April 21, 2014
The regular meeting of the Pooler City Council was held on April 21, 2014. Mayor Mike Lamb called the meeting to order at 6:31 p.m. (delayed due to the public hearing held prior). Present were Councilman Bruce Allen, 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 invocation was given by Councilman Allen and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Councilwoman Black.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as printed upon a motion by Councilman Burke, with the ability to later correct any inadvertent errors or omissions, as questioned by Councilwoman Benton in regards to the public hearing. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.
Report from the Standing Committees:
Councilman Burke presented bills for payment 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 141 calls this month, totaling 706 for the year and that the police department responded to 1367 calls since the last meeting, totaling 9641 for the year.
Councilwoman Benton reported that the street and drainage departments performed routine maintenance.
Councilman Wall reported that the water and sewer departments performed routine maintenance and that all parameters are being met at the wastewater treatment plant.
Councilwoman Black reported that baseball, softball and spring soccer games continue and that t-ball practice has begun.
Councilman Allen reported that six (6) new single family residential, 10 attached unit and three (3) commercial permits have been issued since the last meeting, totaling 52 single family, 32 attached unit and 55 commercial permits for the year, with 1541 inspections performed.
Mayor Lamb presented 10-year service pins to Police Sergeant Craig Bogden and Police Corporal Richard Mounkes, thanking them for their continued service.
Len Cutuli of the Pooler Lions Club updated Council on activities of the Lions Club.
Under OLD BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. Zoning map amendment of a 6.37 acre portion of the Lloyd Tract at the northwest corner of Highway 80 & Pooler Parkway from R-1A to C-1
Mr. Byrd presented the zoning map amendment of a 6.37 acre portion of the Lloyd Tract, stating that the request was tabled at the last meeting. Councilman David Burke made a motion after review of the criteria, to deny the zoning map amendment. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal. Attorney Tom Mahoney, representing the owner, Alan Dasher, reminded Council that the request has come before both Planning & Zoning and Council several times in the past, with Planning & Zoning recommending approval and Council tabling the item due to a technical issue, with the petitioner then requesting it to be withdrawn and then be allowed to re-apply without limitations. Mr. Mahoney stated that Mr. Dasher is in the business of mini-warehousing and he intends to construct a much needed low volume, low traffic storage facility to accommodate the residents of Pooler. Further, that after the conditional use request to construct a mini-warehouse storage facility at the northwest corner of Highway 80 & Pooler Parkway was approved on November 4, 2013 with Council requesting public safety issues be addressed, including access to all the lots with Highway 80 frontage, Mr. Dasher moved forward with purchasing all four (4) lots to meet the issues and now that he has ownership, he is fully invested not just in the two (2) lots he has plans to build on, but has the other two (2) outparcels. Further, that Mr. Dasher did not know, nor did anyone else, that when Council approved the conditional use in November, he needed to re-zone the property. Mr. Mahoney stated that his client has met with William Grainger, adjacent property owner, in an attempt to resolve Mr. Grainger’s objection to the request, which has been unsuccessful, noting that Mr. Grainger’s plans are different from Mr. Dasher’s plans as outlined in Mr. Grainger’s 2005 zoning map amendment of 22 acres to C-2 (heavy commercial). Mr. Mahoney addressed each of the zoning standards, noting that the request meets all the standards, in particular #8, the requirement that there will be no adverse impact on the adjacent or nearby properties. In addition, the plan provides a larger amount of buffer than required by ordinance, and that the back of the building will provide a wall. Mr. Dasher stated that he has met each and every one of Council’s concerns and that he would not have purchased the property if the conditional use was not approved, thus requesting approval of his request. Mr. Scheer asked Mr. Dasher if he was aware that if Council has approved something that is contrary to the City’s ordinance, it would have been a nullity or illegal, stating that if Mr. Dasher had built the facility then he could have been forced to tear it down. Further, that the City corrected what was an error in the application as soon as it was brought to his attention. Attorney Phillip McCorkle, representing Mr. Grainger, stated that Mr. Grainger has not submitted a petition for re-zoning, nor has he reached an agreement with Mr. Dasher. Further, that the requested re-zoning will restrict the use of Mr. Grainger’s property to R-1A and adversely affect the property values, making it less suitable and less marketable. Johnny Ganem, appraiser, presented his viewpoint on the request, stating that when you put a commercial project next to residential property, there will be some impact, more than likely an adverse impact to the property, taking away one of the principals in the bundle of rights as to quiet enjoyment, use and free development of the property which could lead to an economic impact, making it less competitive than other residential properties, whether the commercial use is low impact or not. Mayor Lamb called for the vote on the motion. Motion passed without opposition.
