CITY COUNCIL MEETING – JANUARY 7, 2016– 7:00 P.M.
Mayor Rozier called the meeting to order and Reverend James Jividen gave the Invocation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. Councilmembers Griffin, Grizzard, Kerby, Key, Myrick, Otto, Attorney Raymond Dickey, City Administrator Charles Akridge were present. Asst. City Clerk Diane Proudfoot was absent due to the passing of a family member.
Mayor Rozier recognized Mr. John Wilcher who is running for Sheriff of Chatham County. Mr. Wilcher then gave a brief presentation of his qualifications for the office stating that he would appreciate the opportunity to serve Chatham County in that capacity.
Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the draft copies of the Minutes of the December 3, 2015 City Council Meeting and the Special Called Meeting of December 17, 2015. Councilman Kerby seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously with the exception of Councilwoman Griffin who stated that she would abstain from the vote on the meeting of December 17, 2015 since she was not present.
Councilman Otto made a motion to approve the Agenda as presented with tabling Item #5 and adding Item #6 – Consider addition of streetlight on Horne Street. Councilman Kerby seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Councilwoman Griffin reported that the Recreation Department signups will begin on January 9 and that the programs are continuing to grow. Mrs. Griffin encouraged everyone to continue to support the Recreation Department.
Councilman Grizzard reported that the next Senior Citizen Covered Dish Luncheon would be held on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at Noon at the Community Center.
Mayor Rozier opened the Public Hearing for:
1) Conditional Use Request submitted by Kimberly Moore to place livestock (Horses) in an R-1 Zoning District at the end of Maple Street.
Mr. and Mrs. James Moore came forward to state that they would like to place two horses or not more than four horses on the five acres property in question.
City Attorney Dickey noted that this was for a Conditional Use request for R-1 and not to be used for any agricultural purposes.
City Administrator Akridge stipulated that all horses would have to be enclosed 100 feet from any dwelling.
Councilwoman Griffin stated that she had visited the property and talked with the neighbors and everyone encouraged the proposal.
Mr. L.B. Davis, 507 Oak Street spoke in favor of the proposal.
Councilwoman Key made a motion to close the Public Hearing. Councilwoman Griffin seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
2) Variance Request submitted by Randy Wood for the sale of alcoholic beverages within 200 yards of a church at Wood’s Kitchen – 1304 East Highway 80.
Mayor Rozier opened the Public Hearing.
Mr. Randy Wood came forward to address the Council. Mayor Rozier asked Mr. Wood about the number of seats that were available in the restaurant. Mr Wood replied about 30 seats.
Councilman Grizzard asked Mr. Wood about alcohol being taken over to the Pickin Parlor next door. Mr. Wood responded that they would have to pay a cover charge. Attorney Dickey stated that, if approved, no alcohol could leave the establishment of which the license is held.
At this time, Councilwoman Griffin stated that she would recuse herself from the discussion and any decisions and further reserve the right to speak on the matter as a citizen and a member of the Nazarene Church.
James Jividen, Pastor of the Nazarene Church, came forward and referenced the letter that was included in the Council packet that voiced opposition to the proposal. (Letter Incorporated by reference). Rev. Jividen also stated that Council may propose an amendment to the Ordinance that all churches could speak to and be included in the discussion.
Mayor Rozier asked Rev. Jividen about bible scripture in which water was turned into wine. Rev. Jividen offered an explanation to the question.
Mr. Travis Youmans, 2406 Shaw Avenue, Garden City spoke in opposition to the request and asked that Council stick to the Ordinance as written.
Pastor Julie Stanley-Mack, Lifespring Christian Center, spoke in opposition of the request stating that her church works with alcoholics and asked the Council to consider the congregation and their strong convictions regarding alcohol. She also voiced concerns regarding driver safety.
City Administrator Akridge read into the record a letter submitted by Westside Christian Church which is incorporated by reference and attached.
Mrs. Barbara Griffin, 1111 East Highway 80, came forward and stated that she was appalled that Mayor Rozier would ask a question related to scripture and denomination faith in a public meeting. The question should not have been asked as the matter at hand was to grant the variance and had nothing to do with someone’s faith. Mayor Rozier stated that he simply asked a question of the pastor and was not belittling anyone’s faith
Mr. Randy Wood stated that he was aware of how the church people feel and stated that he did not begrudge anyone’s right to drink if they so choose. He also stated that he felt a precedent had been set when a former Council had granted a Variance to a convenience store in a strip mall years earlier.
At this time, Councilman Myrick stated that he would abstain from voting due to the fact that he received a letter about this issue and was an abutting property owner. Councilman Myrick did inform those in attendance that any Sunday Sales application would be a different application that would have to be approved by the Council.
City Attorney then informed those in attendance of the three types of alcohol licenses.
With no further discussion, Councilman Grizzard made a motion to close the Public Hearing. Councilman Myrick seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously,
Mr. Chris Lightle, CPA/Auditor, came forward and spoke to the Council regarding the FY 2014/2015 Audit Report. Mr. Lightle stated there were numerous positive and consistent parts of the Audit and spoke briefly on each including the unassigned Fund Balance which contained just under four months of resources in case of an emergency with the standard being between 3 and 6 months. Other positives were the SPLOST fund and budget overruns had been reduced from almost $200,000 to $2,000 for the year in the General Fund. Mr. Lightle also thanked Staff for being proactive in their management of the Budget. Councilman Myrick also praised the Staff for their Budget oversight. Councilman Kerby stated that he felt like that the City was running more and more like a business.
Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the Conditional Use request. Councilwoman Griffin seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Councilwoman Griffin recused herself by stepping down from the discussion. Councilman Myrick noted that he would abstain from voting. After discussion of the proposal, Mrs. Diane Hatter, 340 Frank Edwards Street, Ellabell asked about the site distance.
Mr. Alton Griffin, 1111 East Highway 80, stated that the Ordinance should be followed and that the proposal would affect every church in Bloomingdale.
Mr. Eddie Deas, 139 Michael Street, spoke at length to his opposition to the proposal
Ms. Julie Stanley-Mack, Pastor, Lifespring Christian Center, again stated her opposition and thanked the Council for listening.
Mayor Rozier requested a motion to approve the proposal. The request failed for a lack of action on the matter.
City Administrator Akridge stated that the Planning Commission Chairman Dexter Shearhouse was recommending that Betty Burke be reappointed and that Mr. Jarrod Waller and Mr. Mike Bazemore be appointed to two years term on the Planning Commission with Clint Proudfoot as an alternate. Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the recommendation. Councilman Grizzard seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
This item was tabled.
After a brief discussion, Councilman Myrick made a motion to approve the installation of the streetlight with the cost being $13.77 per month. Councilwoman Griffin seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
EXECUTIVE SESSION - PERSONNEL
Councilman Grizzard made a motion to go into Executive Session to discuss Personnel. Councilwoman Key seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Execute Affidavit pursuant to Georgia Open Meetings Laws
Councilman Myrick made a motion to return to the general session and execute the Affidavit pursuant to Georgia Open Meetings Laws. Councilman Grizzard seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Councilman Myrick made a motion to pay the bills. Councilman Kerby seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
With there being no further business, Councilman Grizzard made a motion to Adjourn. Councilwoman Otto seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Charles Akridge, City Administrator
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.