January 15, 2004
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Myrick leading in prayer. The minutes of the December 18, 2003 meeting were reviewed. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Attorney Gerard reported that he had written Pooler’s City Attorney, Steve Sheer, requesting that he provide a response to previous correspondence regarding the Pooler/Bloomingdale Wastewater Treatment Facility Agreement Amendment.
Council was advised by Attorney Gerard that Barry Anderson had filed a claim against the county for the damages incurred to the City’s 1995 Ford Garbage Truck and it was denied. Attorney Gerard pointed out that Mr. Anderson still has a few days to provide an answer to the lawsuit filed against him by the City; however, we will probably have to proceed with the legal action against him in order to recover the repair costs.
Attorney Gerard is still waiting on additional information from government agencies regarding the pros and cons of a City-owned cemetery.
Council was informed that the City had received a letter from DOT regarding Attorney Gerard’s notice to them of the damage to Pine Barren Road by Douglas Asphalt Co. and we were advised that prior to DOT’s final acceptance of this project they will require that Douglas Asphalt provide a written resolution of this issue.
Mayor Rozier reported that according to information he has received from Senator Eric Johnson the EPD does not plan to increase the City’s groundwater permit nor will they issue us a permit to drill a well into the Lower Floridian Aquifer. The Mayor stated that he is waiting for official notice from EPD regarding this information and as soon as it is received he will forward it on to Attorney Barbara Gallo who is prepared to pursue a suit against the EPD on the City’s behalf. The Mayor reported that Attorney Gerard has provided an Engagement Agreement between the City and McKenna Long & Aldridge for Advice and Services in connection with water resource issues for council action. Mayor Rozier pointed out that if the City decides to pursue legal action against EPD, we would need to have this agreement in place. After a brief discussion, Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to authorize Mayor Rozier to execute the agreement on behalf of the City, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier advised those present at the meeting that just prior to the start of tonight’s pre-agenda meeting Fire Chief Ferman Tyler was involved with a fire call and one of the volunteer firemen had to be taken to the hospital with an apparent heart attack. Fire Chief Tyler is at the hospital with the fireman at this time. Also, Police Chief Gossett is following up on a missing child call.
Due to the absence of Councilman Tyler, Councilman Wedincamp presented information from the water and sewer committee regarding a proposed increase in the fees for the reconnection of services disconnected for non-payment. After reviewing information on fees charged by neighboring cities, the committee recommends a fee of $40.00 per service for the reconnection of services disconnected for non-payment effective April 1, 2004. Council was advised that the disconnects are picked up from the general office around 12:30pm and the current policy is that once the water/sewer department personnel has received the turn-offs, all customers must pay the reconnection fees even if the service has not yet been disconnected. The Mayor pointed out that the turn-offs involve non-payment of bills that are over forty-five (45) days old. Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve a $40.00 per service fee for the reconnection of services disconnected for non-payment and to continue the policy of charging the reconnection fees for all accounts once the water/sewer department personnel has picked up the disconnects. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. (Note: Since all ordinances require a second reading, the second reading will be held at the February 5, 2004 council meeting)
Mayor Rozier reported that council needed to appoint the Recorders’ Court Judge and Judge Pro-tem(s) for 2004. After a brief discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to re-appoint Tom Edenfield as Bloomingdale Recorders’ Court Judge with a monthly compensation of $850 as included in the 2003/2004 budget and to re-appoint Bob and Brandon Galloway as Judge Pro-tems of said court. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the Recreation Executive Board is requesting that council approve the removal of Karen Davidson from the board. According to the board, Ms. Davidson has not attended a meeting since August, 2001. Attorney Gerard asked if Ms. Davidson had been notified of the proposed removal and Councilman Myrick stated that she had been contacted. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the removal of Karen Davidson from the board due to her lack of attendance. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that Councilman Johnson had asked Steve Walton to attend tonight’s meeting to discuss with council the problems the City has been experiencing with the garbage service being provided by Republic Waste Services. It was noted that during the holidays many of our citizens did not receive any service and when a different driver handles the route, some sections are not picked up. Mr. Walton acknowledged there were some serious problems during the holidays due to the large volume of garbage, but one of the major contributors to the problem was that the regular driver for this route was involved in an accident and had been terminated. Councilman Johnson stated that he realized the holidays may have been a problem, but when certain areas were missed the first week, he did not understand why the same areas were missed again the second week especially after the problem had been brought to Republic’s attention. Mr. Walton reported that he was working with the driver to help him to get more familiar with the area. Council agreed that it would be better if there were at least two drivers that knew the route because the problems increase when another driver fills in. Councilman Johnson advised Mr. Walton that one of the City’s garbage customers did not pay her bill in full because her trash was missed for two weeks and Mr. Walton stated that Republic would take care of the balance.