2. Conditional use to construct a mini-warehouse storage facility in the northwest quadrant of Highway 80 & Pooler Parkway
Mr. Byrd stated that due to item #1 being denied, this item should be denied also. Mr. Scheer asked that this item be denied, based on it not meeting the zoning ordinance. Councilman Allen made a motion to deny the conditional use. Motion was seconded by Councilman Burke. Mick Jordan, Realtor for the property, expressed appreciation to the Council for correcting the zoning and conditional use matter, stating that he wished it could have been before his client purchased the property. Mr. Scheer reiterated that if the action taken in November by Council was illegal, which it was, then it was a nullity, and Mr. Dasher would have expended a large amount of money on construction only to find out later that it was illegal and would have to tear it down. Further, that Council acted as quickly as possible, before the minutes were approved, within less than two (2) weeks to correct a situation that was begun when the application was sent in, noting that the person making the application should have realized that what they were asking for was illegal. Mr. Jordan stated that he agreed with Mr. Scheer’s statement. Mayor Lamb called for the vote on the motion. Motion passed without opposition.
Under NEW BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. Conditional use to construct a youth community daycare facility at 1335 S. Rogers Street
A public hearing was held prior. Terry Coleman of Coleman Company, Inc. requested this item be tabled to allow his client to reconsider the request. Mr. Scheer recommended that, based on the legal opinion he gave, the petitioner be given an opportunity to consider their options (including re-zoning) or to prove him wrong and give the petitioner time to secure legal counsel to present this information. Councilwoman Benton stated that while there may be options, there is still the fact that the road was in Federal litigation ten years ago and is still overburdened. Mr. Scheer stated that this can be brought up if the petitioner requests a re-zoning of the property. Councilwoman Benton made a motion to table the request until the next meeting. Discussion followed, wherein Councilman Wall agreed with Councilwoman Benton, stating that the facility would pose a public safety problem which would outweigh the qualifications of the requested facility. Mr. Scheer stated that he does not believe the petition being presented is legal and that it needs to be done correctly, with the petitioner being given the opportunity to have legal counsel to ensure what he is saying is correct, and if he is not, then decide on the merits as to whether or not the request is in the best interests of the residents. And, if he is correct, then the request would be a nullity if Council approves it. Motion died due to lack of a second. Councilman Wall stated that the project is too large for the residential area and made a motion, after review of the criteria, to deny the conditional use based on public safety concerns. Motion was seconded by Councilman Burke and passed without opposition.
2. Construction plan for Triple B Trail improvements/infrastructure
Mr. Byrd presented the construction plan for the Triple B Trail improvements and infrastructure, stating that all of the engineering comments have been addressed. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Royal, to approve the plan, contingent upon EPD approval, a tree reimbursement in the amount of $4875.00 being submitted to the City and the notice to proceed not being given until the letter of credit issues are resolved. Motion passed without opposition.
3. Site plan for a warehouse/trucking facility in the North Godley Industrial Park
Mr. Byrd presented a site plan for a warehouse/trucking facility in the North Godley Industrial Park. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the site plan, contingent upon EPD approval, Public Works’ comments being addressed, a tree reimbursement in the amount of $4500.00 being submitted to the City and no building permits being issued until the letter of credit issues are resolved. Motion was seconded by Councilman Burke and passed with Councilman Allen opposing.
4. Revised subdivision plat of Godley Towne Center to add utility easements
The developer of Godley Towne center has submitted a revised subdivision plat to add a reconfigured utility easement on Parcel 4. Councilman Allen made a motion, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, to approve the plat. Motion passed without opposition.
5. Change Order #2 for Sidewalk Extension Phase III project
Mr. Byrd presented a change order in the amount of $6450.00 for Phase III of the Sidewalk Extension project. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the change order. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition.
6. First Reading on amendment to “False Alarm Service Fee” ordinance
Mr. Byrd presented an amendment to the false alarm service fee ordinance, to amend the fee to $100.00 per call, in excess of three (3). Councilman Royal made a motion, seconded by Councilman Allen to approve the amendment on First Reading, contingent upon the city attorney’s approval. Motion passed without opposition.
7. First Reading on amendment to “No Through Truck Traffic on Pine Barren Road” ordinance
Mr. Byrd presented an amendment to the “No Through Traffic on Pine Barren Road” ordinance to prohibit all trucks with three (3) or more axles from traveling through Pine Barren Road from Pooler Parkway to the overpass at I-95. Councilman Royal made a motion to approve the amendment on First Reading, contingent upon the city attorney’s approval. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.
