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  • Photo Courtesy of The Fortune Image
  • Photo Courtesy of The Fortune Image
  • Photo Courtesy of The Fortune Image

Council Minutes October 21, 2013

CITY OF POOLER
COUNCIL MINUTES
OCTOBER 21, 2013

The regular meeting of the Pooler City Council was held on October 21, 2013. Mayor Mike Lamb called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Present were Councilwoman Rebecca Benton, Councilwoman Shannon Black, Councilman David Burke, Councilman Mike Royal and Councilman Stevie Wall. City Manager Robbie Byrd, Finance Officer/Assistant City Manager Michelle McNeely and City Attorney Steve Scheer were also present. Councilman Bruce Allen was absent due to work.

The invocation was given by Mayor Lamb and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Councilwoman Black.

Councilwoman Benton stepped down from her seat to recuse herself. The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as printed upon a motion by Councilman Wall, seconded by Councilman Royal, with no opposition. Councilwoman Benton returned to her seat.

The approval of the minutes of the October 7th Executive Session was postponed until the next meeting.

Report from the Standing Committees:

FINANCE
Councilman Burke presented bills in excess of $1500.00 for the month, and made a motion to approve, subject to funds. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.

PUBLIC SAFETY
Councilman Royal reported that the fire department responded to 154 calls this month, totaling 2058 for the year and that the police department responded to 1953 calls during the period of October 7th through the 20th, totaling 26,492 for the year.

STREET/DRAINAGE
Councilwoman Benton reported that the street and drainage departments performed routine maintenance.

WATER/SEWER
Councilman Wall reported that the water and sewer departments performed routine maintenance and that all parameters are being met at the wastewater treatment plant.

RECREATION
Councilwoman Black reported that fall sports continue.

BUILDING/ZONING
Councilwoman Benton reported that four (4) new single family residential, eight (8) attached unit and one (1) commercial permit were issued since the last meeting, totaling 139 single family, 36 attached unit and 94 commercial permits for the year, with 4284 inspections performed.

Councilman Wall made a motion to add Item #10 to the agenda. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.

Karen Robertson, Executive Director of the Pooler Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, updated Council on recent activities of the Chamber, adding that due to the recent commercial growth, membership has increased.

Under OLD BUSINESS the following was discussed:

1. Second Reading on amendment to sign ordinance regarding temporary special events
Mr. Byrd presented an amendment to the sign ordinance in regards to temporary special events. Councilman Burke made a motion to approve the amendment on Second Reading. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.

2. First Reading on ordinance regarding escorts and escort services
Councilwoman Benton made a motion to withdraw the ordinance, based on Mr. Scheer’s recommendation, to not imply that escort services are condoned. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.

Under NEW BUSINESS the following was discussed:

1. Conditional use to operate a beauty shop at 131 Read Street
A public hearing was held prior. Councilman Wall stated that a drainage study has been proposed for the area, questioning the time frame. Matt Saxon, Public Works Director, replied that an engineering firm is assisting with a Community Development Block Grant application, and once approved, the work will begin. Councilman Wall asked if any work could be performed to remedy the immediate issues, wherein Mr. Saxon replied affirmatively, adding that the drainage study will identify the problem. Councilwoman Benton asked if Ms. Brantley intended to have any employees, wherein Scotty Fletcher, resident, replied on behalf of Ms. Brantley that there would be no employees. Councilman Wall made a motion to deny the conditional use, based on the request not meeting the criteria for granting a conditional use. Motion was seconded by Councilman Burke and passed with Councilwoman Benton and Councilwoman Black in opposition. Ms. Brantley stated that she is going to have a driveway put in soon.

2. Preliminary construction plan for Forest Lakes, Phase V
The developer has submitted a preliminary construction plan for the development of five (5) single family lots and the infrastructure to support the lots in Phase V of Forest Lakes Subdivision. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the plan. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.

3. Minor subdivision plat of Tract 3, The Roberts Tract
Tract 3 of The Roberts Tract, located on the north side of Jimmy DeLoach Parkway and west of Triple B Trail, is a 26.26 acre tract and the developer is requesting to subdivide the tract into two (2) parcels, with the proposed use to be a cold storage facility. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, to approve the plat. Motion passed without opposition.

