October 17, 2002
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Ray leading in prayer.
Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the minutes of the October 3, 2002 meeting. The motion was seconded by Councilman Johnson and passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier stated that the water agreement was still under review by the City of Savannah.
The Mayor asked if any information had been obtained regarding the proposed transporting fee for sewer wastewater through Bloomingdale’s line and Councilman Wedincamp reported that it was his understanding that Councilman Tyler would be contacting Pooler to see if he could get the figure they would be charging Bloomingdale for the transporting of water. Since Councilman Tyler was not present at the meeting, the Mayor tabled this matter until the next meeting.
Council was advised that Councilman Tyler reported that he had not yet heard from the engineer on a cost estimate to prepare/submit an application for an increase in our existing well permit.
Councilman Johnson reported that he had contacted the surveyor to obtain a price to add the additional 20’ right of way to the Stagecoach Road survey, but he has not yet received this information.
Mayor Rozier reported that Attorney Gerard has made the changes to the sign ordinance as requested by Wayne Tipton, Chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission and if these changes are approved, council can consider the second reading to the ordinance. The Mayor asked Mr. Tipton if the changes met with his approval and was advised that they did. Based on this information, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the second reading of the sign ordinance and its passage. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Myrick reported that Diana Miller had met with members of the Recreation Executive Board and discussed with them the possibility of using a portion of Taylor Park for the “lure coursing” activity described to council. Ms. Miller showed them the video of the activity. The members of the board had no objections to her club’s use of the park and felt that since she would be using it very early in the morning there should be no conflicts with other recreation activities. Attorney Gerard stated that Ms. Miller has advised him that she has obtained the insurance as outlined in the agreement and has agreed to the terms contained in said agreement. Councilman Ray made a motion to authorize Mayor Rozier to execute the agreement with Diana Miller regarding the “lure coursing” activity at Taylor Park on a temporary trial basis with the stipulation that she present the appropriate proof of insurance to City Hall. Councilman Waller made a motion to second the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier asked if Johnny Padgett had agreed to the terms of the agreement from the City regarding the temporary right of way to his property from Main Street and Councilman Wedincamp reported that Mr. Padgett was still reviewing the agreement.
Councilman Myrick reported that the engineers had completed their study of the well at Taylor Park and determined that the existing well was not in the Miocene, but was a deep well. They reported that the 1 horsepower pump on the well was sufficient for the current water use at the park and would handle the watering of the existing fields. Councilman Myrick stated that although the City had approved an increase in the horsepower of the pump he recommended that we not make the change at this time and council agreed with his recommendation.
Councilman Myrick also reported that Sidney Williams, the contractor doing the drainage work at Taylor Park, was ready to start, but was waiting on the cable company to locate their lines. The corner posts of the football field had been already been marked, so when the cable company completes their line locations, Mr. Williams can begin working.
Mayor Rozier reported that Chatham County and the municipalities had reached an agreement in the LOST negotiations and Bloomingdale will receive approximately $100,000 in additional revenue. However, these funds will have to go toward the jail costs that will be charged to the cities as part of the new agreement. The Mayor reminded Captain Pike that the police department must stay on top of the jail costs by expediting prisoners in a timely manner. Mayor Rozier pointed out that the City may be able to save some money by using the Effingham County rather than Chatham County jail.
Council was advised that general information regarding the proposed garbage service change has been placed on the City’s webpage and citizens have been advised that a copy of the proposed contract is available at City Hall for reviewed. It was noted that a message will be included on the November water bill advising citizens about the availability of the contract for their review. Council was reminded that a decision on this matter was tabled until the November 7th meeting.
The council was informed that the Wildcat Dam Road Bridge was scheduled to be closed by the City on Wednesday, October 16, 2002, but the Morgans closed the bridge on Friday, October 11, 2002. The Mayor pointed out that according to the Morgans, they own the bridge. Both Henry and Phillip Morgan were present at the meeting. Phillip Morgan pointed out that according to their survey, the bridge is theirs. However, Henry Morgan stated that he did not think the bridge belonged to them, just a portion of the roadway. Councilman Johnson asked if Mr. Young can still access his property without the bridge. Phillip Morgan advised council that Mr. Young could reach his property from Pine Barren Road, but there was a deep hole in the roadway. Henry Morgan suggested council allow Mr. Young to use the bridge for his personal use and have him sign a waiver relieving the City of liability in the event the bridge failed. Attorney Gerard, as well as the Mayor and Council, expressed their concern about allowing Mr. Young to continue to use the bridge since the City had been put on notice that it was unsafe for vehicular traffic. Attorney Gerard stated that an alternate route needed to be established for Mr. Young’s use or the bridge needed to be fixed and council agreed. Councilman Wedincamp asked the Morgans if they would have access to their property without using the bridge and was advised that they had access. Mayor Rozier instructed Fett Burke to proceed with the placement of the barriers as required by the DOT. It was noted that council had voted to close the bridge at the October 3rd meeting.
