Council Minutes December 15, 2014

CITY OF POOLER
COUNCIL MINUTES
DECEMBER 15, 2014

 

The regular meeting of the Pooler City Council was held on December 15, 2014. 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 and Finance Officer/Assistant City Manager Michelle McNeely were also present. Attorney Craig Call was present on behalf of City Attorney Steve Scheer. Councilman Bruce Allen was absent due to work.

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

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as printed upon a motion by Councilman Wall, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, with no opposition.

The minutes of the December 1st Executive Session were approved upon a motion by Councilman Burke, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, with no opposition. 
Report from the Standing Committees:

FINANCE
Councilman Burke presented bills in excess of $1500.00 and made a motion to pay, subject to funds. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.

PUBLIC SAFETY
Councilman Wall reported that the fire department responded to 113 calls since the last meeting, totaling 2860 calls for the year and that the police department responded to 1177 calls, totaling 28,611 for the year. 

STREET/DRAINAGE
Councilwoman Benton reported that the street and drainage departments performed routine maintenance and that all the holiday decorations are installed.

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 registration for the winter session of gymnastics has begun and that the seniors will have their holiday party on the 18th.

BUILDING/ZONING
Councilwoman Benton reported that six (6) residential and 24 attached unit permits were issued since the last meeting, totaling 162 single family and 132 attached unit permits for the year, with 5486 inspections performed. 

Councilman Wall made a motion to add Item #1 under Old Business. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.

OLD BUSINESS

1. Discussion concerning Chatham Area Transit (CAT) bus service
Councilman Wall stated that it has been brought to his attention that the CAT Authority is trying to add its bus service within Pooler, noting that this is a tax that the residents will have to incur. Further, that there should be a referendum wherein the voters can decide whether they want this service. Mr. Call stated that the CAT Authority can approve a “special district” and that it may be possible for the City to pursue having a local act approved by the State Legislature to opt out, adding that he and Mr. Scheer will continue to work on this matter.

Under NEW BUSINESS the following was discussed:

1. 20' sign height variance and 126 sq. ft. sign face variance for a 50 ft. directory sign for the Outlet Mall of Savannah, LLC 
A public hearing was held prior wherein opposition was presented from the adjacent property owner, Georgia Heritage Federal Credit Union, and Charlotte Moore, resident of The Arbors. Terry Coleman of Coleman Company, Inc presented two (2) variances to construct a 50' directory sign in the right-of-way at the corner of Park Avenue & Pooler Parkway to allow adequate visibility along the Parkway for the advertisement of 120 tenants, including the outparcels, for the new outlet mall. Mr. Byrd stated that Planning & Zoning recommends approval for the two (2) variances. Mr. Coleman stated that visibility is very important and that the sign will not negatively impact the sign at the adjacent property. Further, that the developer is spending approximately $3,000,000 for road improvements near the entrances of the mall. Mayor Lamb expressed concern over public safety, that if the sign contains “Savannah” on it, this would create a problem for dispatching emergency vehicles. Mr. Coleman stated that the sign does not have “Savannah” on it. Councilman Wall expressed appreciation of the road improvements paid by the developer. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the variances, based on the request meeting #1 and #3 of the criteria and if “Savannah” is put on the sign, it could create a public safety issue. Motion was seconded by Councilman Burke and passed without opposition. Susan Mulvaney, resident, questioned if other businesses can be approved for a similar variance, wherein Mr. Call cautioned Council that they could not give advisory opinions, only that they could consider each petition separately. Adam Wallace, owner of BJ’s Beverage, presented opposition of the request, based on being denied a sign height variance when he opened his store, asking for Council to reconsider the request. 

2. 20' side building setback variance on the north side of property at 220 Nordic Way
A public hearing was held prior. Attorney Harold Yellin, representing Nordic Savannah, LLC and the Savannah Economic Development Authority, presented the request for a 20' side building setback variance on the north side of the property at 220 Nordic Way to double the size of the existing Nordic facility. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the variance, based on the request meeting #2 and #3 of the criteria. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.

3. 20' side building setback variance on the south side of property at 220 Nordic Way
A public hearing was held prior. Attorney Harold Yellin, representing Nordic Savannah, LLC and the Savannah Economic Development Authority, presented the request for a 20' side building setback variance on the south side of the property at 220 Nordic Way to double the size of the existing Nordic facility. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the variance, based on the request meeting #2 and #3 of the criteria. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.