Mr. Walton stated that, in his opinion, part of the problem was that the cans are being filled with trash rather than garbage and in some cases they are being re-filled after the driver empties them. Mr. Walton reported that he had done a drive through of some of the problem areas and found several locations where trash was piled next to the garbage cans as well as additional cans full of trash and garbage that would not be picked up by Republic. Council discussed the possibility of requiring citizens to place their trash in a different location other than next to their garbage cans and making sure there was a specific schedule for trash pickups. Councilman Johnson stated that he would meet with Buddy Burke to discuss the schedule and see about including this information in the next newsletter along with a notice to the citizens about placing their trash in a location separate from the garbage can.
Council was advised the City has received a request from Ray Gaster for a variance to run a chain link fence along the front of Gaster Lumber located at #108W Hwy 80 closer to the property line than the required 25’ setback as outlined in the code. Mr. Gaster wants to run the fence along the newly poured concrete. The fence would be approximately 12’ from the property line at its closest point, but some portions of the fence would meet the 25’ setback. The Mayor recognized Mike Hammond who was at the meeting on behalf of Mr. Gaster. Council was advised that Section 809 (d),(7), of the Fence Ordinance adopted in February, 2003, states that a chain link fence is not allowed in a commercial zone. Council discussed the issue at length and some questioned the restriction on chain link fencing in commercial areas. The Mayor asked Attorney Gerard if a variance could be issued and was advised that council would have to provide reasonable justification for the material variance. The Mayor pointed out that with the need to be able to see through the fencing for the exiting of the property onto Hwy 80 in a safe manner, he felt that chain link fencing would be more appropriate and if the fencing across the front of the property is chain link material, it would be more attractive for all of the fencing to be the same. It was noted that the property needed to be secured because of numerous break-ins that have occurred at this location in the past. Council discussed the matter at length. After the discussion, Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the issuance of a front setback variance to allow for the fencing to be as close as 12’ from the property line and a variance to allow for the use of chain link material for the fencing. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council discussed a request for a front yard setback variance from Ken Schroder for a house he plans to build at #406 Chestnut Street. Council was advised that Mr. Schroder is trying to protect some rather large trees on the property and is requesting a 5’ variance. Council reviewed a copy of Mr. Schroder’s site plan which showed the location of the trees. Mr. Schroder pointed out that the front porch was the portion of the house that would be within the required setback. After a discussion by council, Councilman Johnson made a motion to grant a variance of 5’ from the front yard setback requirement. Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier reported the City had received a request from James & Debra Miller to be placed on tonight’s agenda to discuss several issues regarding the development of the property in front of their residence at #13 Drescher Road. The issues were the lack of adequate drainage from Hwy 80 to Drescher Road, the lack of a visual barrier after the removal of the trees on the property owned by Anthony Del Ferguson and a request for the developer to put up solid fencing on his property line to restore the Miller’s privacy and security. The Mayor recognized Mr. Miller who stated that until the trees were cleared from the adjoining property there had been very little noise problems from Hwy 80 at their residence, but now they can see the store and hear people talking because there is no longer a buffer between them and the other properties. Mr. Miller voiced his concern about the drainage for the area now that the trees have been cleared. Councilman Johnson advised him that the developer will be required to provide a stormwater management plan and this plan would address any impact the land clearing may have on the drainage. The Mayor asked Mr. Miller if he had talked with Mr. Ferguson about his concerns, but he stated that he had never met him. Mayor Rozier encouraged him to contact him. Mr. Miller asked if the City planned to pave Drescher Road and was advised that prior to its paving there would have to be a 60’ right of way and a dedication of the roadway to the City to qualify for matching state funds. It was noted that this information was discussed in prior meetings, but the residents had not pursued the process of providing the required right of way or dedication.
