SEPTEMBER 21, 2000
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Strozier with Councilman Waller leading in prayer.
The minutes of the August 17th meeting were reviewed. Councilman Tuten made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the City had received information that Pooler has set up their committee to work with Bloomingdale on the Senior Citizens Center matter and the Mayor stated he would contact Mayor Carter about setting a meeting date.
Citizens were reminded that the state mandated water restrictions are still underway and advised them that some people are not following the guidelines set by the state. The Mayor pointed out that if problems continue legal enforcement may occur and encouraged those present to be mindful of these restrictions.
Mayor Strozier recognized Tim Nettles who requested that council reconsider the demolition of his residence at #9 Chestnut Street. Mr. Nettles stated that he wanted some time to fix up the house. The Mayor advised Mr. Nettles that this legal process started about nine months ago and numerous attempts have been made to contact him about the problem. Mayor Strozier pointed out that the house is unsafe and in bad repair. Also, the police department has reported numerous incidents where it was being used for illegal activities. Mr. Nettles stated that he felt the house only needed some cosmetic work, but the Mayor advised him our building inspector felt there was some structural problems. Mr. Nettles asked if he could get a second opinion on the type work that needed to be done. Mayor Strozier pointed out that he had talked with the City Attorney who advised him that if the City decided not to pursue the demolition and Mr. Nettles failed to handle the repairs and other problems with the house, the City would have to repeat this entire process. Also, additional legal fees would accumulate. The Mayor informed Mr. Nettles that the City has incurred some legal fees, as well as some other expenses, in the pursuit of handling this problem and these costs would have to be reimbursed to the City. Mr. Nettles said that he did not have any monies at this time and would have to make monthly payments. Councilman Waller asked him how long he had known the City was planning to demolish the house. Mr. Nettles stated that he found out about a month ago. Councilman Waller asked if he had taken any steps to repair the house, but Mr. Nettles stated he was just told to come to this meeting. The clerk pointed out that Mr. Nettles was instructed to prepare a written plan on what he was going to do to correct the problems with the house and bring it to tonight’’s meeting for council’’s review. Councilman Johnson stated he knows there is a problem at this house, but is concerned about tearing it down. The Mayor asked council’’s opinion on what type action needed to be taken at this time. After a brief discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to table the matter until our next meeting when we could discuss the options with our City Attorney. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. The Mayor advised Mr. Nettles that he should attend the October 5th meeting and bring information with him on how he plans to take care of the problems at the residence.
Chief Anderson reported that the court case with Juni Ricketts concerning the cleaning up of his property located on Hwy 80 continues to be passed by his attorney.
Council was advised that Swinton Richardson has paid for the cost of the repairs to his grinder pump tank.
The Mayor reported that Jean Prescott had obtained the required signature from the Chatham County Health Department on the minor subdivision plat approved by council at the August meeting and councilmembers needed to sign the plat so she can record it.
Mayor Strozier advised council that Attorney Gerard was still working on a Well Ordinance amendment to require all wells being used as a source of drinking water be installed by a licensed well driller.
The Mayor pointed out that Attorney Gerard has prepared a draft of an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance regulations related to outdoor advertising for council’’s review. The amendment was prompted by a request from Forrest Floyd to allow a billboard on his property at #1716 E. Hwy 80. Councilmembers were encouraged to review the amendment for discussion at the October 5th council meeting. The Mayor pointed out that any amendment to the zoning ordinance would have to go through the Planning Commission and would require a public hearing. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to table any action on this amendment until the next meeting. Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Strozier reported that Chief Anderson had a subpoena issued to George Henderson for violation of the City’’s zoning ordinance when he failed to remove the mobile home from his property at #68 Cheyenne Road as he agreed at the August 17th meeting.