4. Preliminary construction plan for Durham Park Townhomes, Phase 2
Phase 2 of Durham Park Townhomes consists of nine (9) townhome buildings. Councilwoman Benton made a motion to approve the preliminary construction plan, contingent upon the amenity site being completed in 60 days. Motion was seconded by Councilman Burke and passed without opposition.

5. Preliminary construction plan for Harmony, Phase 2
Phase 2 of Harmony Subdivision consists of 24 single family residential lots and the extension of Melody Drive, with the infrastructure to support the lots. Mr. Byrd stated that numerous concerns were presented at the Planning & Zoning meeting as follows: landscaping not being maintained, the trees in the subdivision dying and not being replaced, the lack of information regarding the proposed site plan/construction start date of the amenity center, the lack of open communication with the homeowners association, phone calls to the developer and Realtors not being returned, property values, HOA dues and the vacant parking lot for the proposed amenity center being utilized by non-residents. Jack Wardlaw of Harmony Partners, stated that he is aware of the residents’ concerns about the amenity site and presented a history of the development, noting that the development has gone through several different developers, banks and foreclosures since the subdivision was first approved. Further, that Harmony Partners is ready to start development again, to help property values to increase, adding that last week the homeowners were provided a proposal on building the amenity site, with special assessments to be approved by the homeowners association. Mr. Wardlaw stated that the banks will not lend money for the amenity site and that the site will be built, but will take time, and will depend on whether the special assessments are approved by the homeowners association. Councilman Wall expressed concern over the noted lack of communication between the developer and homeowners, questioning whether a meeting is scheduled. Councilman Wall presented information from 2008, a narrative submitted by Mr. Wardlaw, which stated that the amenity site would be constructed. Mr. Wardlaw replied that land has been set aside. Councilman Wall noted the other concerns, asking to hear from the residents. Cynthia Manochia, resident of Melody Drive and first homeowner in The Harmony, stated that Landmark 24 was the developer and as part of the closing, $1000.00 was paid by the builder, to be put into a capital account. Further, that the funds are only being used for the upkeep of the common space, not towards the construction of the amenity site. Ms. Manochio questioned the developer’s willingness to communicate with the homeowners, stating the need for more than one meeting per year, as well as the concern over numerous telephone calls not being returned. Further, that the homeowners’ dues are in an escrow account, with no access, that an undue burden has been placed on all the homeowners and that false information has been provided by the developer and Realtors. Ms. Manochia asked that this plan be denied until an amenity site is in place. Jessica Monroe, resident of Harmony Boulevard, stated that she purchased her home from Konter Homes and was told the amenity site would be completed by the end of the next season, noting that annual dues in the amount of $450.00 are paid to the homeowners association. Further, that the homeowners can form their own association. Matt Stowe, resident of Harmony Boulevard, stated that the developer (builder) is the homeowners association, and therefore, has authority on matters pertaining to the association. Mr. Wardlaw stated that he is willing to meet with the homeowners to go over the plan for the amenity site and will provide sufficient notice. Therefore, Councilman Wall made a motion to table this item. Motion was seconded by Councilman Burke and passed without opposition.

6. Decorative fence at 206 W. Symons Street 
Randy Walker, owner, presented this request, stating that the fence has been in place for over two (2) years and that he was not aware he needed a permit prior to construction. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the fence. Motion was seconded by Councilman Burke and passed without opposition.

7. Award bid for Pooler Parkway Intersection Upgrades
Mr. Byrd presented bids for the Pooler Parkway Intersection Upgrades, noting the low bid in the amount of $174,600.00. Councilman Burke made a motion to award the bid to the low bidder, E & D Contracting Services, Inc. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition. Mr. Byrd stated that the upgrades consist of the following: Pooler Parkway at Isaac G. LaRoche Drive/Durham Park Boulevard Intersection - increasing the storage length of the northbound left turn lane on Pooler Parkway from 150' to approximately 375'; Pooler Parkway at Godley Station Boulevard - developing a median break to accommodate left turns from Pooler Parkway northbound onto Godley Station Boulevard (left turns from Godley Station Boulevard will be prohibited and designed to deter said movement; Pooler Parkway at North Godley Station Boulevard/Park Avenue - increasing the storage length of the northbound left turn lane on Pooler Parkway from 200' to approximately 550'; and Pooler Parkway at Maxwell Drive - reconfiguring the intersection to prevent left turns from Maxwell Drive onto Pooler Parkway and increasing the storage length of the northbound left turn lane on Pooler Parkway from 150' to approximately 375'. Further, that these upgrades have been designed to keep from having to install additional traffic signals.

