November 1, 2007
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Tipton with Councilwoman Winn leading in prayer. The Mayor presented the minutes of the October 18, 2007 for approval. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve said minutes, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Ray, Strozier and Winn. Councilman Rawlings voted against the motion. When questioned by Mayor Tipton as to his reasons for voting against approval of the minutes for the last several meetings, Councilman Rawlings stated that he did not agree with the way they were being taken because they were not being recorded and he did not think the minutes were accurate. The Mayor asked Councilman Rawlings if he had any specific inaccuracies he felt needed to be addressed. Councilman Rawlings advised him that he did not have anything specific, but stated he did not want to approve the minutes in the event they are incorrect.
Councilwoman Winn made a motion to approve the agenda for the November 1, 2007 meeting. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
As discussed at the October 18, 2007 meeting, Attorney Dickey presented an ordinance to ratify and reduce to written form an ordinance read and passed by the Bloomingdale City Council on July 5, 1990 which amends the zoning ordinance to allow the council to issue a home occupation business license with or without a public hearing. Latrelle Kling questioned why some of the older ordinances had not been reduced to writing when they were passed and who researched the documents to obtain this information. Attorney Dickey advised her that since he was not with the City when this occurred he did not know why they were not prepared in ordinance form, however, when various issues come up they are researched and corrections are made at that time. Attorney Dickey pointed out that when the ordinances were codified it was done by an outside agency, but, apparently, some information was apparently missed during the process, so as these issues arise, corrective action is taken. The issue of taping minutes was brought up during this discussion and Councilman Ray stated that he had checked with other cities on this issue, but was advised that if they had it to do over again, they would not have started taping their minutes due to the additional expense and confusion it causes. Mayor Tipton reminded citizens that this agenda item concerned the ordinance and asked that discussion be limited to this issue. Councilman Rawlings stated that he would like to see this ordinance and other similar situations corrected, so he made a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinance as presented. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and affirmative votes were cast by Councilmembers Ray, Strozier and Winn. The Mayor asked Councilman Rawlings if he was voting for the motion. Councilman Rawlings stated that he did not know that he had to vote if he made the motion for approval. Attorney Dickey advised him that he did need to cast a vote on the motion, so Councilman Rawlings voted for the motion. Councilman Ray made a motion to dispense with the second reading and approve the ordinance, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that a public hearing had been called for tonight’s meeting to receive citizen input on the proposed amendment to the Code of Ordinances, Appendix A., Zoning, “List of Permissible and Conditional Uses”, Sale of Used Vehicles, to change the sale of used vehicles from a conditional use to a permissible use in a C-1 zone with the number of vehicles for sale being limited to fifty (50) per standard commercial lot size of 15,000 square feet. The Mayor pointed out that no action would be taken on the amendment at tonight’s meeting, but the Planning Commission’s November 13, 2007 agenda includes their review of this amendment with a recommendation to be presented to council at the November 15, 2007 meeting. Councilman Rawlings stated he had a problem with the term “vehicle” rather than “cars or passenger vehicles” since it was too broad a term. It was noted that this term was being used because the previously used term of “cars” had been considered too restrictive since most used car lots also included trucks and vans. Citizen Mary Mitchell raised questions about changing the use from conditional to permissive because of her concern that there could be used vehicle businesses on every corner as was the case in a town she had recently visited. Latrelle Kling noted that this change would be detrimental to the current “bedroom community” status of the City and stated that she had done some checking on the internet and found that the majority of cities do not allow the sale of used vehicles in C-1 zones, only in C-2 zones. Ms. Kling questioned the City’s handling of multiple businesses at one location and provided comparisons of other types of businesses that were conditional that would have less impact in a C-1 zone than the sale of used vehicles. Mayor Tipton pointed out that the Planning Commission would be considering this ordinance change at their November 13th meeting and these concerns could be addressed at that time. Being no further business, Mayor Tipton closed the public hearing.
