July 15, 2004
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Waller leading in prayer. The minutes of the June 17, 2004 meeting were reviewed. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier reported that execution of the quit claim deeds needed for the dedication of Cregor Street are under review by the New Hope Baptist Church, Charles Rogers and Issac LaRoche. Charles Rogers advised council that he had some questions about the wording of the deeds and wanted to get these cleared up before proceeding with execution of the documents.
Council was advised that the City has not received a response from William Russell McAllister since he received the 2nd letter from Mayor Rozier that he had fifteen (15) days to clear up the overgrown conditions of his property located at #14 Osteen Road or the City crews would clear the property and he would be responsible for the cost. It was noted that the notice was received by Mr. McAllister on June 26, 2004 and the fifteen day deadline to have the property cleared expired this week. Since the problem had not been handled by Mr. McAllister, Councilman Tyler made a motion to have the property cleared by City crews and bill the property owner for the cost. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Councilman Tyler reported that he had talked with Donny Tuten regarding his request to disconnect several of the residences on Tuten Avenue from City water service and asked that this matter be removed from future agendas since any steps Mr. Tuten would need to take regarding the disconnections would be state regulated and would not involve City Council.
The Mayor reported that the City had received notification from the Board of Education that right of way had been granted across the rear of the Bloomingdale Elementary School property so the City of Bloomingdale could construct a dirt road between Pine and Church Streets to help alleviate the traffic control problems. Council was advised that preparation of the road is underway.
Council was advised that, as requested by District State Aid Coordinator, Hayden Rozier, a letter has been sent to the DOT advising them of the City’s request to obtain state paving funds for Church and Lynn Streets. The Mayor reported that once we receive information about how much assistance the state will provide, the City can review the other priority streets and submit additional funding requests to the state.
Mayor Rozier reported that the council had agreed at the June 17th meeting to obtain cost estimates from an engineer for the repairs to the Osteen Road Bridge, but since the estimates would be an additional expense for the City, some members would prefer the county go ahead and make the repairs before the City considers annexing the road and the bridge. After additional discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion that Chatham County would have to bring the Osteen Road Bridge up to DOT standards before the City would annex additional portions of Osteen Road or the Osteen Road Bridge. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Mayor Rozier stated he would reaffirm council’s position on this matter with Commissioner Kicklighter although he had already advised him that questions had been raised about the additional expense to the City.
The council was informed that a letter had been sent to David & Betty Hicks outlining the City’s requirements for them to occupy the non-conforming mobile home located at #1301A East Highway 80 as a “medical hardship” case and this information was received by David Hicks on June 24, 2004. It was noted that they have until July 24, 2004 to return the signed agreement which outlines the terms the City will require them to meet to occupy the mobile home, along with the physicians’ statements, or the temporary sewer service that was approved by Mayor Rozier is subject to disconnection.
Mayor Rozier reported that the Group Development Ordinance and amended Site Plan Ordinance are under review by council and Attorney Dickey. Attorney Dickey suggested that council consider adopting two separate ordinances regarding group developments-one for commercial properties and the other for residential areas. Attorney Dickey pointed out that two separate ordinances would allow for sufficient language to address issues that applied specifically to each zone. Attorney Dickey stated that he would review some model ordinances available through GMA and bring back proposed changes to council.
Councilman Myrick reported that due to conflicting schedules, the meeting with the director and Recreation Committee members to set guidelines for Bloomingdale Recreation Executive Board members has not yet been held. After a brief discussion with Joe Young and committee members, a meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, July 20th at 7:00pm at City Hall.
Attorney Dickey reported that he had been in contact with Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co. about the changes that will be needed to the Letter of Agreement for Services for their preparation of the Drainage Master Plan before its approval, but had not received the revised document from the engineering firm.
