February 19, 2004
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Waller leading in prayer.
The minutes of the February 4th 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 received correspondence from City of Pooler’s Attorney Steve Sheer regarding the Pooler/Bloomingdale Waste Water Treatment Facility Agreement Amendment, but Attorney Sheer did not address the portions of the agreement that Bloomingdale was not willing to agree to. Attorney Gerard reaffirmed the City’s position on these items in correspondence to Attorney Sheer’s office on February 8th, but has received no response.
Council was advised that the lawsuit against Barry Anderson for damage to the City’s 1995 Ford Garbage Truck is being processed.
The council was informed that Councilman Wedincamp reports that he has distributed right of way deeds for Cheyenne Road to the property owners for their signatures and Attorney Gerard is waiting on responses from some of the mortgage companies. It was noted that as previously agreed by council, once the mortgage companies have executed their releases, the right of way deeds have been signed and recorded, and the owners have signed the plat, council can approve the execution of the plat for the recording of Cheyenne Road as a public right of way.
The Mayor advised council that the clerk has made copies of the right of way deeds that were signed and recorded for the property that was paved in 1997 on Osteen Road north of the Seaboard Coastline Railroad as well as copies of other related documents and they are available for review. Mayor Rozier recognized Andrew Rawlings who stated that he lives at #437 Osteen Road and questioned why it was necessary to obtain additional right of way for the paving of Osteen Road. Mr. Rawlings provided City Attorney Gerard and council members with copies of some information that was prepared in 1991 showing right of way that was provided by his mother, Barbara Rawlings, for Osteen Road. Mr. Rawlings stated that he did not understand why the City could not pave the road with the right of way that had already been dedicated. Attorney Gerard pointed out that when the Department of Transportation prepared the abstracts for the paving of the roadway they apparently came to the conclusion that additional right of way was going to be needed to meet their requirements and deeds were prepared for execution at that time by the DOT that would have to be signed to obtain this right of way. The Attorney pointed out that it may be possible that the right of way that Ms. Rawlings assumed she had dedicated to the county had not been recorded as such, but he would have to review the information on record at Chatham County before he could determine if this was the case. Mr. Rawlings advised council that his mother was very upset because the people on Osteen Road that wanted the road to be paved were told that his mother was reason it had not been paved. Mr. Rawlings reported that his mother said that when she came to the meeting she was told that there were no guarantees that the road would be paved even if she gave the right of way and she didn’t want to give the additional right of way if the road was not going to be paved. Mayor Rozier advised Mr. Rawlings that he could not guarantee the road would be paved either, just as he was sure former Mayor Strozier’s position would have been, however, until some research can be done on the documents he provided, council would not know exactly what had happened and stated that this matter would be tabled until the next meeting to give the Attorney an opportunity to review information. The Mayor asked if anyone else had any documents regarding Osteen Road for presentation at this time, but no one else came forward. Attorney Gerard asked Mr. Rawlings if the strip that was on the paperwork he gave council coincided with the actual roadway and was advised that it did. The matter was tabled until the March 4th meeting.
Mayor Rozier reported that he had attended the Chatham County Commission meeting last week and the City’s annexation plans for property along Osteen Road had been discussed. When asked by commission members why Bloomingdale was not going to take the road as well, the Mayor stated he advised them that according to information he had obtained from county and state documents there was a problem with the Osteen Road Bridge and until this problem was addressed by the county the City was not interested in taking the road. Mayor Rozier reported that he also advised the commission that the City was already faced with repairs to the Wildcat Dam Road Bridge that existed while the road was in the county, but was not repair prior to Bloomingdale annexing Wildcat Dam Road, and the City had no plans to take on another bridge with similar problems.
Mayor Rozier stated that there was no new information to report at this time on the City’s water permit issue.
Citizen Russell Lee asked if the Mayor had any information regarding the paving of East Main Street in front of his home and the Mayor advised him that he had not had an opportunity to check into his request.
Councilman Myrick presented a recommendation on behalf of the Public Safety Committee to hire an additional police officer. Being no discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to hire the officer, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to amend the 2003/2004 budget to increase the fines and forfeiture revenues to cover this expenditure. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Myrick then made a motion for those current employees who did not receive the 5.5% cost of living increase in January to be given said increase effective March 1, 2004. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to amend the 2003/2004 budget to increase the fines and forfeitures and other general fund revenues to cover these expenses. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier presented for council’s consideration a resolution showing support for the City of Rincon’s pursuit of additional water capacity. After the Mayor read the resolution, Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve its adoption. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented for council’s discussion a resolution supporting a Joint Land Use Study for the Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield sites should base closures become a reality. Mayor Rozier pointed out that approval of the resolution is a commitment by the City to appoint a representative to the JLUS policy committee and to consider funding its local matching share of the cost of the JLUS once determined by the policy committee and brought back to the City of Bloomingdale. The Mayor stated that the anticipated cost would run less than $1,000, but noted that council would have an opportunity to approve payment of this expense before it took place. Based on this information, Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve adoption of the resolution, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the Planning & Zoning Commission recommends that the subdivision request received from Wayne Tipton for a 201.13 acre tract he owns off Pine Barren Road be considered for approval as a minor, rather than a major, subdivision. It was noted that in January, 2001, a minor subdivision consisting of three lots was approved for Mr. Tipton and one of the lots included in the subdivision was this 201.13 acre tract. Mr. Tipton’s original request had been for four lots, but since a four lot division would have involved a major subdivision, he changed the request to three lots. Mr. Tipton is now requesting that this 201.13 tract be divided into two 100 acre tracts. The properties are being accessed by a privately-maintained 60’ access easement. The Subdivision Ordinance, Section 604, item (f) states that: “provided that where a series of minor subdivisions are developed or proposed immediately adjacent to one another, the planning commission or other review agency may require the developer to comply with the procedure for major subdivisions.” The Planning & Zoning Commission is recommending approval of this division as a minor subdivision because of the amount of land involved and that the land is not going to be used for development and all parties have access to their properties. Council was advised that if the council agrees that the subdivision should be approved as a minor subdivision as presented by the Planning & Zoning Commission, there needs to be a motion to accept their recommendation with the stipulation that the Chatham County Health Department sign off on the plat prior to its submission to council for their signatures. The Mayor recognized Wayne Tipton who pointed out that the properties were merely going to be used for pasture land and horses. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the subdivision as a minor subdivision with the stipulation that the Chatham County Health Department sign off on the plat as stated above. Councilman Wedincamp seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The council was informed that the Planning & Zoning Commission has set a public hearing date of March 16, 2004 at 6:30pm to receive citizen input on the following: 1) A text amendment to the zoning ordinance to allow utility/storage buildings in a C-2 zone as a conditional use, 2) A request from Del Ferguson to rezone Lots 8 & 9 on Highway 80 from C-1 to C-2, and 3) The zoning of properties proposed for annexation and owned by the Morgan Family and Ferman & Ginger Tyler located on Osteen Road to RA-1, residential-agricultural, as outlined in their petition.
