February 21, 2008
Mayor Tipton called the meeting to order and Councilman Myrick led in prayer. Mayor Tipton took a few minutes to comment on the explosion that occurred at the Sugar Refinery on February 7th and to extend his sympathy to those families who had been directly and indirectly impacted by this event. The Mayor expressed his condolences to the Busby family in the loss of their daughter in a house fire that occurred in Bloomingdale last week and to the city clerk whose father had died suddenly last Thursday. The Mayor pointed out that these events have been very emotional experiences for everyone involved and expressed his appreciation to the public safety and fire department personnel who responded to them. Councilman Myrick stated that he had asked, on behalf of one of the people involved in the Sugar Refinery tragedy, to commend the members of the Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department for the professional way in which they handled themselves and for the comfort that their presence afforded to those friends and family members on the scene. Councilwoman Winn informed the fire department personnel that she too had been asked to express appreciation for their help in fighting the fires in Waycross.
Mayor Tipton presented a request to amend the agenda to add approval of the January 28, 2008 called council meeting minutes along with the approval of the February 7, 2008 council meeting minutes. Councilman Myrick made a motion to amend the agenda to add approval of the January 28th minutes and to approve the minutes of both the January 28th and February 7th council meeting minutes. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes. Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the amended agenda for the February 21st meeting, Councilman Myrick seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Under administrative reports, the Mayor advised citizens that the City has requested that the MPC reconsider the distribution of the costs involved in the Water Conservation Education Program and base the costs on population rather than distributing the costs on an equal basis. Councilman Strozier stated that, although the City has no control over EPD’s requirement for the preparation of the plan, he did not agree with the proposed distribution of costs. Citizens were also informed that there were other mandated studies that were going to have to be done to comply with the special conditions of the water permit as imposed by EPD and some of these could be rather costly, so increases in water rates may be necessary. Mayor Tipton reported that there were some repairs and upgrades taking place on the community building and Ernie was getting some prices together for these items.
The Mayor reminded everyone of the Public Hearing scheduled for February 25, 2008 at 7:00pm here at the City Hall to discuss a proposed user fee for fire protection.
The Mayor reported that the developer had requested the removal of the rezoning request for property owned by Barbara Meyers from tonight’s agenda.
Citizen Billie Walker discussed with council her request for a home occupation license to operate the office only of a lawn care business from her residence located at #416 Pine Street. Council was advised that the business would have two employees, but there would be no outside traffic related to the business coming to the residence. Ms. Walker was informed that home occupation license holders are allowed a 1’ x 1’ sign to be placed on their property. Councilman Myrick asked about her plans for the disposal of debris and trimmings from customer’s yards and Ms. Walker stated that she would not bring these materials back to her residence. Councilman Strozier advised her the intent of home occupation licenses would be to allow citizens to operate from their residences, but there should be no indication from the outside of the home that a business was being conducted from that location and Ms. Walker stated she understood this stipulation. Councilman Myrick made a motion to waive the public hearing and issue the home occupation license to Ms. Walker for the operation of the office of a lawn care business from #416 Pine Street.
Citizen Rickey Griffin presented for council’s consideration a request to obtain a home occupation license to operate the office of a recovery/recycling business from the residence located at #195 Wallace Drive. Mr. Griffin stated that there would be no vehicles stored at the Wallace Drive location and the business would only have one employee. Mr. Griffin advised council that he would be using a truck with a trailer in the business, but he would park them behind the house. Councilman Ray made a motion to waive the public hearing and issue the home occupation license to Mr. Griffin for the office of the recovery/recycling business from #195 Wallace Drive. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton recognized Lillian Brune who was requesting permission to construct a single-family dwelling on her lot located on the corner of Tuten Avenue and Highway 80. The Mayor stated that the property is located in a C-1 zoning district and since residential use is “conditional” in that zoning district council must approve a conditional use permit before issuance of a building permit. Councilman Strozier made a motion to approve the conditional use permit for a single-family dwelling as requested by Ms. Brune, Councilman Ray seconded the motion, and it passed with six affirmative votes. Ms. Brune extended her appreciation to the Mayor, council, police and fire department personnel for the compassion they had shown to the Busby family in the loss of their daughter, Ashley.
