CITY OF POOLER
MAY 1, 2017
The regular meeting of the Pooler City Council was held on May 1, 2017. Mayor Mike Lamb called the meeting to order at 6:06 p.m. (delayed due to the public hearing held prior). Present were Councilman Bruce Allen, Councilwoman Rebecca Benton, Councilwoman Shannon Black, Councilman Ashley Brown, Councilman Mike Royal and Councilman Stevie Wall. City Manager Robbie Byrd, Finance Officer Michelle Warner and City Attorney Steve Scheer were also present.
The invocation was given by Councilman Allen and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Mayor Lamb.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as printed upon a motion by Councilwoman Benton, seconded by Councilman Royal, with no opposition.
The minutes of the April 17th Executive Session were approved upon a motion by Councilman Royal, seconded by Councilman Brown, with no opposition.
Report from the Standing Committees:
Councilman Wall presented bills in excess of $1500.00 for payment and made a motion to pay, subject to funds. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.
Councilman Royal reported that the fire department responded to 309 calls since the last meeting, totaling 1280 for the year and that the police department responded to 1517 calls, totaling 12,462 for the year.
Councilwoman Benton reported that the street department picked up trash in designated areas as needed, repaired the sidewalk in Towne Lakes, poured a driveway for the lift station on Governor Treutlen Boulevard and swept seven (7) miles of streets. Further, that the drainage department performed routine maintenance in Country Homes Subdivision and Benton Canal, picked up trash in designated areas, completed four (4) citizen work requests and removed beaver dams and jetted pipes under Quacco Road at Quacco Canal.
Councilman Brown reported that the water department inspected four (4) water meters for new construction, repaired or replaced approximately 75 meter devices, replaced the chlorine ejector system at well #3, performed maintenance on several fire hydrants, witnessed the testing and certification of 31 backflow preventers and performed 310 line locates requested by the Utility Protection Center. Further, that the sewer department performed one (1) grinder pump, four (4) lift station and five (5) sewer calls. Also, that the wastewater treatment plant is meeting its permit.
Councilwoman Black reported that gymnastics, dance and tennis lessons continue as well as youth volleyball games. Further, that t-ball games are ongoing.
Councilman Allen reported that 17 new single family residential, five (5) attached unit and three (3) commercial permits were issued since the last meeting, with 149 inspections performed.
Under OLD BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. Site yard building setback variance at 205 Longleaf Circle
A public hearing was held on March 20th. Tyler Wall presented a request for a 3' side yard building setback to construct a storage shed for his 23' boat. After review of the criteria, Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the variance, based on the request meeting #1 and #3. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.
2. Second Reading on amendment to planning ordinance
Mr. Byrd presented an amendment to the planning ordinance to restructure the planning commission to consist of six (6) city employees and one (1) resident. After discussion, Councilman Brown made a motion to approve the amendment on Second Reading. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton. Several residents expressed opposition to the amendment, including Maryanne Hedrick, stating that citizen involvement is important. Samuel Bostick stated that currently there is a vacancy on the board and no alternate and presented concern that the City may not be following its comprehensive plan which provides for more community involvement. Alice White stated that the restructured board will take away valuable input from citizens, adding that employees will not be comfortable making decisions that Council may not agree is suitable. Aaron Higgins presented an amendment he wrote, asking for consideration to adopt it, adding that the planning and zoning board can be improved. Dr. Kenneth Foster stated that he believes Council is headed in the wrong direction and that fair representation is reasonable and equitable. T. C. Williams also presented opposition. Karen Williams stated that citizens are not as comfortable speaking to elected officials, adding that discussions with citizen representatives should be more cohesive. The motion then passed without opposition.
Under NEW BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. Agreement with Georgia International and Maritime Trade Center Authority
Sherrie Spinks, representing the Georgia International and Maritime Trade Center Authority, presented the Fifth Amendment to the Intergovernmental Contract to assist in the operation and management of the Trade Center. Councilman Wall asked that there be more communication between the Authority and the Pooler Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. Councilwoman Benton made a motion, seconded by Councilman Royal, to approve the Fifth Amendment, contingent upon the Authority meeting with the Council at least two (2) times a year, to update the City on the operation of the Trade Center. Motion passed without opposition.
2. Variances for parking setbacks and building height for Aloft Hotel
A public hearing was held prior wherein several residents expressed opposition to the variances. HOS Management submitted requests for a 10' parking setback variance along Towne Center Drive and Barrett Drive, a 10' rear parking setback variance and a 20'6" maximum building height variance to construct a five (5) story, 129 room hotel. Councilman Wall questioned whether fire trucks would be able to access the property and reach the proposed height, wherein Fire Chief Wade Simmons replied that a ladder truck has been purchased that can better maneuver properties such as this one. Further, that the current height limits need to be revisited within the City ordinances. Councilwoman Benton stated that during the public hearing there was no opposition presented from adjacent property owners. Maryanne Hedrick, resident, presented concern over development affecting residents’ quality of life, adding that a traffic study has not been performed, stressing the importance of traffic management. After review of the criteria, Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the variances, based on the request meeting #1 and #3. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Black and passed with Councilman Allen and Councilman Brown in opposition of the motion.