Councilman Tyler reported that he should have the easement information next week from the engineers for the drainage ditches at Wallace Circle, Oak Street, and off Highway 80. Councilman Tyler stated that he would like council’s approval for City crews to go ahead and handle any minor clearing of the rights of way in areas where the City has easements, but if major work is required or there are encroachments in the rights of way, this information would be brought back to council for discussion before any action was taken. After discussing the request with council, Councilman Tyler made this request regarding the clearing of the rights of way in the form of a motion. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was informed that the City has secured the services of a temporary employee to proof-read the draft of the City Codes and the review work should be completed in a couple of weeks.
Council discussed the “Rules for Outdoor Water Use” as adopted by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources on May 26, 2004. It was noted that under the new rules, Georgians will be required to follow schedules for outdoor watering in non-drought periods and during periods of declared drought. Citizens have been advised that information regarding the watering schedules will be mailed out in July. Attorney Dickey informed council that the EPD is expecting the local water providers to monitor and regulate the usage and to enforce the schedules. However, Attorney Dickey stated that since he has some questions about their authority to require cities to enforce these rules, he suggested that, at this time, the City merely advise its citizens of the schedules. Council discussed his recommendation and agreed to send the information out in a newsletter to its citizens and to publish it on the City’s website.
Attorney Dickey reported that he had reviewed the information submitted by Helen Gilliard regarding her property off Garvin Street and it appears that her property is landlocked. Ms. Gilliard has requested permission to place a mobile home on this property, but without the appropriate access to a public right of way a permit cannot be issued. Attorney Gerard stated that until Ms. Gilliard could provide documentation that she has obtained the required access, the City should not issue a mobile home permit.
Mayor Rozier recognized Jan Snow, a resident of #5 Douglas Court, who had requested that he be placed on tonight’s agenda to discuss drainage and lighting concerns. Councilman Tyler reported that elevations have been checked from Mr. Snow’s residence on Douglas Court to Hwy 80 and the fall of the property is toward Hwy 80. Councilman Tyler pointed out that although there are drainage problems in Mr. Snow’s yard, they have not been caused by construction work at R & R Electric. Councilman Tyler stated that it appears that there used to be a swell behind the houses on Douglas Court, but the swell is overgrown. Since the City does not have maintenance easements in this area, we have no legal access to clear out the swells. Councilman Tyler informed council that Mr. Snow’s property also has a depression in the back yard that is holding water. Mr. Snow expressed his concerns about the drainage of his property and asked how the problem could be resolved. Councilman Tyler pointed out that the first step would be to clear the trees and debris out of the swell, but as he had already pointed out, the City does not have legal access to the swell that is located on private property. Councilman Tyler stated that similar problems exist in other parts of the City and a drainage study is underway to determine where we need to obtain the rights of way for maintenance of drainage ditches and canals. Councilman Tyler suggested that it may be possible to obtain the right of way needed to clean the swell from the property owners west of the Douglas Court property. It was noted that the property owners are the Dreschers and Hearns. Mayor Rozier asked Councilman Tyler to contact the owners to see if they would agree to provide the rights of way. Councilman Johnson asked if there were fences located on the property lines and Councilman Tyler stated that some fences may have to be moved. Mr. Snow advised council that the lights installed at R & R Electric were too bright and needed to be adjusted so they did not shine into his bedroom window. Mr. Snow provided council with a copy of an ordinance that outlined specific requirements for outdoor lighting. The Mayor asked Attorney Dickey to review the ordinance information they had provided as soon as possible. Councilman Tyler stated that he would talk with Judge Hearn about his complaint. Councilman Johnson stated that he too would talk with Judge Hearn to see if something could be worked out with the lighting issue. Mr. Snow asked when he would be able to get an answer about these issues. The Mayor stated that we would try to have the information for him by next Friday.