Council discussed a request from David Tyler to dig a pit at the rear of his lot at #409 W. Main Street to bury the debris he plans to remove from the lot. A copy of a sketch of his property was reviewed by council. Attorney Gerard reported that although there is no law against his burying the debris, there was concern about possible environmental issues. Councilman Johnson stated that he felt we needed to make sure that anything he did with the debris other than hauling it away from the property did not cause drainage problems for the neighboring properties. Council agreed that Mr. Tyler should be notified that it would be his responsibility to contact other government agencies, such as EPD, to make sure there were no restrictions or notification requirements regarding the burying of the debris, but as long as it did not cause drainage problems the City had no objection to his burying the debris on the property.
The Mayor presented a petition to council on behalf of the Morgan Family and Ferman and Ginger Tyler to annex their property on Osteen Road. Attorney Gerard pointed out that at this point council would merely approve the start of the process, but there would be several steps to take, including the rezoning of the property, before actual approval of the annexation. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to start the annexation process for these properties, Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the City had received some information from R.L. Moore on behalf of the “Citizens for Better Public Safety”. This group is composed of Fire and EMS professionals that have gathered together after 911 to discuss and formulate a plan that they feel could enhance the fire and EMS protection countywide at very little cost to the citizens. The group asks that the City review the information and a copy of their proposal has been distributed to the Mayor and council.
Attorney Gerard reported that he had some information for discussion regarding possible real estate acquisition and requested council adjourn into executive session for discussion of said information. Councilman Johnson made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
A copy of the signed affidavit as required by the Open Meeting Law is attached.
After the executive session adjourned, Councilman Johnson made a motion to return to the general session. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Mayor Rozier reported that council had discussed the need to have the real estate appraised before making any decisions on a possible purchase. Councilman Johnson made a motion to obtain an appraisal, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised that Councilman Wedincamp had requested that he be placed on tonight’s agenda to present a final drawing on Cheyenne Road for review and discussion by council. Attorney Gerard reported that he had prepared the paperwork that would need to be executed by the property owners dedicating their portions of the roadway to the City and Councilman Wedincamp had obtained the plat from the surveyor showing said dedications. Attorney Gerard reported that in reviewing the surveyed plat, it appeared that all of the properties now abutted the roadway except the property of Charles Rogers. Mr. Rogers pointed out that he had presented a subdivision for consideration that would solve this problem but its approval was pending the acceptance of the roadway by the City. Attorney Gerard stated that if this property would abut the roadway once the subdivision was approved the plat would meet the dedication requirements. Attorney Gerard pointed out that since some of the property was mortgaged, a release would have to be obtained from the lenders before the City could accept the dedicated roadway, however, there should not be a problem obtaining the releases since the value of the properties would increase with the acceptance of the roadway as a City street. Council was advised that if they agreed to accept the road it should be with the stipulation that all of the required paperwork is executed and filed prior to the recording of the plat and that council should not actually sign the plat until this process has been completed. After a discussion of the matter, Councilman
Waller made a motion to accept the dedication of Cheyenne Road as a public roadway with the stipulation that all of the required paperwork is executed and filed prior to the recording of the plat and that the plat not be signed by council until confirmation of this process has been obtained from Attorney Gerard. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes. Councilman Wedincamp abstained from voting.
