December 2, 2004
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rozier with Councilman Ray leading in prayer. The minutes of the November 18, 2004 meeting were reviewed. Councilman Waller made a motion to approve the minutes, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that Debra Brant had advised the City that the non-conforming mobile homes located at #6 & #8 Brantville Drive would be moved by the end of the week.
Council was advised that Attorney Dickey had requested an executive session at the end of the meeting to discuss legal issues related to the filing of the lawsuit against William McAllister for the collection of the $1677.14 owed to the City for the clearing of his property located at #14 Osteen Road.
Councilman Tyler reported that the City had received two bids for the increase in the size of the water lines at the western end of the City limits and requested the Mayor open the bids. When the bids were opened, there were prices for increasing the size of the lines at both the eastern and the western end of the City. The bids were as follows:
1) Quality Irri-Scape, Inc. Adams Road to Osteen Road $ 229,582.50
Allen Avenue 43,832.50
Total $ 273.415.00
2) Crossroads Construction, Inc. Jimmy Deloach $ 115,828.75
Osteen Road 142,615.00
Allen Avenue 46,735.00
Total $ 305,178.75
After the opening of the bids, several members expressed concerns about the high cost of these projects. Councilman Ray stated that until the City could determine how to pay for these projects we should not take any action on the bids. Questions were raised about why we even solicited bids on these projects if we were not going to proceed with the work. Councilman Johnson pointed out that until bids were received we did not know how much it was going to cost. Councilman Myrick stated that he thought we had a general estimate when we originally discussed increasing the size of the lines at Osteen Road, but he did not think it was this high. After continued discussion about the bids, a motion was made and withdrawn by Councilman Myrick to accept the bids. Councilman Ray then made a motion to table acceptance of the bids on increasing the size of the water lines until a decision could be made on obtaining the money for these projects with the understanding that council may have to re-bid the projects at a later date. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Tyler asked that discussion of the ditch relocation at Oak Street be passed until he could get with Thomas & Hutton regarding the submission of their report on the proposed project.
The Mayor reported that he and several council members had attended meetings held last week regarding the annexations proposed by the City of Savannah. Mayor Rozier pointed out that basically, we were advised that the land owners had requested that Savannah annex their properties because of their ability to provide the water and sewer infrastructure needed to develop it and there is nothing that Bloomingdale can do to prevent these type annexations. During the meeting held between representatives from the City of Savannah, Chatham County and the West Chatham cities, Commissioner Kicklighter asked that we all work together to plan out how future annexations would be plotted to avoid the problems that could be caused by cities annexing non-contiguous properties where city limits boundaries were confusing to the public. It was suggested that representatives from these government bodies meet and put a plan together that was acceptable to everyone. This suggestion met with general approval from those cities represented and hopefully, meetings will be scheduled soon. Mayor Rozier stated that at that meeting he had advised Savannah’s representatives that several residents living on John Carter Road near the area proposed for annexation attended our November 18th council meeting and were requesting that they be annexed into Bloomingdale before they were annexed into Savannah. Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson stated that there were no plans to annex other properties in this area. Mayor Rozier also reported that he had questioned Commissioner Deloach about Bloomingdale annexing properties if requested by owners and was advised that we should go ahead and annex them, but as previously discussed, he would like to see some organized annexations by cities, not only in this area, but in other areas of the county. The Mayor reported that during a meeting held with the owners whose properties were being annexed into Savannah, it was noted that until Bloomingdale was able to provide developers with some assurance of water and sewer services to their properties, they would be hesitant about coming into the City of Bloomingdale. The Mayor stated that he planned to schedule a meeting with Michael Brown to discuss our current options regarding obtaining water from Savannah. The Mayor outlined some of the costs that had been discussed in prior negotiations for water service from Savannah using the City of Pooler’s water lines. Several council members expressed their displeasure with EPD’s current restrictions on the City’s well permits since several local golf courses had more water capacity per day than Bloomingdale and some other cities even had capacities that were much higher than ours and their populations were about the same.
Mayor Rozier stated that as far as the City of Bloomingdale annexing additional areas into the City at this time it may not be advisable due to our current limitations on water and sewer service. The Mayor pointed out that we should know something about the results of our lawsuit in a few days and the City would be in a better position to make decisions about the areas to which we can provide these services. The Mayor recognized Archie Burson, a resident of #345 John Carter Road, who stated neither he nor his neighbors were interested in water and sewer service since they had septic tanks and wells. The Mayor pointed out that he realized that, but stated that he felt the City needed to wait on the outcome of the lawsuit before proceeding with additional annexations. Mayor Rozier advised the citizens that were interested in annexation that once the City decided to proceed with the annexations it would be best if it was done as a group effort so that one petition including all of the properties could be prepared and handled at one time. By using this method, it would save individual property owners the expense of having an attorney prepare the petitions and handling the other legal matters related to annexations.