8. Special event permit for Chatham Parkway Toyota to sell automobiles at Wal-Mart parking lot on November 14th through 17th
Chatham Parkway Toyota has requested a permit to sell automobiles at the Wal-Mart parking lot during the dates of November 14th through the 17th. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Royal, to approve the permit. Motion passed without opposition.

9. Resolution regarding Budget Adjustment 2013-03
Ms. McNeely presented a resolution regarding Budget Adjustment 2013-03 (copy attached to and made a part of these minutes). Councilman Burke made a motion to approve the resolution. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.

10. Ratification of Certificate of Distribution for Local Option Sales Tax
Mr. Scheer stated that recently the court ruled that “baseball” arbitration was unconstitutional and as a result, it was recommended that all counties and cities who began their Local Option Sales Tax negotiations as such should re-sign the Certificate of Distribution by October 17th. Mr. Scheer added that the negotiations were settled voluntarily by Chatham County and its municipalities. Therefore, Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, to ratify Mayor Lamb signing the Certificate for it to be resubmitted. Motion passed without opposition.

Danielle Bucher, parent of a student at Pooler Elementary School, addressed Council in regards to the need for a pedestrian sidewalk on Holly Avenue. Mr. Byrd stated that this issue has been and would be further looked into.

Ashley Brown, resident, representing his father and uncle who own property on Chatham Avenue and North Morgan Street respectively, presented pictures of flooding that has occurred on their property, noting that Morgan Street acts like a “dam” during periods of heavy rain. Mr. Byrd stated that the city’s engineer has inspected the pipe under Morgan Street, recommending that it be blown out to remedy this problem.

Eric Rucher, resident of Stuart Street, questioned whether the drainage study discussed earlier will include Stuart Street. Mr. Byrd replied that it does not, but that this is the first phase of drainage improvements throughout the City and that other areas will be addressed in the future.

Rick Danis, resident, asked that information be provided on the utility bills to notify residents that the meeting agendas are available on the City’s website.

Councilman Wall made a motion to adjourn to Executive Session at approximately 7:54 p.m. to discuss legal, land acquisition and personnel matters. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.

Mayor Lamb called the meeting back to order at 8:29 p.m.

There being no further business to discuss, Councilman Wall made a motion to adjourn at approximately 8:29 p.m. Motion was seconded by Councilman Burke and passed without opposition.

Public Hearing

A public hearing was held prior to the regular City Council meeting on 
October 21, 2013. Mayor Mike Lamb called the hearing to order at 5:45 p.m. Present were Councilwoman Rebecca Benton, Councilwoman Shannon Black, Councilman David Burke, Councilman Mike Royal and Councilman Stevie Wall. City Manager Robbie Byrd, Finance Officer/Assistant City Manager Michelle McNeely and City Attorney Steve Scheer were also present. 

The purpose of the hearing was to discuss a requested conditional use to operate a beauty shop at 131 Read Street. Tonya Munn, resident of Kelly Avenue, expressed concern over existing drainage problems in the area, noting that the proposed driveway will cause more water run-off onto adjacent property. Ms. Munn questioned whether there would be any employees at the beauty shop. Veronica Wiesner, resident of Kelly Avenue, stated that there was enough commercial space available for a beauty shop. Lacy Hicks, resident of Kelly Avenue, reiterated concern over the water run-off and added that increased traffic will create a hazard, especially for the children playing in the area. Karen Morgan, resident of Kelly Avenue, stated that the ditch near her home needs cleaning. Lisa Fletcher, addressed Council on behalf of the owner, Bedie Brantley, stating that Ms. Brantley has plans for retiring and that the improvements being done to the property will only enhance the area. 

There being no further discussion, the hearing was adjourned at approximately 5:58 p.m.

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