Council reviewed a request from the Savannah Electric Co. for the City to grant them a 20’ easement adjacent to the southern right of way line of U.S. Hwy 80 to clear the property and set power poles. It was noted that this involved the City-owned property across the street from City Hall. Fett Burke reported that the moving of the power lines would be to the City’s benefit. After a brief discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to grant said 20’ easement, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier presented a request for a home occupation license from Brendell Roundtree to operate the “office only” of a residential property maintenance/repair business from his residence located at #109 Ash Street. Mr. Roundtree has obtained written permission from Richard Morris, the owner of the property, to operate the business from this location. Council was advised that they have the option to waive the public hearing requirement provided there is no outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence. Mr. Roundtree stated that he understood this stipulation. Councilman Tyler made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement since there would be no outside traffic, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Johnson made a motion to approve the issuance of the home occupation license to Mr. Roundtree at #109 Ash Street. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was advised that Karen Porter had approached the clerk just prior to the start of the council meeting and stated that she had dropped off a request for a home occupation license at City Hall before last Friday’s agenda deadline, but did not see the request on the agenda. Ms. Porter was not sure who she had given the application to at City Hall. Ms. Porter had completed another application and was requesting that council consider the matter at tonight’s meeting. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to add this matter to the council agenda, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Council was informed that Ms. Porter was requesting a home occupation license to operate the “office only” of an electronic publishing company from her residence located at #106 Michael Street. Ms. Porter stated that she was the only employee of the company and there would be no outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence. Councilman Tyler made a motion to waive the public hearing requirement, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Waller made a motion to issue the home occupation license to Ms. Porter, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that a request has been received from the Property Tax Division of the Department of Revenue for the City’s millage rate for tax year 2004. It was noted that in the past the millage rate has been set a 10 mils and then rolled back to zero. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to set the 2004 millage rate for the City of Bloomingdale to 10 mils. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Waller then made a motion to roll the millage rate of 10 mils back to zero. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Council was informed that the City has received the bid recap from Chatham County on the annual contract for gasoline and diesel fuels. The low bidder was Barrett Oil Co. at a price of +.1050 above O.P.I.S. for gasoline and diesel fuels. Councilman Waller made a motion to accept the bid from Barrett Oil Co., Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier reported that he had received a request from Magnolia Lane Apartments in late June asking for a commitment from the City of Bloomingdale regarding the water rates for 2004/2005. The Mayor advised Ms. Fuller that the City is currently involved in litigation with the EPD regarding an increase in our groundwater withdrawal permit and until this matter is resolved, there is no way of knowing what increases, if any, will be required to maintain adequate water supplies to our citizens.
Citizen Charles Rogers requested that he be placed on tonight’s agenda to discuss the possibility of obtaining City water for a proposed development on Cheyenne Road. Council briefly discussed his request, but the matter was tabled until additional information could be obtained regarding the extension of the City’s water lines.
Council was advised that the City has received information from the Bloomingdale Alliance Church stating that they had requested an exemption from the State Fire Marshall’s office regarding the installation of a fire hydrant on a minimum 8” diameter main within 500’ of their new facility. The State Fire Marshall’s Office indicated that the local municipality having jurisdiction would have to provide information about the size and capacity of tankers, pump trucks, responders, etc. and their proposed intention to install a hydrant as required when services become available as well as agree with the issuance of an exemption. Councilman Tyler asked that this matter be placed on tonight’s agenda for discussion and it was noted that a copy of the correspondence from the church has been distributed to council. Councilman Tyler reported that providing fire protection to the Bloomingdale Alliance Church was not a problem and stated that the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department could provide the information required by the State Fire Marshall’s Office regarding the tankers, trucks, etc. Councilman Tyler stated that there was a problem, however, with the size line that was servicing this area because it was only a 2 ½” line and the number of services had already exceeded the capacity of this size line. Councilman Tyler reported that although the City has installed backflow equipment, there could be problems with contaminates in the lines if there is reduced water pressure. Councilman Johnson asked if the City had received any complaints about low water pressure, but Councilman Tyler was not aware of any at this time. Councilman Tyler