Councilman Myrick reported that although the Bloomingdale Alliance Church was in agreement to allow the use of their recently constructed gym for the home games of the Bloomingdale Bears, it did not appear that it would be ready before the start of this year’s season. The Mayor asked if the Recreation Department provided some volunteer help would there be time to get it ready, but Councilman Myrick pointed out that the goals had not been ordered and there was a minimum delivery time of three (3) weeks on this equipment. Mayor Rozier stated that based on this information the Recreation Department will need to make other arrangements for this year’s basketball program.
Council discussed information received from the Planning & Zoning Commission regarding the rezoning request from the Morgan Family to rezone their property located adjacent to I-16 at the Northwest on Ramp. It was noted that the original rezoning request had been to change the zoning from RA-1, single-family, mobile homes allowed, to C-2, General Commercial with the proposed use to be billboard rental and future commercial development. However, the Planning & Zoning Commission was recommending that the zoning be changed from RA-1 to C-1, PDOD (Planned Development Overlay District). The Mayor read some of the discussion that had been held at the meeting to council and then asked that Planning Commission Chairman Andrew Rawlings explain the commission’s recommendation to council. Chairman Rawlings stated that there had been concerns raised at the meeting about the use of Osteen Road as access to the property for commercial development and during the meeting D.K. Morgan had expressed his willingness to allow access to this parcel through his adjacent property that abutted Bloomingdale Road. Chairman Rawlings pointed out that although members were assured by the Morgans that the only immediate use was for billboards, there were still concerns about developing the property without an approved plan so they had agreed to approve it as C-1, PDOD. Citizen Ann Williams voiced her concern of the use of Osteen Road for access to this property because there would be increased traffic related to commercial development and she felt that the peace and quiet of their neighborhood would be at risk with anything other than residential development. Mayor Rozier asked for input from Henry Morgan about their request. Mr. Morgan stated that their deed showed that the property did have Osteen Road frontage, but they would be willing to work with D.K. Morgan to obtain access to the property for development. Ms. Williams pointed out that she had lived there a long time and would like to see it remain residential property and wanted to know if the zoning was changed would the neighbors have any say so about the development. Mayor Rozier advised Ms. Williams that the development plan would have to come back to council for approval. Ms. Williams also stated that she lived in the area and the Morgans did not and she felt the residents should be protected. Mr. Morgan advised council that the request for rezoning was so they could erect billboards on the property, because there was no water or sewer service available to the property at this time and the commercial development would probably not occur until it was made available. In checking the zoning ordinance, Attorney Dickey pointed out that off-premise signs are not allowed in a C-1 zone and questioned Chairman Rawlings as to whether or not the Planning & Zoning Commission had agreed to grant a variance for the billboards along with their recommendation regarding the rezoning. Chairman Rawlings advised him that as he understood it the Planning & Zoning Commission was including a variance request to allow the billboards in the C-1, PDOD zoning recommendation. Councilman Ray questioned whether they could put more than one billboard on this property based on his understanding of the ordinance. According to Jim Woods, the land planner working with the Morgans, they could put more than one billboard on the property as long as they were placed at least 1,000’ apart. Mr. Woods stated that the plan that was submitted with the rezoning request outlined the proposed placement of the billboards. It was noted that the plan that had been submitted to the Planning & Zoning Commission also included other commercial development and if the C-1, PDOD was approved, plans meeting the requirements of the zoning ordinance regarding PDOD zoning would have to be met. After a lengthy discussion, Councilman Tyler made a motion to approve the recommendation from the Planning & Zoning Commission to rezone 71.01 acres of property owned by the Morgan Family adjacent to I-16 at the Northwest on Ramp from RA-1 to C-1, PDOD, with a variance to allow billboards, but with the stipulation that a permit for the billboards will not be issued by the City until written proof of access to the property is provided by D.K. Morgan and a development plan for the billboards is presented and approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission and council. Councilman Johnson seconded the motion. The motion passed with affirmative votes from Councilman Johnson, Councilman Tyler and Councilman Waller. Councilman Myrick and Councilman Ray voted against the motion.
Councilman Myrick reported that after reviewing cost estimates for the renovation of the building behind City Hall for the police department it was determined that it would be more cost effective to demolish that building and construct a new building. During discussions with the subcommittee and members of council, it was agreed that the City could save money if we served as the General Contractor for the project and hired our own subcontractors. Councilman Myrick pointed out that in order to have someone on site that was familiar with building processes, the council agreed to contract with Charles Rogers to oversee the construction work and be responsible for the project.
The Mayor reported that electrical power to the Amerson property was on the agenda, but since Mr. Amerson was not at the meeting no discussion was held.