Council was advised that the City had received a request for a well permit from Chuck Webb for his property located at #27 Hiram Road for the purpose of servicing a new home. The Mayor stated that the City does not provide water service to this property, but council must approve issuance of the permit. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the issuance of the well permit for #27 Hiram Road, Councilman Strozier seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented a request from the Westside Christian Church to sell Christmas trees at their church as a fund raiser for their Youth Ministry. Council was advised that the sale would begin on November 21st and continue until the trees are sold. The tree lot will be located about 120’ from the road and the church parking lot will be used for incoming and outgoing traffic. The hours of operation will be limited to after school during the week until 9:00pm, Saturdays and holidays from 9:00am until 9:00pm and Sundays from 1:00pm until 8:00pm. A temporary sign will be used to advertise the sale and will be located approximately 20’ from the road. The sign will be removed promptly after the sale is complete. Councilman Ray pointed out that the church has been having this sale for several years and there have never been any complaints and made a motion to allow them to conduct the sale with the conditions as presented. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Council was advised that the City had received bids for electrical work at Taylor Park, but after they were reviewed, it was noted that there were some differences in the scope of the work. Councilman Rawlings questioned whether the work was advertised, but was advised by Attorney Dickey that unless the work was over $10,000 there was no advertising requirement by the state. Councilman Rawlings asked if the work would be done by a licensed electrician and was advised that it would. Latrelle Kling raised questions about the preparation of the bid package. After additional discussion, council agreed to allow City Administrator Brady to prepare a bid package for the electrical work at Taylor Park so all contractors would be bidding on the same criteria and to give Mr. Brady the authority to accept on behalf of the City the lowest bid for the work provided it is less than $10,000. Councilman Rawlings stated he had no problem with that agreement, but would like to see the package before the bid is awarded. Councilman Ray made a motion to proceed with the securing and awarding of the bids as outlined above. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton reported that the City had advertised for bids for repairs to the metal roof at the maintenance building and two bids had been received. One bid from Roofing Professionals, Inc. was for $17,300 and the other bid was from Metal Building Maintenance, Inc. for $12,744. After a brief discussion, Councilman Strozier made a motion to accept the bid from Metal Building Maintenance, Inc. for $12,744, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Council reviewed a request from Brian & Diane Miller to relocate their businesses (B Miller Metal Specialties & Paws-a-tively Originals) to #1306 East Highway 80. The Millers plan to live in the residence located on the adjoining property at #1308 East Highway 80. Mayor Tipton stated that Mr. Miller manufactures custom-made T-tops for boats and does some light metal fabrication work and Mrs. Miller’s business is related to sewing clothing and other accessories for pets. Councilman Strozier asked if these businesses were the same as those they were currently operating as home occupation businesses at their residence on Conaway Road and was advised that they were the same. Latrelle Kling stated that a metal fabrication business is not allowed in a C-1 zone and was advised that the business Mr. Miller operates would be more of a light, manufacturing business rather than a metal fabrication business. It was noted that although the property on Highway 80 is zoned C-1, both locations have previously been used as residences and the City’s Zoning Ordinance, Article IV, Section 410 outlines requirements for a site plan for the development of a site adjacent to properties with a more restrictive zoning classification or abutting or fronting onto arterial or collector streets. Council discussed the application of this section of the zoning ordinance to the property since the structures to be used for the businesses already exist and no building permit is going to be issued. During this discussion it was noted that there would be some parking and buffer issues that needed to be addressed. Council was advised that the conversion of this residence to a business was similar to the situation that occurred when ReMax Today moved their offices to the residence at #608 E. Highway 80. In this instance, council delegated the review and approval of the site plan to the building inspector rather than having it go through the Planning Commission since there was no new structure to be permitted. After additional discussion, Councilman Strozier made a motion that Mr. Miller prepare his site plan according to the requirements outlined in Section 410 of the Zoning Ordinance and that the City Administrator and building inspector review and approve the plans before the issuance of occupational license transfers for the businesses to be operated from #1306 E. Highway 80. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
The Mayor presented for council’s consideration an amendment to the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 54, Article II, Planning Commission, Section 54-33 – Terms, to establish terms for Planning Commission members to be effective January, 2008. Being no discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinance and Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion. The motion passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Ray, Strozier and Winn. Councilman Rawlings abstained from voting. Councilman Strozier made a motion to dispense with the second reading and approve the ordinance. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Ray, Strozier and Winn. Councilman Rawlings abstained from voting.
