February 5, 2004
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Ray leading in prayer. The minutes of the January 15, 2004 meeting were reviewed. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier stated that he was going to change the order of the agenda to discuss the City’s water permit increase status as the first order of old business. The Mayor reported that he had been advised that the EPD was requiring that all water permit increases and permits for the lower Floridian Aquifer be referred to the Regional Water Supplier who, in our case, was the City of Savannah. The Mayor pointed out, however, that he had not yet received anything in writing verifying the EPD’s position. Based on this preliminary information, he had invited Mayor Buddy Carter from Pooler to discuss with council their experience in dealing with the City of Savannah in regards to obtaining additional water. Mayor Carter thanked Mayor Rozier and City Council for allowing him to come to the meeting to explain Pooler’s position regarding the EPD’s plans to require approval from the regional supplier before obtaining water permits. Mayor Carter stated that it was his understanding that this is merely a proposal and the EPD is taking comments from water suppliers until March 15th. Mayor Carter reported that he planned, on behalf of the City of Pooler, to oppose this proposal because he did not feel that the City of Savannah should have control on whether or not cities could seek other sources to supply their water needs. According to Mayor Carter the proposal is worded in such a way as to only apply to Chatham County and Northern Effingham County and, if approved, it would pressure both Bloomingdale and Rincon into tying into Savannah’s system as well as other cities located close to Savannah. Council was advised by Mayor Carter that in 1997 the City of Pooler signed an agreement with Savannah to supply additional water needs for the Pooler area, but Savannah has absolute authority in the agreement. The positive side of the agreement was that it allowed for additional development in Pooler, but the down side is that the agreement identifies certain areas in which the water can be used and it would basically stop Pooler from supplying annexed areas with water received from Savannah, therefore, curbing their annexation plans. The Mayor pointed out that last year during annexation negotiations, Pooler had water to provide International Paper, but due to the ERU costs charged by Savannah, IP indicated that the development costs were too high. Mayor Carter stated that it was because of these same higher development costs that Pooler was forced to pass on to areas served by Savannah’s water supply that he objected to Bloomingdale being allowed to increase their water permit because he felt that it would not be equitable for Bloomingdale’s costs to be reduced by not having to obtain their water from Savannah. Mayor Carter advised council that there was a misconception by Bloomingdale that he initiated and pursued the attempt to stop Bloomingdale’s water permit increase, but that was not so. Mayor Carter stated that there had been a lot of tension between the cities in the past, but the City of Savannah was the one that initiated the challenge to the EPD’s decision to increase Bloomingdale’s permit, not the City of Pooler. Councilman Johnson advised Mayor Carter that he had a good memory and Bloomingdale officials as well as Representative Ron Stephens had been advised by EPD that we would receive an increase in our permit of 120,000 mgd, but after receiving correspondence from both the City of Pooler and the City of Savannah, he changed his mind—much to the surprise of everyone involved in the negotiation process except the cities of Pooler and Savannah. Mayor Carter stated that he did not have any objections to Bloomingdale’s increase in their permit but he objected to use of the water bank resources because that water was supposed to be used for areas where it was not feasible to tie into other sources. Councilman Johnson pointed out that Bloomingdale’s need for additional water stemmed from a mistake by our engineers in reviewing our permit and the increase we were requesting was a nominal one. Councilman Wedincamp asked Mayor Carter if he had it to do over again would he sign an agreement with the City of Savannah to provide water to Pooler. Mayor Carter stated that he would sign it again because Pooler could not have developed as they had without the additional water, so he had no other choice. Mayor Carter pointed out that developers will not come without services or the ability to get services in an area. Mayor Carter encouraged Bloomingdale to continue to look at other sources of water.
Mayor Carter stressed the importance of Bloomingdale and Pooler completing their negotiations on the amendment to the Pooler/Bloomingdale Waste Water Treatment Facility Agreement. Mayor Rozier pointed out that this was the next item on the agenda and advised Mayor Carter that Attorney Gerard had finally received a response from the City of Pooler’s Attorney, Steve Sheer, regarding comments on the agreement and was reviewing the information.
Attorney Gerard reported that he was pursuing the filing of documents related to the lawsuit against Barry Anderson for damage to the City’s 1995 Ford Garbage Truck.