3. Site plan for Aloft Hotel
The owner’s intent is to construct a five (5) story, 129 room hotel at 1423 Benton Boulevard. Mr. Byrd stated that variances were approved in Item #2. Councilman Wall asked if the petitioner was willing to participate with funding the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Towne Center Drive and Benton Boulevard. Mr. Byrd added that the City of Savannah should also participate, due to the volume of traffic generated in the area coming from the adjacent multi-family residential and commercial properties within their city limits. Councilman Wall stated that the Planned Unit Development in this area was approved in the late 1990s to consist of single-family and multi-family residential homes mixed with light and heavy commercial zoned areas to be all inclusive. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, to approve the site plan, contingent upon the traffic signal being operational before the certificate of occupancy is issued for the hotel and the developer agreeing to participate in up to 50% of the cost of the signal. Motion passed with Councilman Allen and Councilman Brown in opposition of the motion.
4. Site plan for Coastal Electric of Georgia
Coastal Electric of Georgia, a 10,000 sq ft. building with office space, is proposed at 2 Westside Court. Mr. Byrd stated that the engineering comments have been addressed. After discussion, Councilwoman Benton made a motion to approve the site plan, contingent upon a fence being installed as required by ordinance and NRCS approval. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.
5. Site plan for Savannah Tire at 1511 Pooler Parkway
A 11,000 sq. ft. building with an office is proposed for a second Savannah Tire facility. After discussion concerning the frontage road, Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the site plan. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.
6. Alcoholic beverage license for Yash Desai at Pump n Go
Yash Desai submitted an application to sell beer and wine at the new Pump n Go at 1507 Quacco Road. Mr. Byrd stated that Police Chief Mark Revenew has performed the background investigation and recommends approval. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Brown, to approve the license. Motion passed with Councilman Allen in opposition of the motion.
7. Temporary/special event alcohol license for R. Thom Peebles, Jr. for 5K /5M Mud Run on June 17th at JCB
R. Thom Peebles, Jr. submitted an application to serve alcohol at a 5K/5M Mud Run, sponsored by The Lade Bamford Center/Wesley Community Center on June 17th at JCB. Mr. Byrd stated that Police Chief Mark Revenew has performed the background investigation and recommends approval. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the license, contingent upon Chief Revenew’s approval of security and parking for the event. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed with Councilman Allen in opposition of the motion.
8. Temporary/special event alcohol license for Addonda Hudson on June 10th at Ramada Inn
Addonda Hudson submitted an application to serve alcohol to invited guests at the Ramada Inn on June 10th. Mr. Byrd stated that Police Chief Mark Revenew has performed the background investigation and recommends approval. Councilman Brown made a motion, seconded by Councilman Royal, to approve the license. Motion passed with Councilman Allen in opposition of the motion.
9. Special event permit for 5K Run at Tanger Outlets on September 16th and to waive fees
Handcuffed to My Hero, Inc., a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization has submitted a request for a 5K run at Tanger Outlets on September 16th. Councilwoman Benton made a motion to approve the event and waive the fees, contingent upon Chief Revenew approving the race route, which includes Tanger Outlets Boulevard. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.
10. Letter of agreement with Thomas & Hutton for design of new traffic signal at Pooler Parkway & Memorial Boulevard
Mr. Byrd presented a Letter of Agreement for engineering services for the design of a new traffic signal located at the intersection of Pooler Parkway and Cabernet Way, not Memorial Boulevard. Councilman Royal made a motion to approve the agreement in the amount of $9000.00. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.
Alice White of White Development Company, stated that Council did not address the variance standards in one of the items, which Mayor Lamb replied that the standards were addressed.
William Melson, resident on Kingfisher Circle, asked Council to look at stricter buffer and setback requirements and noted that a traffic study was not performed at the intersection where the new Publix is being built.
Aaron Higgins asked if the amendment to the planning ordinance was final and if the copy he received at the last meeting was the latest version.
There being no further business to discuss or the need for an Executive Session, Councilman Wall made a motion to adjourn at approximately 7:47 p.m. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.
A public hearing was held prior to the regular City Council meeting on
May 1, 2017. Mike Lamb called the hearing to order at 5:45 p.m. Present were Councilman Bruce Allen, Councilwoman Rebecca Benton, Councilwoman Shannon Black, Councilman Ashley Brown, Councilman Mike Royal and Councilman Stevie Wall. City Manager Robbie Byrd, Finance Officer Michelle Warner and City Attorney Steve Scheer were also present.
The purpose of the hearing was to discuss requested variances for parking setbacks and building height for the proposed Aloft Hotel at 1423 Benton Boulevard. Terry Coleman of Coleman Company, representing Anil Patel, owner of HOS Management, presented the variances, stating that similar variances have been approved in Godley Station. Further, that over one-half of the requested height variance consists of a parapet wall and screening for the mechanical equipment on the roof. Mr. Coleman added that this property is zoned heavy commercial within a Planned Unit Development and presented a comparison of traffic generated by retail versus a hotel and retail/restaurants versus a hotel, noting that there are many more trips generated by retail and or retail/restaurants than a hotel. Aaron Higgins, resident, expressed concern about the height and location of the proposed hotel, stating that no other building in Pooler is as high. Mr. Higgins presented a petition signed by several people in opposition of the variances. Samuel Bostick, resident, questioned if a hotel is the best use, noting that the property is not large enough. Mr. Bostick presented a definition of the variance and the standards to be considered for granting them and stated that the development as planned does not meet the parking requirements for buses and trucks. Further, that a hotel is not the best land use for the property. Larry Olliff, resident, stated that other types of development that are permitted could create more traffic. Mr. Coleman noted that the proposed development is a “high-end” hotel, mainly used by corporate staff for extended visits, with no need for tractor/trailer parking. Jeff Delaney, resident, stated that he is in favor of the hotel, without the variances.
There being no further discussion, the hearing was adjourned at approximately 6:06 p.m.