stated that he was concerned about the City continuing to issue building permits in areas where the capacities of the water lines have been reached or exceeded. Councilman Tyler advised council that he would get with Diane about obtaining fixture counts on residential building permits since this information would be needed to help determine the impact additional structures would have on the capacity of the water lines. Councilman Tyler reported that he was getting some prices together for council’s consideration to increase the size of the water lines from 2½” to 8” & 10” lines and to loop the system together. Councilman Tyler stated that the lines would run from Adams Road to Jimmy Deloach Parkway and across Highway 80. Councilman Tyler advised council that some of the work could be done by City crews, but some would have to be done by contractors. Questions were raised about the size lines that existed at the eastern end of the City and Ernest Grizzard reported that there was a 2” water line between Tuten Avenue and Westside Christian Church. Mayor Rozier asked what would prevent the City from providing service to developments at the western end of the City once the water line size was increased and Councilman Tyler stated that, in his opinion, there would be no reason why we could not supply the water. Council members Myrick and Johnson pointed out that the City was still facing a water capacity problem. Mayor Rozier stated that in his last conversations with Attorney Gallo he asked about whether the City could increase the size of our infrastructure without getting approval from the EPD and she indicated there should not be a problem with increasing the size of the line. Attorney Dickey pointed out that although there may not be a problem with increasing the size of the line, the EPD would have to grant approval for the extension of water lines and would get involved in extensions that may contribute to the City exceeding their permitted capacity of 156,000 gpd. Attorney Dickey stated that if the City exceeded the permitted capacity, we would be subject to penalties. Attorney Dickey advised council that he could not recommend action that would encourage violation of our permit. Councilman Tyler asked how the City could allow one developer to extend lines to two or three homes and then deny the other developer water for another subdivision. Attorney Dickey pointed out that there was a difference between the two issues because as he understands it one development was a new subdivision outside of the City’s service area where the subdivision for the two or three homes was already in the service area. Attorney Dickey stated that the extension of the lines outside of the current service area must be approved by EPD and reported that developers in Rincon were facing these same problems. Although the City of Rincon is willing to provide them water, due to EPD regulations, they cannot do so. Attorney Dickey advised council that the City was getting to the point where they needed to decide whether or not to place a moratorium on all new water taps. Councilman Johnson stated that he felt the council needed some cost estimates for the water line work before they could make any decisions regarding the changes. Councilman Myrick stated that if time was an issue, there should be a deadline on the submission of bids. Councilman Tyler reported that he hoped to have the prices together by next week and would contact council for a called meeting to review the information. The matter was tabled until the prices could be presented to council.
Councilman Ray stepped down from the podium prior to the presentation of the next agenda item because if involved property owned by his son.
Mayor Rozier reported that the City had received a request from James Lee regarding a drainage problem caused by construction at #106 Church Street and a copy of the information has been submitted to council for review. Mr. Lee reported that there was water standing on his property that had not been there prior to the construction of this residence. Mr. Lee provided some topographical information showing the way the property was currently draining and this was reviewed by Council members Tyler and Johnson along with Michael Ray, the owner of the property located at #106 Church Street. The drainage issue was discussed at length by the council members and the owners and some possible solutions were suggested. The matter was tabled to allow Mr. Lee and Mr. Ray an opportunity to work out the problems. Councilman Ray returned to the podium after discussion of this matter was completed.
Council was advised that the City had received a request from Michelle Cooper about getting a mobile home permit for an existing lot at #403 Garvin Street Extension. It was noted that although this portion of Garvin Street is open as a public right of way and permits have been issued for structures in the past, the road is narrow and there have been problems with mobile homes being able to be moved onto some of the lots without going across private properties. Ms. Cooper would like to get council’s approval to place a mobile home on this lot before she buys the property, but since there were concerns about being able to move the mobile home to this location without encroaching on private property the matter is being referred to council. Mayor Rozier advised Ms. Cooper that if she obtained the permit, it would be with the understanding that the City would have no obligation to provide her access to the property except along the existing roadway. Ms. Cooper stated that the mobile home mover had been out to inspect the site and has assured her that the mobile home can be moved onto the property using the existing roadway. Ms. Cooper advised council that she understood their concerns about traveling across private property in the area and assured them that this would not happen if she were granted the permit. Based on this information council members voiced no objections to the issuance of the permit.