Council discussed the meeting schedule for December, 2007. It was noted that the second meeting in December is usually cancelled. Latrelle Kling suggested council consider cancelling the January 3, 2008 meeting. After a brief discussion, Councilwoman Winn made a motion to cancel the December 20, 2007 council meeting, but to have the council meeting as scheduled on January 3, 2008. Councilman Strozier seconded the motion which passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Ray, Strozier and Winn. Councilman Rawlings voted against the motion.
Mayor Tipton reported that this concluded the items presented for consideration for inclusion on the council agenda prior to the deadline of Friday, October 26, 2007.
Councilwoman Winn stated that the City had received a $20,000 donation from AMB Property Corporation for use toward the Veterans Memorial. The Mayor reported that the “Thanksgiving Fellowship Meal” will be held on November 22, 2007 from 12:00noon until 2:00pm at the Bloomingdale Community Building. The Mayor stated that this event was held last Thanksgiving and it was very successful, but requested that those planning to attend advise the City Hall by November 19th. Mayor Tipton informed the citizens that take-outs will be available for shut-ins.
During committee reports, Fire Chief Tyler gave an update on activities of the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department that included providing candy to 150 kids on Halloween and reminded the City that the fire department should be involved in the review of construction plans for businesses to make sure that life safety regulations were being met. Councilman Strozier stated that he had been questioned recently about why the City was trying to get Southside Fire Department to take over the fire protection services for the City and wanted to confirm with Fire Chief Tyler that the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department had actually solicited them to come out and meet with the Mayor and Council to discuss their providing service to Bloomingdale. Fire Chief Tyler stated that the fire department had requested Southside to come out to meet with the elected officials to discuss fire protection for the City and to provide cost comparisons. Mayor Tipton pointed out that during the Pooler Centennial celebration, he had talked with Pooler’s Fire Chief and he had complimented the members of the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department on their cooperation with Pooler firefighters.
Chief Gossett provided additional information related to the investigation of a local theft that resulted in the participation by Detective Elliott in the apprehension of suspects involved in a national theft ring.
Councilman Strozier reported that the maintenance department had been experiencing some problems with dry trash pickups where citizens were failing to properly bag or package loose pieces of trash and in a couple of situations, there were home occupation businesses being operated from the residences. Councilman Strozier stated that in order to keep the costs of providing dry trash as low as possible, citizens needed to follow the guidelines for preparation of dry trash and pointed out that those persons operating home occupation businesses should not be putting trash out for the City to pick up. Councilman Strozier advised council that the City would be sending out letters to those persons who were violating these regulations and one solution that could be considered would be to have the resident obtain an additional garbage can at a cost of $5.00 per month for the disposal of the trash.
Citizen Barbara Griffin asked for an update on the City’s audit. City Administrator Brady informed her that this work was still underway, but when the report was completed it would be available for review. Mayor Tipton suggested that as Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee Councilman Rawlings could advise her when the audit was completed. Councilman Rawlings informed the Mayor that he had told him he did not want to serve on the committee.
The accounts payable were reviewed. Councilman Strozier made a motion to pay the bills, Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with three affirmative votes. Councilman Rawlings abstained from voting.
Being no further business, Councilman Ray made a motion to adjourn at 7:45pm. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with four affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and Councilmembers Rawlings, Ray, Strozier and Winn were present at the meeting.
Note: Section § 50-14-1 of the Official Code of the State of Georgia Annotated requires that the minutes shall, as a minimum, include a description of each motion or other proposal made, and a record of all votes. These minutes meet the minimum requirements. However, in an attempt to provide as much information as possible to the citizens, the recording clerk has included additional background data and discussion on the subjects presented to council. The statements of individuals are not verbatim and may be summary in nature.