Councilman Wedincamp presented a request that the City participate in the extension of water and sewer service under the Jimmy Deloach Parkway to the western DOT right of way of the parkway. Councilman Wedincamp stated that he plans to extend the 2” sewer main and the water main under the parkway and then to his property on Cheyenne Road and felt the City should consider the possibility of putting larger sleeves under the roadway for future development. Councilman Wedincamp reported that the bores would cost approximately $4,000 with the cost for larger sleeves running between 50% and 70% more than the 2” sleeve he plans to have installed. Councilman Johnson stated that although he had no objections to allowing Councilman Wedincamp to extend the services to his property, he was concerned that there are other areas in the City, especially along Hwy 80, that had been requesting water for some time and the main reason it had not been run was because of the water permit issue. Councilman Johnson pointed out that he felt that it would not look very good for the City to allow these extensions of services outside of the core area ahead of areas that have been requesting it for years and the City needed to establish a priority list as to which areas of the City we would extend water and/or sewer before we made commitments. Several council members voiced their concerns about extending the water outside the current service area due to the limitations of our current water permit. Councilman Wedincamp stated that he planned to extend the lines to his property, but just wanted to give the City an opportunity to increase the size of the bores under the Jimmy Deloach Parkway for future growth. Councilman Ray pointed out that the water and sewer mains could not be extended without City approval. Charles Rogers voiced a different opinion based on his interpretation of the City’s utilities ordinance. Mayor Rozier stated that council needed to decide if they wanted to participate in the costs related to the larger bores under Jimmy Deloach Parkway and called for a motion. Council discussed their concerns about extending the water lines until we could get the issues related to our permit resolved. The Mayor suggested we get prices on extending the line under the Jimmy Deloach Parkway at the same time the sewer line was run even if we capped it for future use. Councilman Wedincamp stated that if he was not going to get the water service he would not pay for the extension of the water main or the bore for that line under the parkway. After continued discussion, council members agreed that the City should postpone approval for the running of the water line until their water permit issues were resolved. Councilman Wedincamp stated that he needed a commitment from council on the cost for installing a larger sleeve under Jimmy Deloach Parkway for the sewer. Several council members questioned exactly what was being proposed as far as the costs related to the extensions and the bores and between what points since they would need to know the amount of monies being committed by the City. It was noted that the current sewer line stopped in front of Layne Atlantic which, according to Councilman Wedincamp, was approximately 90’ to 100’ from the parkway. Councilman Wedincamp stated that he would agree to pay the cost for the materials from where the sewer line stopped on Highway 80 to the Jimmy Deloach Parkway and to pay the material and labor costs to bore for a 2” sewer main under the parkway. Councilman Wedincamp further stated that he would take care of the cost for the running of the sewer main from the DOT right of way to his property. Mayor Rozier pointed out that the engineering for the extension and bore would also be paid by Councilman Wedincamp. Attorney Gerard suggested that the City postpone action on this issue until specific costs could be obtained. The Mayor asked Councilman Wedincamp if he could get the exact amounts for the different size bores and bring this information back to council at the next meeting and Councilman Wedincamp stated that he could. Councilman Myrick asked what size line was being considered and the Mayor asked Fett Burke what size lines were currently in the City. Fett Burke stated that he thought there were some 2” and 4” sewer mains located in the City, but an engineer would probably need to determine what size line would be needed for future growth. Fett Burke mentioned that it may be possible that a lift station would be needed to service the area past Jimmy Deloach Parkway. Councilman Johnson asked Councilman Wedincamp didn’t he think an engineer needed to make a determination on what size line would be needed to service that area and Councilman Wedincamp stated it would probably be a good idea. Councilman Ray pointed out that there could be major expense involved in upgrading to anything larger than a 2” sewer main because you would have to go back to the start of the 4” line on Hwy 80. Councilman Wedincamp advised council that he needed to know if he had approval to run the sewer line because he had a construction loan pending a decision on obtaining sewer service. The Mayor stated that if council approved Councilman Wedincamp running the sewer line he would provide the letter he needed for the bank. After additional discussion by council, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the extension of the sewer main by Councilman Wedincamp from where it currently stops on Highway 80 at Layne Atlantic with the City paying only the labor cost of extending the 2” sewer main up to the Jimmy Deloach Parkway and to pay only the difference between the cost of a 2” bore and a larger bore under the parkway to the DOT right of way west of the Jimmy Deloach Parkway with Councilman Wedincamp to provide figures on a larger bore to council at the next meeting. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes. Councilman Wedincamp abstained from voting.