Recreation Director Joe Young informed council that the Recreation Executive Board has discussed some improvements they would like to see made to Taylor Park and they were currently trying to obtain some cost estimates for these items. The list included new playground equipment, an indoor/outdoor covered picnic area, including a handicapped accessible bathroom, improvements to the existing recreation building, an additional adult field and landscaping and upgrading to the existing adult field, a walking/jogging path, better storage facilities, a paved entrance to the park, a sprinkler system for the little field, outside water fountains, a four foot tiller for the tractor, additional pitching machines and safer, more attractive parking barricades around the park. Mr. Young pointed out that these improvements were not necessarily in priority order. Mr. Young also reported that the Recreation Department was interested in providing some activities for our seniors and would like to use the Bloomingdale Community Building. It was noted that these activities would be in addition to anything currently being offered at the Pooler/Bloomingdale Senior Citizen’s Center. Mayor Rozier asked if these activities would be during the week or on the weekend and noted that weekends were usually booked. Mr. Young stated that they would coordinate use of the building with City Hall. After a brief discussion, Councilman Wedincamp made a motion to allow the Recreation Department to use the Bloomingdale Community Building at no cost for activities for the seniors with the scheduling to be coordinated with City Hall. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Citizen Mary Mitchell asked why nothing was on the agenda concerning her certified letter to the Mayor and Council regarding the development on Douglas Court. Ms. Mitchell stated that in her letter she addressed several issues of concern to her about access to public records and her rights as a citizen. Ms. Mitchell wanted to know why she had not received any acknowledgement of her letter. Ms. Mitchell was advised that the information had been distributed to the Mayor, City Council members and the City Attorney. Councilman Ray asked Ms. Mitchell why the citizens were just now coming to the City with concerns about this development when a sign had been posted on the property for months indicating it was commercial property for sale. Mayor Rozier stated that this issue was not on the agenda, so he wanted to move on to other matters.
Mayor Rozier presented the accounts payable for council’s consideration. Councilman Tyler made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that an executive session has been requested to discuss personnel issues. Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
A signed copy of the affidavit required by the Open Meetings Law is attached.
After the executive session was adjourned, Councilman Ray made a motion to return to the general session. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Mayor Rozier stated that personnel issues were discussed in the executive session, but there was no information to report at this time.
Mayor Rozier stated that this concluded the items that were submitted prior to the Friday, July 9, 2004 agenda deadline.
Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn with Councilman Ray seconding the motion. Just prior to a vote on the motion to adjourn, Councilman Tyler stated that he would like to address some issues regarding the Douglas Court development. Councilman Tyler pointed out that the council’s hands were tied as far as being able to stop the construction of the building located at Douglas Court and Hwy 80 because the developer had followed the City’s requirements under its current ordinances. Councilman Tyler commented that although some of the zoning ordinances may be outdated, they were the only ones we have at this time. Councilman Tyler agreed that citizens should be able to get the answers to their questions in a timely manner. Councilman Tyler also stated that the Mayor and City Council did not know all of the ordinances word for word and needed the City Attorney’s assistance in the interpretation of many of them. Councilman Johnson pointed out that often times the City Attorney consults with other attorneys to obtain legal opinions on these and other issues. Councilman Tyler stated that he did not feel the council meeting is the best place to try to work out solutions to some of their concerns because there was other business that needed to be handled in these meetings, but would like to sit down with the citizens at another time. Mayor Rozier stated that he would be available here at the City Hall on Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm to talk with the citizens about their concerns on this issue. Councilman Tyler stated that he would make some changes to his schedule so he could attend. Mayor Rozier then called for a vote on the motion to adjourn and the motion passed with six affirmative votes.
The meeting adjourned at 10:15pm.
Mayor Rozier and all of the council members attended the meeting.