December 18, 2003
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Ray leading in prayer.
The minutes of the December 4, 2003 meeting were reviewed. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Attorney Gerard advised council that he had not heard anything from Pooler’s attorney regarding his review of the Pooler/Bloomingdale Wastewater Treatment Facility Agreement Amendment.
Mayor Rozier reported that he had advised David Hicks via email that he needed to submit something, in writing, by regular post office mail, to council advising that he was interested in making whatever repairs were necessary to the non-conforming mobile home located on Hwy 80 and moving back into the residence. The Mayor informed Mr. Hicks that this information must be received by December 12th to be added to the December 18th council agenda and if nothing is received, the issue will be removed from the agenda. Council was advised that the letter has not been received. After a brief discussion, council agreed that the matter should be taken off the agenda and any future requests must be submitted via regular post office mail and meet the appropriate council meeting agenda deadline.
Attorney Gerard stated that the deadline does not expire until next week for a response from Barry Anderson to the lawsuit filed against him in State Court by the City of Bloomingdale for damages to the 1995 Ford Garbage Truck.
Council was advised by Attorney Gerard that he had received one response from other government agencies regarding the pros and cons of the operation of a City-owned cemetery, but the information was not helpful and is still waiting on additional responses.
The council was informed that Attorney Gerard had provided formal notice to Douglas Asphalt Company of their violation of the City’s ordinance related to the damage to and dumping of debris on City Streets with their dirt hauling activities taking place on Pine Barren Road and he has also alerted the DOT to these problems. Fett Burke stated that there does not seem to be any dirt hauling activities taking place at this time. After a discussion regarding the road damage that was occurring, the Mayor asked Fett Burke to contact Douglas Asphalt and suggest that they install a rock apron where the trucks are entering Pine Barren Road to help keep the mud from being hauled onto the roadway.
Council discussed the preliminary major subdivision plan submitted by Ellis Phillips for his property at Hickory & Moore Streets. Council was informed that the Planning & Zoning Commission had recommended approval of the plan, but a public hearing was required before council could act on their recommendation. Mayor Rozier pointed out that a public hearing had been held on this matter just prior to the start of the meeting. The plan had been reviewed by EMC Engineering on behalf of the City and the engineer had provided written comments concerning additional information that needed to be included on the plans for water, sewer, and drainage issues. Council was advised that although the developer has submitted revised plans addressing these revisions, the engineer will not be available to review them until next week. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the preliminary major subdivision plan with the stipulation that EMC Engineering verifies that the revised plans include their recommendations as outlined in the letter dated December 8, 2003. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier reported that he, along with Councilmen Johnson, Tyler and Wedincamp, attended a meeting in Atlanta with the EPD this morning to discuss an increase in our current water permit with the new director. The Mayor stated that Representative Ron Stephens, Senator Eric Johnson, and Attorney Barbara Gallo were also present at the meeting. Mayor Rozier reported that he felt the meeting went well and was advised that the City should hear something from the EPD on this matter by the end of the year.
Councilman Myrick advised council that the sub-committee that had been appointed to review the construction project for the renovation of City Hall and the rental property owned by the City on Adams Road for use by the police department is recommending that the tenant be given until August 1, 2004 to vacate the premises at #6 Adams Road. Councilman Myrick pointed out that the current tenant, Judge Hearn, was planning to relocate his business and rather than add on to the building to construct police offices, the committee felt it would be best to renovate the existing building for this purpose. Councilman Myrick advised council that Mr. Hearn indicated the August 1st deadline would give him ample time to move his business. Councilman Myrick stated that the sub-committee wanted to go forward with the development of preliminary plans for the renovation of the rental building for the police department and the renovation of the current police department for use by the general office. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to give Judge Hearn until August 1, 2004 to vacate the building located at #6 Adams Road and authorize the sub-committee to proceed with preliminary plans for the renovation projects as outlined above. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised the City had received a request from Don Amerson to be allowed to be “grandfathered in” on the current prices for water & sewer tap fees for the residence he plans to build on unopened Poplar Street since the building permit cannot be issued until the roadway has been opened and approved. Mr. Amerson stated that his builder had come to get the permit, but was told the road had to be opened and approved before it could be issued and he wanted to get this done before the rate increase in January. Mr. Amerson was informed that only council could authorize payment of the water and sewer tap fees prior to the issuance of the building permit and that was why he was advised to bring this matter to them for consideration. Councilman Johnson stated that he would agree to his paying the fees in advance of receiving the building permit provided he paid the fees with a certified check or money order before December 31, 2003. After a brief discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to allow payment of the water and sewer tap fees prior to the issuance of the building permit with the above-mentioned stipulations. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Johnson reminded Mr. Amerson that the cost to run the water and sewer lines to his property would be his responsibility. Mr. Amerson stated that he did not feel he should be responsible for this cost since his interpretation of the City’s utility ordinance indicated the City had to pay to run the lines. Attorney Gerard advised him that this was not the case and that the City was not required to run water and sewer distribution lines—rather, it was the responsibility of the developer. Mr. Amerson stated that he felt the ordinance made it the responsibility of the City. Attorney Gerard suggested that he obtain the services of an attorney if he felt there was a question about his interpretation of the ordinance.