The Mayor stated that Councilman Tyler was not present at tonight’s meeting, but he had discussed with him the need to move forward on getting specifications and bid information for the fencing at the Maple Street lift station. Councilman Tyler had explained to him that he wanted to use a wooden fence to help corral the smell, but council pointed out that since the vent pipe was 8’ high the fence would not help with this problem. Council members discussed this issue and agreed that a wooden fence would pose more maintenance problems and would also prevent the police department from seeing someone who might be inside the fence tampering with the equipment. Council agreed for the Mayor to pursue getting sealed bids from three (3) companies to install chain link fencing at the lift station. Citizen Russell Lee stated that there was still a smell at the lift station and Councilman Johnson asked Fett Burke if there had been any problems with the scrubber. Mr. Burke stated that he was not aware of any recent problems, but would check with Ernest Grizzard. Councilman Johnson commented that when problems have occurred in the past it had been a direct result of problems with the scrubber.
Councilman Wedincamp asked council to consider a proposal to encourage property owners having abandoned wells on their property to register the wells with the City and to re-open said wells for irrigation, the washing of vehicles, and other similar non-household uses. Councilman Johnson asked him how many abandoned wells did he think were in the City and Councilman Wedincamp estimated the number at about 70 or 80. Councilman Myrick asked how much Councilman Wedincamp thought it would cost a homeowner to re-open a well and he stated that he felt it could be done for about $150. Councilman Wedincamp reported that the City needs to try to locate the abandoned wells because in the next year or so we were going to have to provide this information to the state and the residents were going to have to either re-open the wells or pour them with concrete and cap them. Councilman Wedincamp stated that the permanent closing of the wells would be at the homeowner’s expense so he thought we should encourage them to use the monies it would cost to close them to put them back in operation. Councilman Wedincamp proposed that the City waive any inspection fees related to the re-opening of the wells to encourage citizens to register them with the City. After additional discussion, Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to waive the inspection fees and to put this information out to the citizens. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Wedincamp stated that he would get with the editor of the “Spirit” to see if he could place an article in the paper and the Mayor pointed out that we could put this information on the website.
Mayor Rozier stated that he had been considering establishing an electronic newsletter and if anyone was interested in registering for this to let him know.
The Mayor informed council that he had been approached by someone who was interested in purchasing the City’s property located off Wildcat Dam Road and he wanted to know if council was interested in selling it. Councilman Johnson stated that he was against selling it because if the City pursued its own lift station, this may be the best location and even if it were not used for that purpose, there could be other needs in the future. Councilman Myrick stated he felt the City should keep the property for possible recreational uses or other civic purposes and pointed out that property for sell in this area was scarce. Councilman Ray and Councilman Waller agreed that the City needed to keep the property. Councilman Johnson pointed out that having property on the other end of town was valuable and it could be put to a variety of uses. Mayor Rozier stated that he would pass this information on to the person that inquired about its availability.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Waller made a motion to pay the bills. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Citizen Billy Strozier asked Mayor Rozier why the City had passed an ordinance prohibiting chain link fences in commercial zones. Mayor Rozier advised him that council had already asked the Planning & Zoning Commission to look at the fence ordinance to make some changes and this was one item that would be addressed. Councilman Johnson pointed out that safety issues had been raised about having solid fences at businesses where customers were trying to exit onto the highway.
Mayor Rozier stated that this completed the items that were on the agenda.
The Mayor was advised that a home occupation license request had been submitted prior to the agenda deadline, but was not included in the agenda items. Councilman Johnson made a motion to add this item to the agenda for discussion, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. The Mayor presented a request from Earl Newman to operate the “office only” of a construction cleanup, pressure washing, and lawn care business from his residence located at #7 Osteen Road. Mr. Newman reports that he will not be storing any equipment on the property as he will be renting the pressure washing equipment on a job by job basis. Also, Mr. Newman has stated that there will be no outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence. Council was advised that this would be considered a home occupation business and council has the option to waive the public hearing requirement. Councilman Ray made a motion to waive the public hearing, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to issue the home occupation license to Earl Newman at #7 Osteen Road. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. The meeting adjourned at 7:45pm.
Mayor Rozier and Council members Johnson, Myrick, Ray, Waller and Wedincamp were present at the meeting.