Council was informed that Attorney Gerard has submitted the paperwork to the mortgage companies on behalf of the property owners on Cheyenne Road and is waiting on their responses. It was noted that Councilman Wedincamp was in the process of obtaining the signatures on the plat and other related documents from said owners.
Councilman Wedincamp stated that he was just going to go ahead with his plans to install a 2” sewer line under the Jimmy Deloach Parkway to serve his development on Cheyenne Road rather than involve the City at this time. It was noted that the council had already agreed to participate in the expense to increase the bore under Jimmy Deloach Parkway, but needed a cost comparison on casing sizes from Councilman Wedincamp. Councilman Wedincamp stated that he was using a 4” casing to handle the 2” line because the bore had to be twice the size of the line and if the City planned to put a 6” line under the parkway, the casing had to be 12”. Councilman Wedincamp stated that a 12” casing would cost $4800. Councilman Johnson asked if the 2” line was going to handle his development without his having to install a lift station. Councilman Myrick pointed out that the size lines that had been installed throughout the City were designed to serve the existing sewer service area and wanted him to make sure that before he ran the 2” line that it would serve his development. Councilman Wedincamp advised council that the 2” line would only be serving ten houses and he felt it was adequate. Councilman Wedincamp stated that he had originally planned for eleven lots, but one had to be used for a well site since City water was not available.
Council was advised that at the January 15, 2004 meeting, the first reading of the amendment to the municipal utilities ordinance had been approved to increase the reconnection fees for services turned off for non-payment to $40.00 per service. Since this is an amendment to the ordinance, council needed to approve the second reading and the adoption of the amendment. Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve the second reading and adoption of an amendment to the municipal utilities ordinance to increase the reconnection fees for services turned off for non-payment to $40.00 per service effective April 1, 2004. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was informed that D.K. Morgan had presented information from his surveyor indicating that the property he owns at #1720 East Hwy 80 previously existed as a 90’ road frontage lot. Attorney Gerard had reviewed the information from the surveyor and advises that since there are two lots of record, a subdivision of the tract will not be required and this information has been provided to Mr. Morgan.
The council was reminded that on February 21, 2002, council approved the postponement of the installation of bathroom facilities at #1722 E. Hwy 80 by the owner, D.K. Morgan, as long as the same tenant was using both buildings, but with the understanding that if, at any time, a different tenant should rent either one of the buildings Mr. Morgan would be required to install bathroom facilities in the building located at #1722 E. Hwy 80. Mr. Morgan has advised the City that Lanier Supply no longer wants to use the building at #1724 E. Hwy 80 for their offices and he wants to rent this building to another business. Based on the previous agreement, bathroom facilities must now be constructed at #1722 E. Hwy 80. Mr. Morgan is requesting that he be allowed to go ahead and rent the building at #1724 E. Hwy 80 to another business while he is constructing the bathroom facilities at #1722 E. Hwy 80. Mr. Morgan was asked how soon the tenant planned to move into the building and he stated that as soon as council gave him permission, the tenant would move in. Councilman Ray asked what Lanier Supply employees were going to do about bathroom facilities in the meantime and Mr. Morgan stated that the tenant at #1722 E. Hwy 80 would agree for them to use those facilities until the other ones were finished. Councilman Johnson asked him how long he thought it would take to construct the bathroom and Mr. Morgan stated he would like to have until July 1st. Councilman Johnson questioned why he would need five (5) months to put in a bathroom and Councilman Myrick reminded Mr. Morgan that since these buildings were served by grinder pumps he would not have to be involved in the installation of a septic tank and that should speed up the process. Mr. Morgan stated that he felt he needed several months to complete the project. Mayor Rozier asked him if he could finish by May 1st, but Mr. Morgan advised council that he needed more time than that. The Mayor asked if he could finish by June 1st and Mr. Morgan agreed to that deadline. Councilman Myrick made a motion to allow D.K. Morgan until June 1, 2004 to complete construction of bathroom facilities at #1722 E. Hwy 80 and connect to City sewer service by that date and to allow the issuance of an occupational license to the new tenant at #1724 E. Hwy 80 prior to the completion of said bathroom facilities at #1722 E. Hwy 80. Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Council members Myrick, Ray, Tyler and Wedincamp. Councilman Johnson voted against the motion because he felt that was too long to allow for the construction of a bathroom.