8. First Reading on “No Through Truck Traffic on Old Louisville Road” ordinance
Mr. Byrd presented an ordinance to prohibit trucks with three (3) or more axles from traveling through Old Louisville Road. Councilman Royal made a motion to approve the ordinance on First Reading, contingent upon the city attorney’s approval. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.
Councilman Wall made a motion to adjourn to Executive Session at approximately 7:55 p.m. to discuss legal matters. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Black and passed without opposition.
Mayor Lamb called the meeting back to order at 8:05 p.m.
There being no further business to discuss, Councilman Allen made a motion to adjourn at approximately 8:05 p.m. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.
A public hearing was held prior to the regular City Council meeting on
April 21, 2014. Mayor Mike Lamb called the hearing to order at 5:45 p.m. Present were Councilman Bruce Allen, Councilwoman Rebecca Benton, Councilwoman Shannon Black, Councilman David Burke, Councilman Mike Royal (arrived late) 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 construct a youth community daycare facility at 1335 S. Rogers Street. Terry Coleman of Coleman Company Inc. on behalf of the potential owners, Ron & Diane Robinson, presented the conditional use request, stating that the intent is to operate a daycare for children from the ages of four (4) years old to 17 years old, Monday through Friday, and that under the City’s zoning ordinance, this type of facility is allowed as a conditional use. Mr. Scheer stated that he has reservations, asking Mr. Coleman to explain what basis a facility with 75 children is allowed in R-1A (single-family residential) zoning, adding that he does not see how it is allowed. Mr. Coleman replied that after reviewing the ordinance, it appears that privately owned day nurseries are allowed and that they are defined. Further, that a site plan is required to be submitted with the application for a conditional use, noting that if the plan was to place a daycare in a home, a site plan would not be needed. Mr. Scheer reiterated that he does not see the plan as being a day nursery, preschool or kindergarten. Further, that the City has, for years, always taken the position, even in Federal court, that South Rogers Street was overburdened with traffic 10 years ago and that it has not changed a lot. Mr. Scheer stated again that he has concern over whether this type of facility is allowed in R-1A zoning, stating that the only daycares allowed in R-1A are limited to a maximum of six (6) children. Mr. Coleman stated that he interprets the ordinance to read that the requirements are identified in regards to the amount of square footage, per child, is needed for the playground and within the building. Mr. Scheer stated that the ordinance does not have provisions for a daycare with 75 children and that he does not believe the request is for a nursery, preschool or kindergarten, and that Section 5 ( c) (3) of the ordinance regarding playground area that Mr. Coleman is referring to, is for nurseries, preschools or kindergartens. Mr. Coleman presented information on what type of services would be provided to the children and stated that after meeting with the adjacent property owners and neighboring residents, the site plan was amended to create a buffer, allowing more distance from the adjacent property owner, William & Joyce Baker. Further, that they have provided a suitable site plan that does provide protection to a residential use adjacent to the conditional use and that they have taken measures to weaken the impact on any kind of use that is not in like kind. Mr. & Mrs. Robinson presented information as to the type of programs that are proposed, noting that their intent is to combat youth drug abuse, which is proven to begin at age 12. Further, that the majority of daycares stop taking children at age 12, therefore they become “latchkey”, with the proposed facility being a place where they can go and receive the attention needed to keep them gainfully involved in something that is good and safe for them. Attorney J. B. Blackburn, Jr., representing the adjacent property and a group of neighboring residents, stated that he agrees with Mr. Scheer, presenting information within the City’s ordinance providing that a childcare center is a land use that is predominantly commercial in nature. Mr. Blackburn added that R-1A zoning is the most protected district and that this request for a childcare facility could be considered a subterfuge. Further, that his clients are not opposed to the concept of the plan, but to it being put in an R-1A zoning district. And, that South Rogers is a congested street, noting that the proposed facility will generate 61 additional trips each way during peak hours. Tommy Davis, executor of the property, stated that the property has been vandalized on several occasions by teenagers and that this type of facility is much needed. Mr. Coleman stated that if developed as single-family residential, 36 homes can be built, which could generate more traffic. Further, that the ordinance does not refer to the amount of children nor their age. Shonda Reid, adjacent property owner and owner of a family home daycare, presented information as to the State of Georgia’s requirements for daycare centers, noting a problem with the classification of the proposed facility, asking if the owners will be licensed. Ms. Reid reiterated the fact that South Rogers Street is already congested and questioned if children outside the community will be attending the center. Sandra Sherwood-Davis stated that part of the property is zoned R-1C.
There being no further discussion, the hearing was adjourned at approximately 6:26 p.m.