Mayor Rozier presented the following recommendations submitted by the Planning & Zoning Commission for council’s consideration:
1) The members tabled a decision on the proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance regarding the inconsistencies between Code Sections 500 & 600 until Mr. Gerard and Mr. Saxman could simplify the codes and satisfy other conflicts.
Attorney Gerard advised council that the amendment took care of the conflicts in the two sections and this amendment had to be passed before approval could be given for the PUD rezoning. Mayor Rozier asked if council could approve the amendment without a recommendation from the Planning Commission. Attorney Gerard pointed out that the zoning ordinance allows council to make a decision in lieu of a recommendation from the Planning Commission but only if their decision is not received by council within thirty (30) days of the public hearing.
2) The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended the approval of the Morgan Family PUD rezoning request with two stipulations:
a) A 25’ buffer around the Seabrook’s cemetery property is provided as well as a 60’ right of way with a 10’ barrier.
b) The 80’ access right of way from Pine Barren thru the R-1 area continuing across wetlands into the light industrial area to be opened to the light industrial section only if rezoned for residential classification and approved by the Planning Commission and the Mayor and Council.
Council discussed their recommendation at length and decided to accept their recommendation for approval of the PUD rezoning request contingent on the approval of the amendment to the Zoning Ordinance correcting the inconsistencies between Code Sections 500 & 600 as well as their meeting the two stipulations from the Planning & Zoning Commission. Councilman Waller made the motion for approval of the ordinance to rezone the properties of the Morgans as outlined in the PUD Master Plan from a zoning classification of residential to a PUD classification with the stipulations as outlined above. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Attorney Gerard advised council that the approval of the PUD rezoning also requires an amendment to the Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Bloomingdale with this “minor amendment” to be reflected in the next update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve this “minor amendment” to the Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan and to submit the information to the DCA through the RDC and include this change in the next update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Council then considered a motion by Councilman Myrick to dispense with the second reading of the ordinance regarding the approval of the PUD rezoning request, with the three stipulations discussed by council, and the amendment to the Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion to dispense with the second reading and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve the passage of the ordinance covering the PUD rezoning request and the amendment to the Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
3) The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended the approval of a minor subdivision of property on Adams Road as presented by Robin Sewell, Kenneth Wayne Brigdon, Sr. and Penny S. Williams with the stipulation that the property not be subdivided again in the future without coming under major subdivision guidelines. Councilman Johnson made a motion to accept their recommendation for the approval of the minor subdivision with the stipulation noted above. Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
4) The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval of the rezoning of the parcel of property annexed into the City on May 2, 2002 known as Part of the Carter Brothers Tract located on Bloomingdale Road from R-1 to RA-1 to comply with the zoning of the property as it existed prior to annexation. Note: The Planning & Zoning Commission approved this recommendation at their August 20, 2002 meeting, but had not yet submitted it to council for consideration. Attorney Gerard asked council to pass action on this recommendation until the next meeting to allow time for him to prepare an ordinance covering this change. Councilman Waller made a motion to pass action on this matter until the next meeting. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
5) A recommendation for the approval of the fence ordinance with the following changes was made by the Planning & Zoning Commission:
a) Items 4 & 7 are duplicates
b) Need to grandfather in existing fences
c) To allow 180 days from sale of property for new owners to conform with fence ordinances
d) Mr. Saxman and Mr. Gerard to rewrite the intent portion at the beginning of the ordinance
e) Need statement of compliance with state regulations
Attorney Gerard stated that he would like to review these suggestions for changes prior to the approval of the fence ordinance and asked that action on this matter be passed. Councilman Myrick made a motion to pass action on this ordinance until Attorney Gerard could review proposed changes, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised that a public hearing had been scheduled by the Planning & Zoning Commission for November 19, 2002 at 6:30pm to receive citizen input on the proposed Planning Development Overlay District ordinance as prepared by Bill Saxman.
The Planning & Zoning Commission has reviewed and made some changes in the sample survey to be distributed to Bloomingdale’s citizens that will be used in the update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The survey is being re-typed by City Hall personnel. Mayor Rozier asked that council members have an opportunity to review the survey before it is sent out to the citizens. Wayne Tipton stated that once the draft has been prepared, copies could be distributed to council for their review. It was noted that once the survey has been reviewed and approved, it could be included in the November newsletter that will be mailed out to the citizens at the end of the month.
The Mayor advised council that the MPC has scheduled a meeting on October 18th at 2:30pm at the MPC Hearing Room to discuss the required program revisions to the Chatham County Community Greenspace Program. As a member of the Greenspace Advisory Board, Councilman Wedincamp is scheduled to attend; however, all council members are invited. Mayor Rozier stated that the MPC needs to know how many officials from Bloomingdale will be attending. No other members indicated they would be available to go to the meeting.