4. Recombination plat of Tract 3A and 3B, Roberts Tract 
Attorney Harold Yellin presented a recombination plat of Tract 3A and 3B of the Roberts Tract, stating that the intent is to shift the property line making the common building wall the new property line. Councilwoman Benton made a motion, seconded by Councilwoman Black, to approve the plat. Motion passed without opposition.

5. Expansion of non-conforming use for Bootleggers at 1017 E Highway 80, Suite 8
Rudy Gosblalyn, owner of Bootleggers, a bar/night club, has submitted a request to expand the non-conforming use at 1017 E. Highway 80, Suite 8, to be allowed to install an enclosed patio area in front of the building for outside eating and drinking. Mr. Gosblalyn stated that he intends to open the restaurant portion in January. Councilman Wall stated that he has heard opposition from the adjacent tenant, Carter’s Pharmacy, noting that the expansion will block the sidewalk for the pharmacy and Food Lion patrons. Councilman Wall asked Mr. Gosblalyn if, since the establishment is in the construction process with the restaurant, he could expand to the side of the building instead. Mr. Gosblalyn replied that there is a road on the side and did not know if this was feasible. Councilwoman Benton asked if there have been any incidences at this location. Police Chief Mark Revenew replied that there have been several. Based on opposition from the adjacent tenant and the Chief’s comments, Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Burke, to deny the expansion of the non-conforming use. Motion passed without opposition.

6. Award bid for Nordic Reuse Water Main
Mr. Byrd presented bids for the Nordic Reuse Water Main project, noting the low bidder, Jordan Construction of Hilton Head, Inc. Councilman Wall made a motion to award the bid to Jordan Construction of Hilton Head, Inc. in the amount of $895,400.90. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.


7. Award bid for Sensus Flexnet Installation (radio-read meters)
Mr. Byrd presented bids for the installation of radio-read meters, noting the low bidder, UWS, Inc. Councilman Wall made a motion to award the bid to UWS in the amount of $174,223.00. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.

8. Alcoholic beverage license for Gabriel C. Manning at Flash Foods #296
Gabriel C. Manning has submitted an application to sell beer and wine at Flash Foods #296,1080 E. Highway 80, stating that Chief Revenew has recommended approval. Councilman Burke made a motion, seconded by Councilman Royal, to approve the license. Motion passed without opposition.

9. Special event alcoholic beverage license for Pooler Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau “Sip & Savor” to be held January 22, 2015 at the Holiday Inn
Karen Robertson has submitted an application to dispense alcoholic beverages for a special event, the Pooler Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau’s “Sip and Savor” on January 22, 2015. Mr. Byrd stated that Chief Revenew has recommended approval. Councilman Burke made a motion to approve the license, contingent upon off-duty security being hired. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.

10. Fourth Amendment to Solid Waste Collection and Disposal Service Agreement with Waste Management of Georgia, Inc.
Mr. Byrd presented the Fourth Amendment to Solid Waste Collection and Disposal Service Agreement with Waste Management of Georgia, Inc., stating that dry trash pickup is being added as a service. Russ Hightower of Waste Management was present and stated that dry trash (lawn debris, leaves, limbs) will need to be either bagged or bundled, weighing no more than 45 pounds, and will be picked up on normal trash service days. Further, that information will be sent to every residence to educate them on this new service as well as to inform them of the $3.00 increase in the monthly sanitation service fee. Councilman Wall questioned if there would be anticipated problems with keeping up with the trash collection, wherein Mr. Hightower replied that any problems currently being experienced are being remedied. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the amendment. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.

11. Engagement letter with Stephens, Inc. to serve as underwriter for the Certification of Participation issued by GMA for financing of new city hall complex
Ms. McNeely presented an engagement letter with Stephens, Inc. to authorize them as underwriter or placement agent for the contemplated Certificates of Participation issued by the Georgia Municipal Association for the financing of the new city hall complex in order to provide certain disclosures. Councilwoman Benton made a motion, seconded by Councilwoman Black, to approve. Motion passed without opposition.


12. Agreement with Pooler Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau for 2015 Hotel/Motel Tax Funds
Karen Robertson, Executive Director of the Pooler Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, presented the agreement for the 2015 hotel/motel tax funds. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the agreement. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.

13. Contract with Middle Georgia Probation
Mr. Byrd stated that Mr. Scheer is still reviewing the contract. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Royal, to table. Motion passed without opposition.