Councilman Johnson advised council that the City was scheduled to host the March, 2004 CMA meeting and he needed to know if council wanted to hold the meeting at the community building and provide the meal or to make arrangements to have it at a restaurant. Councilman Johnson suggested that if we decided to handle the meal that we have it catered and make that person completely responsible for the event to include the setting up and cleaning up of the building. Councilman Johnson also stated that he would like for the City to invite the spouses to the meeting. After discussing the options, council agreed to use the community building as the location and have the meal catered with the spouses to be included. The Mayor asked Councilman Johnson to contact caterers to get some meal options and prices and he agreed.
Mayor Rozier stated that this concluded the agenda items that were presented prior to the Friday, January 9, 2004 deadline.
The Mayor advised council that he had invited the Amersons to attend tonight’s meeting to discuss water and sewer service to his property and the opening of Poplar Street, but failed to have the clerk add the matter to the agenda. Mayor Rozier asked council to consider adding this issue to the agenda because the Amersons had two requests to present to council. Councilman Ray made a motion to add Don Amerson to the agenda for the discussion of water and sewer service to his property and the opening of Poplar Street. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Johnson, Myrick, Ray, and Waller. Councilman Wedincamp had not re-joined council. The Mayor asked Councilman Wedincamp to return to the podium to participate in the discussion of these requests and he agreed. Council was advised by Don Amerson that he was requesting that the City extend the water and sewer service further down the unopened portion of Poplar Street to his property. Mr.
Amerson was advised that the City had no objections to the running of the services; however, the costs of said extensions would be his responsibility. Mr. Amerson asked how much this would run and was advised that the cost would be $2.50 per foot, per service. Council was advised by Mr. Amerson that he needed to know if he could get a building permit because he wanted to get started on his house. It was noted that the City had given Mr. Amerson information regarding the opening of the roadway at a previous meeting and granted him a variance to open the road to 40’ rather than 60’ and waived the paving requirement. Ms. Amerson stated that this information was for Boulevard Street and he now wanted to open Poplar Street instead because it was a shorter distance. Mr. Amerson asked that council consider allowing him to open Poplar Street from the end of the existing driveway rather than starting at Garvin Street because the unopened 40’ right of way cuts through the two existing houses. Ms. Amerson stated that Attorney Gerard had advised them that they had the right to use the existing unopened roadway as access to the property. Attorney Gerard pointed out that use of the unopened roadway to access their property had never been the issue since they did have that right; however, the issue was that in order to obtain a building permit the ordinance requires that the property must abut a public right of way or a privately maintained access easement that meets City specifications. The Mayor asked if council could grant a variance. Attorney Gerard stated that council would have to determine whether a variance of the roadway requirement was justified by clearly stating their reasons for said variance before a building permit could be issued on a road that did not meet these specifications. The Mayor pointed out that there was a problem with Mr. Amerson opening the roadway all the way back to Garvin Street because two houses have been built within the unopened 40’ right of way. After discussing the matters at length, Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to approve the extension of the water and sewer service to the property of Don Amerson with the stipulation that Mr. Amerson pays for the cost of said extensions at a rate of $5.00 per foot ($2.50 per foot, per service) as well as the applicable tap fees and grinder pump costs; that council allow Mr. Amerson to extend Poplar Street from the end of the existing driveway serving houses at #403 & #405 Poplar Street and along the width of his property rather than having to start from Garvin Street; and grant a variance to the City’s zoning ordinance to allow for the issuance of a building permit to Don Amerson for his property after council has approved the finished work on said roadway that must meet the City’s specifications regarding construction and drainage. The motion was seconded by Councilman Waller and passed with five affirmative votes.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn at 9:30pm, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor and Councilmembers Johnson, Myrick, Ray, Waller and Wedincamp were present at the meeting.