Mayor Rozier advised council the City needed to discuss the setting of the annual sanitation rate for D.K. Morgan’s mobile home parks for 2004. It was noted that Mr. Morgan normally pays the fees in advance for all of his parks and receives a discount of $1.00 per month, per occupied lot. Based on the current rate of $14.00 per month, Mr. Morgan’s rate would be $13.00 per month, per occupied lot provided he pays the fees, in advance, in full. After a brief discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve the $13.00 per month, per occupied lot rate provided he pays in advance. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Mr. Morgan asked about getting the trash service for the mobile home parks and Councilman Johnson stated he would get with General Maintenance Supervisor Fett Burke to see what would be involved in the City providing this service.
The Mayor presented a request from Douglas Duke at #707 E. Moore Street to operate the “office only” of a painting business from his residence. Mr. Duke indicates that he is the only employee of the business and the only vehicle to be used in said business is a personal pickup truck. Council was advised that this would be considered a home occupation business and they have the option to waive the public hearing requirement provided there is no outside traffic coming to the business. Mayor Rozier informed Mr. Duke that the City had recently had complaints and problems with painting contractors washing out paint cans and brushes at their residences. Mr. Duke assured council that there would be no clean up of supplies or equipment at the residence—only at the job site. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to grant the home occupation license to Mr. Duke for the “office only” of his painting business to be operated from #707 E. Moore Street. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the DOT had submitted for the City’s execution a certificate of ownership and agreement which are necessary for the resurfacing of Cregor Street between Pine and Chestnut Streets under the LARP program. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to authorize Mayor Rozier to execute the documents related to this project, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Wedincamp stated that he had been approached by some citizens living on Osteen Road south of the Seaboard Coastline Railroad about the condition of the roadway and they were to attend tonight’s meeting to discuss the problems with council. Councilman Wedincamp recognized Citizens Hugh and Shiela Lowe who were the only residents living off Osteen Road present at the meeting. The Lowes stated that they use Osteen Road as access to Howard Drive and the roadway was in bad shape. Ms. Lowe asked if there was any way the road could be paved. Mayor Rozier stated that it was his understanding that there had to be a 60’ dedicated right of way before the City could get state funds to help with the project and he had been told that one citizen living in the area south of the Seaboard Coastline Railroad would not agree to provide the right of way. Ms. Lowe stated that she had also heard this same information, but Barbara Rawlings, who she understood was the resident who would not sign the right of way, assured her that this information was incorrect. Ms. Lowe reported that Ms. Rawlings told her that her husband had already dedicated right of way to the county in the past. Councilman Johnson explained that when the Osteen Road paving project was initiated the DOT, along with the elected officials, had met with the citizens living on Osteen Road to go over the right of way maps showing the amount of footage that would be needed to be dedicated to the City for the state to participate in the paving project. The initial plans were to pave Osteen Road from the existing pavement to the end of the City limits. Ms. Rawlings and members of her family were present at the meeting and she stated that she was not going to provide the right of way because they did not want the road paved. Councilman Johnson stated that the City changed the project to include only the area north of the railroad. Mayor Rozier asked former Mayor Billy Strozier if he knew what had taken place. Mr. Strozier confirmed the information provided by Councilman Johnson and stated that at the meeting Ms. Rawlings advised him, the council, and the DOT that she was not giving up any property for the paving of the road. After her refusal to dedicate the right of way, the DOT advised the City that they would not get involved in a condemnation process for right of way acquisition and in order to avoid losing funds for all of the road by the delays that would occur if this process were followed that the City should change their request to include the portions of the roadway for which they could obtain right of way and that is what the City did. The plans were changed to pave Osteen Road from the existing pavement up to the right of way of the Seaboard Coastline Railroad. Mayor Rozier stated that he wanted to table this discussion until the information on the right of ways could be reviewed and council agreed.
Citizen Russell Lee requested that the City consider the paving of the section of E. Main Street in front of his residence. This section is between Cypress Street & the lift station. Council discussed the matter and questions were raised about whether this would be paved as a one way street in this section or would the railroad bed property be used for a two way street. Councilman Ray pointed out that he was not sure if this section of the old railroad bed was the 60’ width that you would need for participation. Mayor Rozier asked Mr. Lee to allow him some time to look into the matter and Mr. Lee agreed to wait but stated that he had approached council last year and nothing had been done. The Mayor assured him he would look into the request.