14. Workplace Wellness Policy
Mr. Byrd presented a Workplace Wellness Policy providing that the City recognizes the benefits of programs that promote and support workplace health promotion and wellness. Councilman Burke made a motion, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, to approve the policy. Motion passed without opposition.

15. Revised Funding and Eligibility Policy for Other Post-Employment Benefits
Ms. McNeely presented the revised Funding and Eligibility Policy for Other Post-Employment Benefits, stating that it includes healthcare benefits for retirees and provides that healthcare benefits for all employees hired after January 1, 2015 will end at age 65, or when they are eligible for Medicare. Councilwoman Benton made a motion to approve the revised policy. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.

16. Amendment to Schedule of Fees
Mr. Byrd presented an amendment to the Schedule of Fees, noting that it includes the annual 2.5% increase in water service fees, an increase in the water deposit fee for renters, as well as a $3.00 increase in the sanitation service fee, due to the addition of dry trash service, and a 2.5% increase in sanitation service fees each year in January, beginning in 2016. Councilwoman Benton made a motion to approve the amendment. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.

17. Resolution regarding adoption of 2015 budget
Ms. McNeely presented the resolution to adopt the 2015 budget, noting that the General Fund balances at $18,814,148, the Hotel/Motel Tax Fund balances at $600,000, Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Fund balances at $3,150,000, the Capital Projects Fund balances at $10,256,600 and the Water & Sewer Fund balances at $7,378,649. Councilman Wall stated that the budget includes a cost of living increase for all eligible employees and several capital projects, including two (2) fire stations, paving, drainage and the new city hall complex. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the resolution. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.

Councilman Royal made a motion to adjourn to Executive Session at approximately 7:31 p.m. to discuss personnel, legal and real estate matters. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.

Mayor Lamb called the meeting back to order at 7:50 p.m.

There being no further business to discuss, Councilman Wall made a motion to adjourn at approximately 7:50 p.m. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.

PUBLIC HEARING

A public hearing was held prior to the regular City Council meeting on 
December 15, 2014. 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 and Finance Officer/Assistant City Manager Michelle McNeely were present. Attorney Craig Call was present on behalf of City Attorney Steve Scheer.

The purpose of the hearing was to discuss:

(1) A 20' sign height variance and 126 sq. ft. sign face variance for a 50 ft. directory sign for the Outlet Mall of Savannah, LLC -Terry Coleman of Coleman Company, Inc. presented the request for a 20' sign height variance and a 126 sq. ft. sign face variance for a proposed 50' directory sign in the right-of-way at the corner of Park Avenue & Pooler Parkway to allow adequate visibility along the Parkway for the advertisement of 120 tenants, including the outparcels, for the proposed outlet mall. Charlotte Moore, resident of The Arbors, presented opposition, stating that the size and height of the sign are excessive and will block visibility of other signs. Further, that Planning & Zoning’s recommendation was inappropriate and that the criteria for this type of variance was not applicable. Ms. Moore added that approval of this variance will set a precedence and questioned how signs are allowed in the right-of-way. Mr. Call replied that a sign easement was granted previously. Robert Lord of Georgia Heritage Federal Credit Union presented opposition, reiterating that the sign is excessive, and that the Credit Union was only approved for a 20' monument sign. Mr. Coleman stated that the proposed sign will not block the Credit Union sign and space is being given to the businesses directly adjacent (Cancun, Sisters of the South) for advertising. Ms. Moore presented concern over the need for additional right-of-way at the intersection in the future, stating that this could be a financial burden for the City.

(2) A 20' side building setback variance on the north side of property at 220 Nordic Way - Attorney Harold Yellin, representing Nordic Savannah LLC and the Savannah Economic Development Authority, presented the request for a 20' side building setback variance on the north side of the property at 220 Nordic Way. Mr. Yellin stated that the intent is to double the size of the existing Nordic facility by joining Phase 2 to the existing building.

(3) A 20' side building setback variance on the south side of property at 220 Nordic Way - Attorney Harold Yellin, representing Nordic Savannah, LLC and the Savannah Economic Development Authority, presented the request for a 20' side building setback variance on the south side of the property at 220 Nordic Way. Mr. Yellin stated that the intent is to double the size of the existing Nordic facility by joining Phase 2 to the existing building.


There being no further discussion, the hearing was adjourned at approximately 5:59 p.m.

City of Pooler, GA | 100 US HW 80, Pooler, GA 31322
City Hall: (912) 748-7261
Police Department: (912) 748-7333