The Mayor recognized Ben Rozier who had submitted a request for a well permit for property he had purchased at #135 Towles Road. Council was advised that this property is in an area that is not served by City water, but City ordinance requires council’s approval for the issuance of a well permit. After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to issue the well permit for #135 Towles Road, Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton presented a recommendation from the Planning Commission for the approval of the Overlay District Ordinance with a change on Page #1, (i), from “these corridors” to “the Highway 80 corridor”. Councilman Rawlings asked if the language in the ordinance still encouraged sidewalks wherever possible and zoning consultant, Denise Grabowski, advised him this wording was contained in the ordinance. Mary Mitchell asked if there was language in the ordinance that protected existing homeowners and businesses and Ms. Grabowski reminded her that this is an overlay district only and it does not change the existing zoning of any property along the corridor. Ms. Grabowski pointed out that all property owners would be able to maintain the current use of their property as is or would have the option to develop their property commercially provided they followed the guidelines in the zoning ordinance. Latrelle Kling stated she understood that there had been several concerns about the overlay district raised at the public hearing and asked if they had been resolved. Councilman Myrick pointed out that Ms. Grabowski answered the questions of those who attended the hearing. Barbara Griffin stated that she had attended the hearing and felt there was still some controversy about the overlay district. Councilman Myrick commented that it was his understanding that tonight’s vote was to change the wording of one section of the ordinance, but was advised that the ordinance was on the agenda for approval. After a brief discussion, Councilman Ray made a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinance, to dispense with the second reading and to approve the adoption of the Overlay District Ordinance. Councilwoman Winn seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilmembers Myrick and Rawlings voted against the motion.
Mayor Tipton reported that the advertising for bids on Alternate #1, Phase #1 of the Drainage Improvement Plan did not meet state requirements as noted by Attorney Dickey. Citizen Richard Marlowe expressed his disappointment that, even as the low bidder on the job, he would now have to go to the time and expense to submit another bid. He pointed out that he felt the advertisement was adequate since there were numerous bidders who obtained packets and four contractors who placed bids on the job. Mayor Tipton stated that although he understood his concern, council had no choice but to make sure the bids were advertise in accordance with state law. After this discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to reject the bids as received on January 16, 2008 for Alternate #1, Phase #1 of the Drainage Improvement Plan and to have the engineers re-bid the project to include advertisement of said bid in the Savannah Morning News. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with affirmative votes from Councilmembers Myrick, Ray, Strozier, Waller and Winn. Councilman Rawlings voted against the motion.
Council was informed that the Department of Transportation notified the City that the resurfacing of Douglas Court under the 2008 LARP program would be included in the April 18, 2008 letting. Citizens were advised that the City had submitted three streets for resurfacing and this was the street chosen by the DOT. The Mayor recognized Willie Mitchell who expressed his concerns about the loaded dump trucks that were traveling on the portion of Douglas Court from Highway 80 to the back of Douglas Plaza and questioned whether it would do any good to resurface the street without stopping the trucks from using the roadway. Mr. Mitchell provided photographs of the damaged road and the large holes that were at the back of the building. Mr. Mitchell also expressed concerns about standing water on Douglas Court that was a safety hazard for vehicles. The Mayor advised Mr. Mitchell that he would contact the Police Chief and discuss with him the ticketing of trucks that were over the load limit and expressed his appreciation to Mr. Mitchell for providing this information to the council.
Under citizen comments, Latrelle Kling asked if the City had sent anyone to the Water Conservation Committee meetings and the Mayor advised her that he and Roland Waller had attended those meetings. Citizen Jim Meyers expressed his concern about the reduction in the width of the turning lane in front of City Hall and questioned if it was due to the curb and gutter already in place. The Mayor advised him that since this was a DOT project the City had little say in the matter, but felt that it was probably due to the amount of right of way obtained in the first phase of the project. Citizen Pat Stanfield questioned the procedure for having items placed on the council agenda. The Mayor advised her that requests for the agenda are reviewed and those needing action by council are included on the agenda with others being handled by the administrative or maintenance departments. Citizen Mary Mitchell asked why her husband was not on the agenda to discuss Douglas Court. She was informed since Douglas Court was already on the agenda Mr. Mitchell had been allowed to address council with his concerns when that item was discussed. Latrelle Kling questioned why the City had included information in the newsletter about the Strawberry Festival at Ottawa Estates because there was an admission fee making it a moneymaking venture. Mayor Tipton stated that since it was an annual event held in our community he felt the citizens would be interested in this information.
Mayor Tipton stated that this concluded the items presented for consideration for inclusion on the council agenda prior to the deadline of Friday, February 15, 2008.
The accounts payable were reviewed with Councilman Ray making a motion to pay the bills. Councilman Waller seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Being no further business, Councilman Waller made a motion to adjourn at 7:45pm. Councilman Ray seconded the motion and it passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Tipton and all councilmembers 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 present to council. The statements of individuals are not verbatim and may be summary in nature.