Mayor Rozier stated that the City had received a petition from property owners on Hiram Road and Carrie Road opposing the subdivision and development of Lot #5A of Boatright Estates because they felt it would negatively affect the overall character and value of homes in their neighborhood. The Mayor recognized Robbie Marshall who advised council that the lots that currently existed in Boatright Estates consisted of no less than 2½ acres and the proposed development would have five developable lots, a 60’ road, and a lot for a well all coming out of a 3.3 acre tract. Several residents living on Hiram Road voiced their concerns that the smaller lots would affect the value of their property and Citizen Joe Hubbard, who owns a 19.8 acre tract, stated he felt this would have a domino effect and other owners would be approaching council to subdivide their property into smaller lots. Attorney Dickey was questioned as to whether the City could prohibit the development if the neighbors objected, but he stated he would need more information about the matter before he could advise the City on this matter. Mayor Rozier noted that the property is not currently served by City sewer, so the Chatham County Health Department would make the determination on the size of the lots if septic tanks were required. Councilman Tyler voiced his opposition to this type development but stated that he did not know if we could legally stop it. Council members Johnson and Myrick agreed that the smaller lots would not be consistent with the neighboring properties. Citizen Diane McConnell, who lives on Conaway Road, voiced her concerns about the additional traffic that would be involved with the creation of five additional lots. The Mayor asked Planning & Zoning Commission Chairman Andrew Rawlings what position was taken by the members on the proposed development. Chairman Rawlings stated that they had merely answered some of the questions posed by the developer and had referred them to council regarding their requests related to water and sewer service. Mayor Rozier advised the citizens that the City would do whatever they could legally do to support their desire to maintain the size lots that currently existed in this area, but they would have to keep in mind that the council was obligated to follow the City’s current ordinances and if a developer could meet the requirements of these ordinances, there may be little the City could do to stop a subdivision. Citizen Charles Rogers advised council that it was his understanding from a conversation with someone earlier this afternoon that the property may have been sold and he did not think it was to this developer. Robbie Marshall asked Attorney Dickey if the current property owners could develop covenants for the area that would prohibit smaller lots and was advised that they could do that but it would only apply to those owners who signed the agreement. Attorney Dickey pointed out that if the property was sold to someone else there could be a problem with requiring the new owner to abide by the covenants.
Council was advised that the rates for the 2005 Occupational Licenses needed to be set. Councilman Johnson made a motion to keep the Occupational License fees for 2005 the same as those charged in 2004. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor stated that council needed to decide if the December 16th meeting would be held. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to cancel the December 16th council meeting, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes. Councilman Tyler abstained from voting on the motion.
Mayor Rozier requested that council adjourn into executive session to discuss legal matters. Councilman Johnson made a motion to adjourn into executive session, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. (A copy of the signed affidavit as required by the Open Meetings Law is attached) After the executive session adjourned, Councilman Ray made a motion to return to the general session. Councilman Tyler seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The Mayor reported that this concludes the items that were submitted prior to the agenda deadline for the council meeting.
Councilman Johnson requested that council amend the agenda to consider bids received on replacing the generator at Well #1. Councilman Johnson made a motion to add the matter to the agenda. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Johnson reported that bids had been received on a generator for Well #1. Councilman Johnson stated that the current system was not adequate to service the City should Well #2 be taken out of service and Well #1 have to run on alternate power. Councilman Johnson presented the Mayor with the sealed envelope that was to contain three sealed bids on generators. However, the costs for the various type generators were presented in one bid by R & R Electric Co. and this bid also included $9248 in electrical costs to install the generator. Councilman Johnson stated that apparently there had been a misunderstanding about how the bids should be presented and since we needed at least three bids on this work, we should re-bid the project. Councilman Johnson then made a motion to re-bid the generator project, Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Councilman Tyler requested council amend the agenda to discuss the need to provide the TwinRix vaccinations to the police department and fire department personnel. Councilman Tyler made a motion to amend the agenda, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. According to Councilman Tyler, the City is required by state law to provide these vaccinations and we have not done so although the laws have been in effect for some time. The clerk advised council that the City has been providing the Hepatitis B vaccinations to City employees for several years, but she was not familiar with the TwinRix vaccination. Councilman Tyler stated that the TwinRix was a combined vaccination for Hepatitis A & B and the Hepatitis B Titers was the test to see if a person was immune to the Hepatitis B virus. Councilman Tyler provided council with cost projections for these vaccinations and it included a total of $5920 for the Bloomingdale Fire Department personnel and $1990 for the Bloomingdale Police Department officers. Since the vaccinations were not included in the 2004/2005 budget, some discussion was held about how to fund these costs. After the discussion, Councilman Johnson made a motion to provide the vaccinations to the Bloomingdale Fire Department and Bloomingdale Police Department. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes. Councilman Johnson then made a motion to amend the budget to provide the costs for these vaccinations from funds on hand. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
The accounts payable was reviewed. Councilman Myrick made a motion to pay the bills, Councilman Johnson seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:45pm. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Rozier and Council members Johnson, Myrick, Ray, Tyler and Waller were present at the meeting.