 residential rather than expecting it to go commercial. Mayor Tipton stated that it was apparent that commercial development was going to happen along Highway 80 and the City was trying to establish guidelines before the major development started. Alton Griffin stated this would be spot zoning; it was the only way to look at it, and although the citizens were allow to say what they thought about the ordinance they would have no say on council approving the ordinance. Councilman Rawlings pointed out that the City was trying to provide guidelines for the development of commercial properties to protect those people who would still be here when the developers have come and gone. Ms. Grabowski stated that she would be available to address questions that may come up after the meeting and suggested that the questions be submitted, in writing, to the clerk’s office, by February 1st to allow her time to address them and submit the questions and responses back to the Planning Commission prior to their February 12th meeting. Being no further discussion, Mayor Tipton closed the public hearing and suggested that council take a short recess before continuing the meeting. Councilman Myrick made a motion to adjourn for a short recess as requested by the Mayor, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
At the conclusion of the short recess, Councilman Myrick made a motion to resume the council meeting. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that City Administrator Brady had been working with Republic Waste Services, Inc. of Savannah on the contract for sanitation services and stated that Lou Diaz, the General Manager of Republic Waste, was present to answer any questions council may have about the contract. Council was advised that an addendum had been added to the contract accessing penalties for failure to pick up garbage carts on time and the new contract included an increase in rates. After a brief discussion, Councilman Strozier asked City Administrator Brady for his recommendation on the contract. Mr. Brady stated that he recommended council approve a one year contract with Republic Waste Services, Inc. for solid waste services, collection and disposal that included a four year extension option and an addendum addressing penalties for failure to provide service to residential and commercial businesses as scheduled. Mr. Brady also stated that the contract included an increase in monthly rates as follows: $11.00 residential, extra carts $6.37 each; $19.78 commercial, extra carts $13.03 each; and a 3% increase on dumpster rates. After a clarification from Mr. Diaz on the dumpster rates, Councilman Strozier made a motion to accept City Administrator Brady’s recommendation to approve the one-year contract with Republic Waste Services, Inc. with the four year renewal option, the addendum addressing penalties for failure to provide service as scheduled and the increase in rates to be effective with the February, 2008 service. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Strozier asked that Mr. Diaz provide the City with a schedule that we can pass that on to the citizens so they will know when to expect service on or around holidays. Mr. Diaz stated the company only took four major holidays, New Year’s, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July, but he would provide this information to the City Hall.
Mayor Tipton presented for council’s consideration a Letter of Agreement with EMC Engineering, Inc. in the amount of $11,000 for engineering services for the park at Moore & Poplar Streets to consist of a covered picnic shed, bathroom facilities, and additional parking. The Mayor pointed out that the City has been awarded grants totaling $50,000 for use toward the costs related to the park with SPLOST funds designated for recreation to be used to complete the project. Council was also advised that the City was required to provide $10,000 in matching funds that could be in the form of in-kind services. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the execution of the agreement with EMC Engineering, Inc. in the amount of $11,000. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
An additional services agreement with Thomas & Hutton Engineering to assist the City with the construction phase of Phase 1 of the drainage project was considered by council. The lump sum fee of the contract was $28,330, plus reimbursable expenses of approximately $2,840. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve execution of the additional services agreement, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Myrick, Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings abstained from voting on the motion.
Mayor Tipton stated that the developer had requested the tabling by council of any action on the recommendation from the Planning Commission on the rezoning request for the 11.22 acres of property owned by Barbara Meyers at U.S. Highway 80 and Stagecoach Road. Based on the developer’s request, Councilman Ray made a motion to table action on the recommendation from the Planning Commission until the February 21, 2008 council meeting. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a recommendation from the Planning Commission to approve the site plan as presented by Quality Irriscape, Inc. for their property located at #5 Adams Road. Mayor Tipton reported that the City’s zoning consultant, Denise Grabowski, had reviewed the plan and stated that it met the site plan requirements. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to accept the recommendation from the Planning Commission to approve the site plan presented by Quality Irriscape, Inc. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton presented the audit for FY ended June 30, 2007 as prepared by Karp, Ronning & Tindol for acceptance by council. It was noted that copies of the audit had been distributed to councilmembers on January 4, 2008. Councilman Strozier made a motion to accept the audit as presented, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Attorney Dickey advised council that cable and video service providers in Georgia may now apply to the Secretary of State for a state franchise to provide service within the city limits and use our rights of way. The providers that obtain a state franchise are required to pay each city in which they have customers a franchise fee up to 5% of gross revenues, but in order to receive these fees the City must have the proper ordinances in place. Attorney Dickey stated that he had prepared for council’s consideration a resolution and ordinance adopting and authorizing the collection of a 5% franchise fee for any cable or video service provider obtaining a state franchise to operate within the City of Bloomingdale. Attorney Dickey suggested that approval of the resolution and ordinance should take place immediately to avoid any problems with the application of these franchise fees to providers seeking state franchises. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the resolution and the first reading of the ordinance establishing a 5% franchise fee for cable or video service providers. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Strozier made a motion to dispense with the second reading of the ordinance and approve its adoption. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Under citizen comments, the Mayor asked D.K. Morgan about the flagpole he had erected on his property located on Highway 80. Mr. Morgan commented that he had to put up the flagpole so the eagle would have someplace to sit. Mayor Tipton asked him about the purpose of the stripes on the pole and Mr. Morgan stated that it matched the stripes on the flag.
Mayor Tipton reported that the executive session listed on the agenda would not be held.
The Mayor stated that this concluded the items presented for consideration for inclusion on the council agenda prior to the deadline of Friday, January 11, 2008.
The accounts payable were reviewed with Councilman Ray making a motion to pay the bills. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilwoman Winn made a motion to adjourn at 8:35pm. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and all councilmembers were present at the meeting.
Note: Section § 50-14-1 of the Official Code of the State of Georgia Annotated requires that the minutes shall, as a minimum, include a description of each motion or other proposal made, and a record of all votes. These minutes meet the minimum requirements. However, in an attempt to provide as much information as possible to the citizens, the recording clerk has included additional background data and discussion on the subjects present to council. The statements of individuals are not verbatim and may be summary in nature.