Citizen Martin Collins expressed his disappointment in the council’s lack of sincerity and integrity in regards to a former employee. Mr. Collins stated that he felt council made a mockery out of Bloomingdale by presenting Chief Anderson with a plaque of appreciation commending him for a job well done after he had been run off of the job. Mr. Collins further stated that Chief Anderson had done a good job over the years for Bloomingdale and he felt that it was a shame that he had been let go. Mayor Rozier stated that to the best of his knowledge Chief Anderson made the decision to leave Bloomingdale on his own and that he was never asked to leave by himself or any other member of council. Councilman Ray stated that there had been some questions raised about our police department the first of the year, but after the City received the report from the agency that evaluated its operation, it was apparent that we did not have any problems with its management and the efficiency of the department was apparent in the low crime rate in Bloomingdale. Councilman Ray also stated that he supported Chief Anderson, but it was his understanding that he wanted to move. Mayor Rozier asked Captain Pike about his conversations with the Chief about leaving the City and Captain Pike stated that the Chief had mentioned to him numerous times that he wanted to move back to Texas. Citizen Fred Chance stated that Chief Anderson had told him the same thing, but he thought that the Chief’s daughter was telling people that it was because of the Kicklighter deal. Councilman Johnson stated that the Chief had his support and could have stayed if he had wanted to. The Mayor asked the remaining council members if anyone else felt the Chief had been asked to leave and no one on council indicated they felt that he had to go.
Charles Rogers questioned council about the City’s requirements regarding the issuing of building permits on Cheyenne Road. Mr. Rogers stated that Section 402 of the City’s Zoning Ordinance indicates that “no building shall be erected on a lot which does not abut for at least twenty-five (25) feet on a public street”, yet he has been advised that the City will issue a building permit on a lot on Cheyenne Road with only a 15’ access. Attorney Gerard advised Mr. Rogers that when this area was annexed into the City in 1998, the lots on Cheyenne Road were “grandfathered in” because they were part of a subdivision that had been approved by Chatham County prior to the annexation. Mr. Rogers then questioned how this exemption could apply if the property changed hands because Section 700 (e) indicates that nonconforming uses cannot be continued after change of ownership. Attorney Gerard advised Mr. Rogers that this section of the zoning ordinance covers nonconforming uses and since there is nothing on the property, there is no nonconforming use. Councilman Wedincamp stated that the property in question is owned by Mr. Hancock and his property does not have access to Hwy 80 because his access does not cross the culvert on Hwy 80. Attorney Gerard pointed out that Gary Plumbley with the MPC stated that the county no longer allowed this type subdivision because of the problems that had been created with access. Mr. Plumbley advised Attorney Gerard that if the owners of the tracts that do not have culverts on Hwy 80 got together and went to the DOT and demanded access be provided, they could probably get something worked out. Unless the DOT is planning to purchase all of their property, he did not think they could deny them access to their property by not providing a culvert. Councilman Wedincamp stated that three of the property owners, Charles Rogers, Wayne James, and himself, who all had access over the culvert tried to get the other property owners to work with them to have the road dedicated as a public right of way and the only two owners who would not cooperate were Hancock and Spivey. Councilman Wedincamp pointed out that they did not plan to allow the use of their access across the culvert to the person who developed this lot; therefore, they did not actually have access to Hwy 80. Attorney Gerard asked how long this portion of the roadway had been used as access by other owners to Hwy 80 and Councilman Wedincamp stated that it had been used about eighteen (18) years. Attorney Gerard pointed out that there could be some civil issues raised if they attempted to close the roadway after it has been used for this length of time. Councilman Wedincamp stated they did not have any problem with the other people using the access because they already had structures on their property, but they did not want to keep adding to the problem. The Mayor asked Attorney Gerard if the City was required to issue a permit and he advised him that we were and if we did not, we could be sued by the property owner. Mr. Rogers stated that he did not think the City should issue the permit because they were not going to allow him to use the road and Councilman Wedincamp agreed. Councilman Johnson pointed out that the City did not create this problem; it was approved by the county before the property was even in Bloomingdale. Mayor Rozier asked if the property had already been sold and Councilman Wedincamp stated they had not yet closed the sale. The Mayor stated that it may be possible to work with the new owner as far as the dedication of the roadway as a public road and he would be willing to sit down with the parties involved in this situation to try to help them work something out. Mr. Rogers and Councilman Wedincamp continued to insist that the City not issue a permit until the road situation was resolved. Attorney Gerard pointed out that having the City try to help work out a solution to the problem was one thing, however, using blackmail or withholding the permit to use as leverage was something else and he did not think the City should take this course of action. Council discussed this matter at length. Mr. Rogers asked why the City was not enforcing the nonconforming use section of the zoning ordinance and Mayor Rozier reminded him that he was interpreting it the wrong way. Councilman Wedincamp asked if the City could give anyone permission to drive across someone else’s property and Attorney Gerard stated that the City could not. A discussion was held concerning the liability of the owners if someone was injured or killed on their property. After this discussion, the Mayor stated that if Mr. Rogers and Councilman Wedincamp would set up a meeting of the parties involved in this situation, he would try to help them work out a solution. Attorney Gerard also volunteered his services to do the necessary legal work. Mr. Rogers stated that he did not think it was right to issue the permit and he was going to pursue the appeals process.
The accounts were reviewed. Councilman Waller made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Myrick made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:30pm. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier and all council members, except Councilman Tyler, were present at the meeting.