Council was advised that the City’s contract with Bill Saxman for consulting work related to planning and zoning issues has expired. When questioned about his interest in renewing the contract Mr. Saxman provided a written response agreeing to assist the City with short term issues of no more than 4 hours per week at a rate of $100 per hour for the first part of 2004. Mr. Saxman advised in his response that he will be undergoing eye surgery in the spring and will be doing some traveling in the summer and fall of 2004, so he will be limited in the consulting services he can provide to the City later in the year. It was noted that in his letter, Mr. Saxman commented that he feels the City would be better served with a full time planning position which would also serve as a code enforcement official. Mr. Saxman points out that with the anticipated growth in this area, a full time staff position dedicated to planning, zoning, and code enforcement, could begin working with the Mayor, Council, and Planning Commission in evaluating the existing codes to be sure that they provide the regulations and design standards needed to insure that the future growth in the City will be in compliance with the wishes of its citizens. Attorney Gerard advised council that Bill Saxman had called him this afternoon and stated that he had discussed with the MPC the possibility of their agency providing a staff person to assist the cities with this type service and if the cost to provide the person was shared by several cities the costs would be much more reasonable. According to Mr. Saxman, the new director, Thomas Thomson, would like to meet with city officials and a representative from the Planning & Zoning Commission to discuss the issue. Council agreed that pursuing this option would probably be beneficial to the City. The Mayor asked Del Ferguson if he felt using Mr. Saxman for short term projects would help the Planning & Zoning Commission in their review process. Mr. Ferguson stated that although Mr. Saxman’s recommendations were often to deny requests, he still felt the Planning & Zoning Commission needed some guidance in their review of rezoning, subdivision, and development requests and Mr. Saxman had this experience. Council members agreed that until an alternative option was developed, Mr. Saxman’s assistance was needed. Councilman Johnson made a motion to continue using Mr. Saxman for consulting services on a job by job basis for the reviewing of rezoning requests, subdivisions, and development plans using the same process currently being followed at a rate of $100 per hour and 36.5 cents per mile mileage reimbursement. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The council was advised that the City had received a request from Clearance McNeil who lives in the City of Pooler to tap into the City of Bloomingdale’s interceptor line that transports sewerage from Bloomingdale to Pooler to serve their residence. The Mayor recognized Dennis Lales representing the contractor, Chatham Home Builders, who is working with Mr. McNeil on his construction plans. Mr. Lales stated that it is his understanding that there are neighbors in the area, who also live in Pooler, that are using the grinder pump system and according to the City of Pooler they are tapped into Bloomingdale’s line. Councilman Tyler, Chairman of the Water/Sewer Committee, stated that if there are other homes tied into the line, we need to find out where the connection has been made. Councilman Tyler also stated that the City’s Water/Sewer Supervisor, Ernest Grizzard, had checked the “as-built” plans but could not find the line on the plans. Councilman Tyler expressed his concerns about having an individual low pressure service line connecting directly into the City’s 10” force main. Not only was there concern that the grinder pump may not work efficiently, but there were questions about maintenance and possible damage to the force main. Mr. Lales stated that John Wynn has assured them that the City of Pooler would accept full responsibility for the maintenance of the grinder pump and lateral line. Councilman Johnson asked Mr. McNeil if he had enough property to install a septic tank or was there a problem with the soil. Mr. Lales stated that the health department had advised them that if there is City sewer available within 200’ of the property a permit would not be issued for an individual septic tank. Council was advised that Pooler’s line was at least 200’ away, but Bloomingdale’s line was closer. Attorney Gerard pointed out that the service line has to be available for connection for this law to apply and as Councilman Tyler has stated, Bloomingdale has concerns about allowing taps to its interceptor line. Councilman Johnson suggested that maybe there was a lateral line running off of the 10” force main that these other houses are connected to—possibly along Wildcat Dam Road. After council discussed the matter, Councilman Tyler stated he would check into the situation to see if he could determine if a tap had been made into the interceptor line and, if so, where it was located. The matter was tabled until he could get this information.
