FEBRUARY 7, 2002
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Ray leading in prayer.
The minutes of the January 17, 2002 meeting were reviewed. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier recognized Roger Allen who stated that Mr. King, principal of the Bloomingdale Elementary School, could not attend tonight’s meeting but wanted to extend an invitation to the new Mayor and all of the council to visit the school at any time.
The Mayor reported there had been no additional information received from TLC Communications on the proposed agreement to place an antenna on the City’s water tower.
Mayor Rozier reported the sign ordinance was still under review.
Councilman Johnson reported that he had checked the drainage situation at #308E. Garvin Street and although there does not seem to be a problem with the water standing at the edge of the roadway, he is concerned that it is pooling in the front yard. Ray Butler has requested a final release on the electrical power of the structure and the City needs to determine if the water is draining from the roadway before we approve the release. Council was reminded that there had been some concerns about the height of the concrete driveway Mr. Butler installed because it may cause erosion of the roadway if water did not drain from the area properly. The developer, Ray Butler, indicated that rainfall would drain to the rear of the property and council had agreed to wait until it rained to see if his information was correct. Councilman Johnson stated that after the recent rains he had checked the property and it did not appear that the water would stand near the roadway, but because of the dam caused by the walkway and driveway, it was not draining to the back of the property. Councilman Johnson asked Attorney Gerard if the City could be held responsible for the pooling of the water in the front yard of the property even though the problem was caused by the developer. Attorney Gerard stated that since the problem was not created by the City, we would not be responsible. Several council members expressed their concern that Mr. Butler would sell the property to someone without making them aware of the drainage problem in the front yard. Councilman Wedincamp suggested we require Mr. Butler to sign a statement outlining the existing problems with the drainage of the property and have it placed in the building permit file for future reference. The letter should also include notice that any correction of the drainage of this lot should not cause problems with the drainage of surrounding properties. Once Mr. Butler has signed the letter, the City could release final electrical power. Council discussed this option and agreed that this would be the best way to handle the situation. Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to require the signing of the above-mentioned letter prior to releasing final electrical power to #308 E. Garvin Street. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the City had received a letter from Life Springs Worship Center requesting permission to operate their private school at #1105 E. Hwy 80. Since council has the authority, as the Board of Appeals, to grant this permission under the “conditional use” provision of the zoning ordinance regarding private schools in an R-1 zone, they could take action on this request tonight. Councilman Wedincamp asked if their request should include the maximum number of students allowed in the school, but was advised that the “conditional use” permit only addressed whether or not the school would be allowed at this location rather than conditions on its size. It was noted that future expansion of the school and its impact on the area could be addressed with their request for a building permit. After a brief discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to approve issuance of a “conditional use” permit for the private school at #1105 E. Hwy 80. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier reported that he had received another proposal from the City of Savannah concerning the transfer of 100,000 from their permit to Bloomingdale, but it included $900 tap-in fees and a two-year time limit. The Mayor stated that he did not want to make any commitment on this proposal or any other proposal until the City had exhausted all efforts through the state.
Council was advised that the auction on surplus vehicles will be held on Tuesday, February 25, 2002 at 1:00pm at the City Hall.
Council discussed the need to follow-up on the situation at #1722 E. Hwy 80 involving the failure to install bathroom facilities in the building currently being used for a rental business. It was noted that in August, 2001, D.K. Morgan had requested the City give him until January, 2002 to install bathroom facilities at this location because he had just assumed responsibility for the property and needed some time to take care of this matter. Council granted his request. In November, 2001, council approved an occupational license for a business at this location provided the bathroom was installed, as promised, by the end of January, 2002. The bathroom facilities have not yet been installed. After a discussion of the problem, Councilman Tyler made a motion to inform D.K. Morgan, owner of the property, and Dereall Joyner, operator of the business, that they must appear before council at the February 21, 2002 meeting to discuss this issue. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier recognized Bill Lovett, a representative from Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung, Inc., who offered the services of the engineering firm, to contact potential developers on behalf of the City of Bloomingdale about participating in increases in sewer capacity for Bloomingdale at the Pooler sewer treatment plant. Mr. Lovett explained that design of the plant was underway and they needed to know as soon as possible if Bloomingdale was interested in increasing their capacity. Councilman Johnson asked how soon did they need to know something from Bloomingdale and Mr. Lovett advised him that they needed this information in the next two or three weeks. Mr. Lovett explained that HGB & DeYoung, Inc. were willing to make these contacts at no charge to the City in order to expedite the process. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to give them the authority to contact the developers on behalf of Bloomingdale and Councilman Johnson seconded the motion. Councilmen Johnson, Myrick, Ray, Tyler and Waller voted for the motion with Councilman Wedincamp voting against the motion.