Council reviewed a request from Wayne Newton to operate a siding/window business from his residence at #122 Michael St. Council discussed the application, but Mr. Newton was not available to answer questions about the business. The Mayor pointed out that the City had created ""home occupation"" businesses to allow this option for individuals wanting to operate non-traffic-generating offices from their residences. However, this type license would only be issued with the stipulation that there could be no evidence that there was a business operating at the residence. The Mayor noted that the vehicles used in the business should also be compatible with a residential neighborhood if it would be parked at the residence. The Mayor stated that the council has the option to conduct a public hearing on the application if there is any question about the business having an impact on the residential neighborhood. Mayor Strozier stated that if council agreed to approve the application, it would be with the stipulation that Mr. Newton agrees to the requirements outlined above. Several citizens living near Mr. Newton that were present at the meeting stated that he used a pickup truck in his business. After this discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement of the home occupation license, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Tyler then made a motion to approve the issuance of the home occupation license with the stipulations outlined above, Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Strozier reported that the MPC, along with representatives from Chatham County and all eight municipalities, has completed the preparation of the Chatham County Community Greenspace Report for submittal to the state. The Mayor stated that this report was developed for the purpose of applying to the Georgia Greenspace Commission for grant funds to begin a Community Greenspace Program. He further stated that to apply for such funds, counties must adopt a plan. The goal of the Chatham County Community Greenspace Program is to permanently preserve at least 20% of the county’’s potentially developable land and water as greenspace. This reports serves as an application package for funds to help with this goal and a plan of action for the establishment of the local greenspace program. Council was advised the City needed to approve a resolution to adopt the report and a resolution providing for intergovernmental revenue exchanges to further the goals of the countywide Community Greenspace Program. After a brief discussion of this matter, Councilman Waller made a motion to adopt the Chatham County Community Greenspace Report, the resolution approving the plan, and the resolution providing for intergovernmental revenue exchanges. Councilman Rawlins seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Strozier stated that Attorney Gerard has prepared a ""Telecommunications Ordinance"" for council’’s review. Council was advised the ordinance sets forth the procedure for granting a telecommunications or cable franchise. It provides for franchise fees, insurance and indemnification requirements, franchise revocation criteria and other important terms and conditions for granting franchises. The Mayor explained that once a company qualifies for the granting of a franchise under the ordinance, the City will have to negotiate a separate franchise agreement that would address duration and renewal of the franchise, the franchise fee, programming, etc. Councilmembers were advised to review the ordinance and it will be placed on the October 5th agenda for consideration.
Council was advised the Planning Commission recommends a public hearing be held on October 9th to receive citizen input on the rezoning application of Mike Wedincamp on his property located off Jimmy Deloach Parkway. The Mayor stated the hearing would be held at 7:00pm at the City Hall.
Mayor Strozier presented a request from the maintenance department to approve a 3-year uniform contract with Cintas. Bids were obtained from several uniform providers, but this company offered the best overall program. Attorney Gerard has reviewed the contract and recommended a couple of changes that should be made before council approves it. After a discussion of the matter, Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the signing of the contract with Cintas with the changes recommended by Attorney Gerard. Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Colan Martin who has some property on Hwy 80 he is trying to sell. The property, located at #1403 & #1405 W. Hwy 80, is zoned RA-1, but he would like for the buyer of the property to have the right to operate a business from this location. Mayor Strozier reminded councilmembers that Mr. Martin’’s property was annexed into the City several years ago and, at that time, he was operating a business from a building located on the same tract of land as his residence. Since this situation existed prior to being annexed into the City, it was ""grandfathered-in"", however, the zoning ordinance does not allow the continuation of a non-conforming use when property is sold. The Mayor pointed out that not only would the operation of a business in a RA-1 not be allowed under the zoning ordinance, the fact that both structures were on the same tract of land would also pose a problem. It was noted that even if rezoning were pursued and approved, there is not enough road frontage to divide the property to have the house and business on separate lots. Mayor Strozier asked Mr. Martin what type business was the prospective buyer wanting to operate. Mr. Martin stated he did not know, but could find out and report back to the next meeting. Council agreed to table the discussion until the October 5th meeting when Mr. Martin could provide more information on the matter.
Council was advised the City had received a request from the Department of Transportation for a list of streets for resurfacing under the LARP program. After a discussion of the request, Councilman Johnson made a motion to submit Garvin Street for resurfacing under the LARP program, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Strozier presented a request from Nextel for a permit to construct an attachment to the communications tower located at #1728 East Hwy 80. It was noted that this would be the second add-on to the original tower. Council was advised that the building to house the electrical system for the attachment would be constructed within the existing fenced-in compound. After a brief discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to approve issuance of said permit, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor pointed out that due to the increase of interest in construction of telecommunications towers in our area, Attorney Gerard has prepared an ordinance for council’’s review regulating antennae and tower development for commercial wireless telecommunications services in the City. The ordinance addresses federal regulations and the public demand for new technology, but also protects the local community. Councilman Tuten made a motion to table any action on this ordinance until the October 5th meeting to allow councilmembers an opportunity to review it. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Strozier reported that there would be a referendum on the ballot in November concerning a change in the method used for assessing property. A newsletter was sent out yesterday providing citizens with an explanation of the referendum and how it applies to Bloomingdale residents. The Mayor asked the City Clerk, Sandra Jones, to outline the information contained in the newsletter. Ms. Jones stated that a bill was passed in March, 1999 and amendment in March, 2000 that would basically freeze the assessed value of a homestead until that homestead was sold, its ownership transferred to someone else or improvements and/or additions were made to the structure. This bill was introduced last year to help control the amount of taxes property owners were paying on their homes. There will be referendums on the November ballot giving voters an opportunity to approve or disapprove this change in the assessment of property. Since the results of the referendum will affect both the county taxes and city taxes (if introduced in the future), the question will be on the ballot twice——once as it relates to Chatham County ad valorem taxes and again as it would relate to City ad valorem taxes if added in the future. She explained that one major point was that neither a ""yes"" nor a ""no"" vote on this referendum would initiate City taxes, the vote would merely help determine whether or not there will be a change in the assessment of property. Copies of the newsletter were distributed to those persons present at the meeting.