The Mayor recognized Del Ferguson, acting Chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission, who presented a recommendation from the commission regarding the site plan submitted by Forrest Floyd for his property located at Douglas Court & Hwy 80. Mr. Ferguson advised council that the Planning & Zoning Commission was recommending the approval of the site plan with the stipulation that he provide the following: 1) a specific façade for the building; 2) a 10’ landscape buffer on Highway 80; 3) screening of the dumpster at the rear of the building; and 4) White Oak trees of no less than 2” caliber. Councilman Johnson suggested that the trees not be limited to white oaks because, in his opinion as a nurseryman, a white oak is not the best choice. Del Ferguson stated that the main concern of the commission was that they be tall, canopy type trees. Mr. Floyd stated that the architect had revised his site plan to include the 10’ landscape buffer on Highway 80. Councilman Johnson asked what type façade did he have planned for the building and Mr. Floyd stated that the front of the building will consist of brick, glass and stucco with the sides being brick. Councilman Johnson asked what type screening would be around the dumpsters and was advised it would consist of fencing and shrubbery. Being no further questions regarding the site plan, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the recommendation for approval from the Planning & Zoning Commission with the stipulations as outlined above, but changing the “white oak” trees to “oak” trees. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. The Mayor pointed out that it was his understanding from Mr. Floyd that he was wanting to obtain his building permit before the end of the year in order to be able to pay his water and sewer taps before rates increased in January. However, there are still some reviews of his plans that will need to be done by the City’s engineers regarding soil erosion and sedimentation control as well as stormwater retention, so he felt we should offer him the same option as Mr. Amerson to pay the water and sewer tap fees prior to issuance of the building permit provided he pay them before December 31st by cashier’s check or money order. Council agreed with the Mayor on this issue but it was noted that Mr. Floyd will have to pay water and sewer tap fees for each individual office located in the building as well as any other water or sewer service on the property. Mr. Floyd stated that he would have four offices and there would also be a water tap for the outside sprinklers. It was noted that Mr. Floyd has obtained some information from his engineer concerning the number of actual grinder pumps that will be needed for the buildings, but this will have to be reviewed by the City’s engineers before a final decision is made on this issue. Councilman Ray made a motion to allow Forrest Floyd to pay, at the current rates, the water and sewer tap fees for the building to be constructed on his property at Highway 80 and Douglas Court prior to obtaining his building permit provided he pays said fees before December 31, 2003 and makes said payment in the form of a certified check or money order and with the understanding that he will be paying water and sewer tap fees for each individual office located within the building as well as a water tap fee for the sprinkler system. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Del Ferguson stated that the Planning & Zoning Commission had discussed the addition of some information to the proposed Tree Ordinance that will be passed on to Attorney Gerard for his review. The Mayor pointed out that council had discussed the need to review the sign and fence ordinances to see if these regulations could be simplified and Del Ferguson stated that the commission could review them during an upcoming work session.
Council discussed the possibility of including instructions for the registration of existing signs, as required by the Sign Ordinance, in the renewal information being sent to businesses for 2004 occupational licenses. It was noted that the ordinance that was adopted last year included a provision for the registration of existing signs, but this had not yet been implemented. Council discussed the importance of getting the signs registered and agreed that this would probably be the best way to start the process. After this discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to initiate this sign registration process and to set a deadline of March 31, 2004 for the registration of all existing signs. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Myrick made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier stated that this concluded the agenda items that were presented prior to the Friday, December 12th deadline.
Citizen Don Amerson asked the Mayor if he could ask a question regarding the water and sewer service to the property where he plans to build a house and the Mayor agreed. Mr. Amerson stated that he did not feel he should have to run the lines to the property because the ordinance says it is the City’s responsibility. Attorney Gerard advised Mr. Amerson that the ordinance does not require that the City of Bloomingdale run water and sewer distribution lines to every parcel of property in the City. Attorney Gerard stated that the City has the authority to use their own discretion about running these lines based on need and economics and since the water and sewer systems are a business enterprise, it would be more financially feasible to put the lines where they would serve the most people. Attorney Gerard pointed out that the City could not afford to run lines to every piece of property or the systems would soon be out of business. Attorney Gerard suggested the City prepare a plan for providing water and sewer service to areas where it was not currently available, but even with a plan, citizens would have to understand that there was no guarantee that the funds would be available to execute it. Councilman Johnson stated that the City had wanted to run water lines to the eastern City limits for years, but due to the restrictions on our water permit as well as the costs involved, this had not happened. Councilman Johnson further stated that because these houses were close together, this area, along with some other heavily populated areas, would be top priorities over running lines that would benefit one resident. It was also noted that running water and sewer lines along private roadways would not take priority over providing it along public right of ways. Mayor Rozier stated that the City just does not have the funds or water capacity available at this time to serve all its citizens with water. He pointed out that the citizens living on Mesa Avenue have wanted water service for years, but the water permit issue, along with lack of finances, has kept the City from providing it. The Mayor advised Mr. Amerson that the City was obligated to manage its resources to the benefit of the majority of its citizens and without City taxes; there was a limit to the amount of funds available for the running of water and sewer lines. Mr. Amerson asked if he ran the lines wouldn’t anyone that tapped onto it have to pay him the tap fee. The Mayor stated that he did not think he could sell water or charge for taps, but this would be a legal question. Diane Amerson asked if Poplar Street, rather than Boulevard Street, was opened as his access road could the water and sewer lines serving the two residences on Poplar be extended to Don’s lot. The Mayor asked Fett Burke if he knew if this would be possible, but Mr. Burke was not sure whether these were mains or merely service lines. Mayor Rozier stated that since this discussion was not an agenda item, he felt it should not continue, but would be available to meet with Mr. Amerson at a later date and asked that Fett Burke meet with them. Mr. Burke pointed out that Ernest Grizzard would know more about the water and sewer lines in this area and suggested that he be involved in this meeting. The Mayor asked that the Amersons contact the City to set up a meeting.
Being no further business, Councilman Myrick made a motion to adjourn. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. The meeting adjourned at 8:00pm.
The Mayor and Councilmen Myrick, Ray, Johnson, Waller and Wedincamp were present at the meeting.