Chief Anderson advised council that he had been talking with a company about helping the City to clear up unpaid citations and warrants. The company would attempt to collect these debts at no cost to the City. The Chief introduced Maurice Green, with FTB Enterprise, Inc. based in Lake City, Florida, who explained how his business operated. He stated that his representatives would thoroughly review the police department’s records to determine exactly what was owed on a citation and/or the status of old warrants before taking any action on collections. They would add a 40% charge to the amount of the fine and the City would receive our entire fine once the monies are collected. The police department would receive daily, weekly and monthly reports of all activity related to these accounts and FTB would set up a plan with the City on handling any disputes on monies owed. Attorney Gerard pointed out that the City has an agreement in place with a probation service and did not feel that their services would be necessary on accounts being handled by this service. Chief Anderson stated that this company would not be working on cases currently being handled by the probation service. Councilman Myrick asked how far back they would go with cases. Chief Anderson reported that the tentative schedule would be to 1992 on traffic citations and to 1997 on warrants. Councilman Myrick asked how many customers they served in Georgia and Mr. Green reported that they have three accounts currently in Georgia, but expect to add another five or six in the next few weeks. Council discussed their proposal and determined that City Attorney Gerard would need to review the contract before any action could be taken. Councilman Ray made a motion to authorize Attorney Gerard to review the contract and report back at the February 21st meeting, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request from Brian and April Barnes to construct a 30’ x 30’ (900 sq. ft) metal building on their property located at #304 Oak Street to be used for storage only. The council was advised that the City requires council approval of enclosed buildings over 500 sq. ft. The Barnes explained that they had a race car, a four-wheeler, lawn mowers and other items they needed to move out of their yard for security reasons because they did not have it fenced-in. Council was advised they did not plan to have any electricity or water service to the building and understood it could not be used for any commercial business. It was noted that the proposed layout of the building meets the City’s setback requirements. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve issuance of a building permit for the 900 sq. ft. building at #304 Oak Street to be used for storage only. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the First Baptist Church of Bloomingdale has submitted a request to upgrade their existing church sign located on Highway 80. The new sign will be erected in the same location as the existing sign and will be similar to the one in front of City Hall. The proposed sign is 6’ x 10’ mounted on a single pedestal with the bottom of the sign being elevated approximately 5’ from the ground. The total height of the sign will be approximately 11’ from the ground to the top of the sign. After council’s review of a photo of the proposed sign and a brief discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to approve replacement of the church sign. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier reported that City council, by City ordinance, has the option to hold only the 3rd council meeting of the month during the months of June through September. He pointed out that we needed to pass any change to our meeting schedule on to the citizens as soon as possible. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve holding only the council meeting on the 3rd Thursday of the month during the months of June, 2002 through September, 2002. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council discussed a request from five (5) residents living on Osteen Road, outside our City limits, to receive garbage pickup from Bloomingdale. These five residents understand that all of them must keep the service and keep their accounts current for the City to provide the pickups in this area. Ann Williams, one of the residents requesting the service, was present at the meeting and stated that all of these were family members and they understood these stipulations. It was pointed out that Christopher Patterson had agreed that the garbage truck could turn around in his driveway, since this would also determine whether the service could be extended to the residents. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the addition of these five residents to the garbage service provided all of them accept the service, keep their accounts current, and Christopher Patterson agrees that the garbage truck can turn around in his driveway. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Citizens Billy & Jimmie Taylor requested council’s approval to plant some Bradford Pear trees in the City’s right of way along Main Street next to their residence. It was noted that this portion of Main Street is no longer being used since it is outside the paved area. Ms. Taylor stated that they planned to purchase the trees and asked that if council approved them being planted on the right of way could the City furnish the equipment and labor to dig the holes. After discussing the matter, Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the planting of the trees in the right of way and the City digging the holes for said trees. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Johnson abstained from voting as he was providing the trees.