Mayor Strozier advised council we had received notification from GMA that the plans for the ""Mayors’’ Christmas Motorcade"" are underway and they wanted to know if Bloomingdale would be participating this year. The Mayor pointed out that the City has participated for numerous years by purchasing gifts for patients at the Georgia Regional Hospital and advised council that last year’’s contribution was $200 in gifts. Councilman Rawlins made a motion participate in said program with a contribution of $200 in gifts, Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented a request for the recombination of portions of six lots into two lots. The property included lots of the estate of Jean Maddox facing Cregor Street. One lot would be 135’’ x 300’’ and the other would be 122 ½½’’ x 300’’. Although the City’’s subdivision ordinance does not require Planning Commission’’s approval of the recombination of lots, it does require council’’s approval of the recombination. After a review of the plat by council, Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the request, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Strozier advised Chief Anderson that he understood some employees were considering the transfer of leave time to an employee who was out due to injury. He pointed out that this could pose problems with the City’’s budget because provisions have not been made to pay employees for someone else’s accrued time. Chief Anderson stated he could see where this could be a problem and would inform his employees of this matter.
Council was advised that a representative from GEMA had met with Councilman Johnson and the City Clerk to finalize our claims for expenses related to the October, 1994 floods. It is our understanding that payment of these funds should be received in the next few months.
Several citizens living in the Michael Street area were present at the meeting seeking information about the proposed widening of the Conaway Canal. These citizens included the Garretts, Hills, and Van Hooks. Larry Rawlins, Jr. who lives on Cypress Street was also present at the meeting. These citizens asked the Mayor if the City had any updated information on exactly how much of their property would be needed for this project. Mayor Strozier advised the citizens that this project was part of the countywide drainage plan and was being handled by the Chatham County engineer’s office. Some of the citizens indicated they had not been able to get any information from the engineer’s office. After a lengthy discussion about the matter, Mayor Strozier advised the citizens that he would contact the Chatham County Engineer’s office in an attempt to obtain some information and would have it available in about a week. The Mayor stated that the citizens could call the clerk’’s office for the information the end of next week.
The accounts payable were reviewed and Councilman Waller made a motion to pay the bills. Councilman Rawlins seconded motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Chief Anderson stated that he had a worker who was available to provide 40 hours of community service doing grading work in the City. The Mayor asked Fett Burke to get with the police department and set up a time for the worker to grade Stagecoach Road and Osteen Road.
Chief Anderson asked for the Mayor’s assistance in getting the DOT to change the speed limit on the eastbound lane of I-16 from 65mph to 70mph to the Pooler City limits. Chief Anderson stated that if this ¾¾ mile area were changed it would cause less confusion for the motorists. Mayor Strozier questioned the need to make the change, but stated he would see what could be done.
Fett Burke advised council that there was a problem along the old railroad bed where the roadway had been scraped down so far it was causing a large puddle of water to accumulate. He pointed out that the workers hauling dirt from the pit off Wildcat Dam Road had created the problem when they graded the railroad bed. The Mayor and council questioned their right to do anything to the road since it was City of Bloomingdale right of way. Mayor Strozier asked Mr. Burke to contact representatives with Douglas Asphalt about the problem and get back with him on their response.
The Mayor recognized Raymond Smoak and Deana Dobbins who stated they were having some problems with water standing in their yards. Mr. Smotes indicated that the swell between their homes at #308 & #310 Oak Street was filling up with dirt every time it rained and was not taking the water off their property. Ms. Dobbins stated that they had talked with the developer about the problem and he had put some sod, grass seed, and dirt in the swell, but it soon washed away. Mayor Strozier stated he and Councilman Rawlins would look into the problem and let them know something in the next few days.
Being no further business, Councilman Johnson made a motion to adjourn. Councilman Tuten seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The meeting adjourned at 9:15pm.
The Mayor and all councilmembers were present
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