Mayor Rozier presented the following recommendations and requests from the Planning & Zoning Commission:
1) The commission members have reviewed the group development information provided by Attorney Gerard and feel the City’s zoning ordinance needs to be amended to include this type category. Attorney Gerard pointed out that part of the information the commission had been reviewing included site plan requirements and asked Del Ferguson, Chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission, if the members wanted the site plan review ordinance to be amended to include group development projects. It was noted that the site plan requirement would provide information about access, setbacks, parking and other criteria that would be reviewed and approved before issuance of a group development permit. Del Ferguson agreed that the site plan review should be part of the approval process. Attorney Gerard stated that he would prepare the amendments to the zoning ordinance and asked if Planning Commission wanted to review the amendments before he brought them back to council. Del Ferguson asked that the Planning Commission have an opportunity to review the amendments.
2) The Planning & Zoning Commission is requesting approval from council for them to pursue the development of a tree ordinance. It was noted that the commission had asked for this directive several months ago, but due to an oversight Chairman Tipton had not presented their request to the council. Attorney Gerard stated that there are some simple versions of tree ordinances and if the commission was interested, he could furnish samples to them. Del Ferguson stated he would like to get copies of them for the commission’s review. Councilman Johnson pointed out that he had worked with both Chatham County’s and the City of Savannah’s tree ordinances and they both could be a lot simpler. Councilman Tyler made a motion to give approval to the Planning & Zoning Commission to proceed with the development of a “simple” tree ordinance. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Wedincamp pointed out that the Planning & Zoning Commission was also supposed to be reviewing the fence and sign ordinances and recommend a more simplified version. Attorney Gerard stated that the initial sign ordinance that he had proposed was only a few pages, however, the final version was much more complicated. Del Ferguson asked that Attorney Gerard furnish the commission with copies of the first ordinance for their review.
3) Council was advised by Del Ferguson that the Planning & Zoning Commission had reviewed the subdivision plan submitted by Councilman Wedincamp and approved it as a “sketch plan”. He pointed out that although the minutes had reflected the commission approving a preliminary plan, the plan that was submitted did not comply with the requirements of the subdivision ordinance. Councilman Wedincamp questioned what else had to be on the plans and was advised that the subdivision ordinance outlines the specific requirements including grading and drainage plans, utility and paving details, flood zone information and other information. Attorney Gerard asked if Councilman Wedincamp had a set of plans prepared by an engineering giving this type information and he stated that he did. Council accepted the Planning & Zoning Commission’s recommendation regarding approval of the sketch plan as a matter of information and it was noted that the preliminary plans would need to be submitted to the Planning & Zoning Commission at least twenty (20) days before their meeting as required by the subdivision ordinance.
Councilman Myrick stated that he wanted to table his recommendations from the Public Safety Committee until he could hold another meeting with the members.
Council was advised that Chief Gossett is requesting adjustments to the 2003/2004 budget to transfer $3000 from capital outlay to operating expenses and to transfer $2000 from capital outlay to uniforms. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve said transfers, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor announced that the City of Port Wentworth’s “Stand Up for America Day” parade and festivities have been scheduled for Saturday, April 24, 2004 and the deadline for registering for participation is April 16, 2004.
Mayor Rozier reported that this concludes the items that were presented prior to the agenda deadline of Friday, January 30, 2004.
Councilman Tyler stated that he felt the City needed to make some decisions on what they were going to do regarding water issues—were we going to tie into Savannah or not and, if not, were we financially able to bear the expense of pursuing a lawsuit against EPD. Councilman Tyler pointed out that the City needed to let its citizens know what the City’s position is going to be so they will know what is going on. Councilman Johnson stated that it may be feasible for the City to join with Richmond Hill and Rincon in their pursuit of other water resources. Mayor Rozier pointed out that he felt Bloomingdale was in a better position than Rincon because we had not signed an agreement with Savannah and neither had we spent money on the testing required for a permit in the Lower Floridian Aquifer. Councilman Tyler stated that he planned to attend a hearing that was to be held in Effingham County on February 12th concerning Rincon’s water situation and maybe after that date the City could make some decisions.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Tyler made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. The meeting adjourned at 8:15pm.
Mayor Rozier and Councilmembers Johnson, Myrick, Ray, Tyler and Wedincamp were present at the meeting.