Council was advised the City had received eight (8) petitions for rezoning on property along Highway 80 between Patrick Ave. and the Wildcat Dam Road. The requests are to rezone the properties from R-1 to C-1. The petitions were presented by Del Ferguson who stated he was making contact with two property owners on Patrick Ave. that did not request the rezoning of their property and would get back to the City on their plans. It was noted that one property owner in this area whose property abuts Highway 80 indicated he would present his rezoning request at a later date. Council expressed concern about not receiving applications for rezoning from everyone in this area. Council was advised that the rezoning requests will require a minimum of one public hearing and will need to be reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission. Council discussed the matter and agreed that prior to submitting any of this information to the Planning and Zoning Commission and in order to allow additional time for the receipt of the other petitions; they should submit the information to Bill Saxman to review to insure its compliance with the City’s Comprehensive Zoning Plan. Mr. Saxman was recently hired as a consultant for the City on matters regarding rezoning and development. Councilman Johnson made a motion to submit this matter to Bill Saxman for his review and recommendation. Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor recognized Charles Rogers who requested that he be placed on tonight’s agenda to discuss his proposed plans for development of property off Cregor Street. Council was advised that there were sixteen (16) existing lots in the development that faced unopened portions of Hickory and Walnut Streets. Mr. Rogers indicated that he needed to know exactly what would be required for him to develop the lots. Mr. Rogers was advised that this type development would have to meet the requirements of the City’s subdivision ordinance. These requirements would include, but not be limited to, a survey plat showing the entire subdivision, the dedication of the rights of ways to the City on the unopened roads once they were approved by the City, details on the upgrading of the roads to City specifications, a drainage plan for the subdivision and his plans for providing water/sewer to the lots. Mr. Rogers asked if he would be required to pave the roadways. Council discussed the matter and determined that since these portions of Hickory and Walnut would abut an unpaved portion of Cregor Street they would not have to be paved, but did feel the rights of ways needed to be at least 60’. Mr. Rogers was advised that although the streets were shown on plats as unopened, they had never been dedicated as public rights of way. Therefore, he would have to get with the property owners to obtain quit claim deeds dedicating the roadway to the City. Also, he would be responsible for the clearing and upgrading of the roadway and installing any necessary ditching to DOT specifications. Mr. Rogers asked if the City would approve the development of this area and Mayor Rozier advised him that if he met the requirements of the subdivision ordinance and opened the roads to meet the City’s/DOT’s specifications, he did not know of any reason why the City would not accept the subdivision.
The Mayor advised council that the City had received a notice from the DOT regarding annual reporting of a Vegetation Management Schedule to perform any vegetative maintenance activities on any permitted utility facility that encroaches the State Highway System. Council was advised that this information had been forwarded to Fett Burke, Jr., Supervisor of the General Services Department, to take the appropriate action.
Council was advised that the City has received a request from the DOT to provide approximately 5,000 gallons of water to them for grassing purposes and it appeared that they wanted us to provide the water at no charge. Council discussed the matter at length and many questioned whether this was a private contractor doing the work or if it was DOT themselves. Council agreed to approve the request for up to 5,000 gallons of water at no charge for this time only provided a letter was submitted on DOT letterhead making said request and explaining how the water is being used. Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve their request with the above-mentioned restrictions. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier presented a request from the Chatham County Groundwater Guardian Team to appoint one person to this team to represent Bloomingdale. This team was formed in February, 1996 and heir mission is to raise awareness in the community concerning groundwater protection. It was noted that participation in this program would assist in meeting the requirements of the Chatham County Comprehensive Water Supply Management Plan passed by each municipality in the county. A community representative should be willing to attend bi-monthly meetings and to participate in at least one activity that the team agrees to compete for the year. Councilman Johnson made a motion to appoint Councilman Mike Wedincamp, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council discussed the recent damage to the gazebo at the community building by a juvenile to determine if the City wanted to pursue charges against him. Some council members felt we needed to require that he clean up the damage to our satisfaction or hire the work done and require him to pay for it and perform other community service in Bloomingdale. The Chief pointed out that as a juvenile his case would be handled by juvenile court and the City would have to seek assistance from that judge in attaching any stipulations to the judgment. It was pointed out that there have been no other problems with this juvenile in the past. After a lengthy discussion, council agreed to allow the juvenile’s parent until the next meeting to make whatever repairs were necessary to the gazebo to meet the City’s approval or charges against the juvenile would be pursued. Councilman Ray made a motion to handle the problem in this manner, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Fett Burke, Jr., Supervisor of the General Services Department was directed to inspect the work and report his findings back to council at the next meeting.
The Mayor reported that the City has received notification from Comcast Cablevision that they are requesting an opportunity to discuss the renewal of their franchise agreement with the City of Bloomingdale. This information has been passed on to Attorney Gerard for his review.
Mayor Rozier stated that a meeting is scheduled for Friday, February 22nd at 1:00pm at the Chatham County Commission Chambers to discuss blending/consolidation of recreation services. The Mayor reported that Councilman Tyler and/or Councilman Ray will attend on behalf of Bloomingdale.
Chief Anderson requested that council consider approval of the installation of a gate along the canal located at the end of the Conaway Road. The Chief pointed out that there have been several thefts in the area and the police feel this problem, along with dumping problems, could be eliminated if unnecessary traffic along the canal was stopped. Council questioned who owned the access road along the canal and it was determined that it belonged to the county and was used in maintaining the canal. It was pointed out that the county would have to approve installation of the gate and would be given a key so they could have access to the road. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve installation of the gate provide it met with approval from Chatham County, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor announced that the City of Port Wentworth has scheduled their annual “Stand Up For America Day” parade for Saturday, April 27th. If anyone from the City plans to participate, we must notify them no later than April 19, 2002.
The accounts payable were reviewed by council. Councilman Johnson made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Tyler made a motion to adjourn at 8:30pm. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor and all council members were present at the meeting.