The regular meeting of the Pooler City Council was held on October 7, 2013. Mayor Mike Lamb called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. 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 and Finance Officer/Assistant City Manager Michelle McNeely were also present. Attorney Craig Call was present on behalf of City Attorney Steve Scheer.
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 Councilman Allen, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, with no opposition.
The minutes of the September 16th Executive Session were approved upon a motion by Councilman Wall, seconded by Councilman Royal, with no opposition.
Report from the Standing Committees:
Councilman Burke presented bills in excess of $1500.00 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 212 calls in September, totaling 1904 for the year and that the police department responded to 2208 calls during the period of September 16th though October 6th, totaling 24,539 calls 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 fall sports continue and that registration for basketball is ongoing.
Councilman Allen reported that four (4) new single family residential, two (2) attached unit and two (2) commercial permits were issued since the last meeting, totaling 135 single family. 69 attached unit and 93 commercial permits for the year, with 4102 inspections performed.
Under OLD BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. First Reading on amendment to sign ordinance regarding temporary special events
Mr. Byrd presented an amendment to the sign ordinance in regards to signs for temporary special events. Councilman Allen made a motion to approve the amendment on First Reading. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.
Under NEW BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. Site plan for Cheer Savannah
The proposed development is for the construction of a 15,000 sq. ft. building for the first phase of Cheer Savannah, an instructional cheerleading center. The second phase will consist of a future 8,750 sq. ft. addition. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the site plan. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.
2. Preliminary construction plan for Forest Lakes, Phase IV
Phase IV of Forest Lakes Subdivision consists of approximately 12.40 acres of 37 single-family residential lots. Councilman Allen made a motion, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, to approve the plan, contingent upon EPD approval. Motion passed without opposition.
3. Minor subdivision plat of Lot 8, Pooler MarketPlace
The minor subdivision plat of Lot 8, Pooler MarketPlace will create three (3) lots, with Lot 8A consisting of 1.81 acres, Lot 8B consisting of 2.61 acres and Lot 8C consisting of 0.89 acres. Councilman Allen made a motion to approve the plat. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.
4. Recombination plat of 8.40 acre tract on Quacco Road
The purpose of the plat is to create Tracts 1 and 2 for the construction of a proposed Dollar General on Tract 2, located on Quacco Road, across from Berwick Lakes Subdivision. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Allen, to approve the plat. Motion passed without opposition.
5. Construction plan for the Benton Tract Berms
Councilwoman Benton stepped down from her seat to recuse herself from this item. Hugh Mathews of ETM, representing Ben Carter Enterprises, presented the construction plan for two (2) berms, one at the north end of Benton Drive to be approximately 55' in height and the second berm east of Morgan Street to be 15' in height, on what is known as the “Benton Tract”. The property consists of two (2) locations totaling approximately 33.6 acres that will be purchased by the Outlet Mall of Georgia, LLC. Mr. Mathews stated that the berms will benefit the public by providing a buffer, by taking the land out of development (potential traffic from either residential or multi-family) and by eliminating the need for dump trucks to remove 25,000 loads of dirt away from the site and onto City streets. Bill Sherman, resident of Benton Drive, asked if the berm would be placed in “perpetuity” and how close it will be to the road and whether it could be moved further back. Mr. Sherman presented concern over not being notified about this plan. Frank Stanhope, resident of Beatty Street, presented concern about drainage and the height of the berms, noting that Beatty and Massey Street are already low and hold water. Mr. Mathews replied that a ditch (swale) is planned, to be routed around the berms, directing water north into Pipemakers Canal. Rick Danis, resident of Massey Street, reiterated concern about drainage. Terry Coleman of Coleman Company, Inc. stated that the plan meets the City’s guidelines. Lee Generette, resident of Massey Street, asked if the berm will run parallel to Rogers Street. Sharon Generette reiterated concern over not being given notice of this plan being on the agenda. Attorney Craig Call stated that the City is in compliance with the law. Larry Hillner, resident of Morgan Street, questioned if an environmental impact study has been performed, adding his concern about drainage. Attorney Noble Boykin, representing the property owner, Rebecca Benton, stated that the developer came to her for land to place the dirt from the mall property. Further, that if the berms are not approved, it will create a violation of her Constitutional rights to develop her property, adding that it will be the taking of her property without compensation. Stephen Landeau, resident of Benton Drive, asked who will be responsible for the maintenance of the berms, adding that he is also concerned about drainage, the height of the berms and the potential noise nuisance from the construction and dump trucks. Ronald Van Etten, resident of Benton Drive, asked when construction of the berm will begin. Mr. Mathews replied that if approved, construction will begin next week. Don Koffroth, resident of Benton Drive, questioned whether property values would decrease. After further discussion, Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the construction plan, contingent upon a tree reimbursement being submitted to the City and the following: the retention for the berms being provided first, a 35' undisturbed buffer from the property line being provided, a privacy fence (green-coated and 6' in height) being placed prior to construction, the swales being constructed around the berms, the berms being maintained by the property owner, the developer complying with construction times between the hours of 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on weekdays and 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on weekends and the land owner shall record a covenant and/or easement stating the property shall only be used as open space, green space or drainage purposes as presented to Council in this meeting. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Black and passed without opposition.
Councilwoman Benton returned to her seat.
6. Proposed Fire Service District Changes for Berwick Lakes Subdivision, Hampton
Place Subdivision and portion of I-95
Mr. Byrd stated that the residents of Berwick Lakes and Hampton Place Subdivisions have requested being serviced by the Pooler Fire Department instead of Southside Fire Department, due to the close proximity of the new fire station on Quacco Road. Further, that Southside Fire has agreed to this change, with approval pending with Chatham County and that a yearly fee of $150.00 will be assessed for all property owners. Several residents of Berwick Lakes Subdivision presented concern over response time from Southside Fire, stating that they are in favor of Pooler providing fire protection service. Councilman Royal made a motion to approve a resolution to accept the area for fire protection service. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.
7. Award bid for Lower Floridan well
Mr. Byrd presented bids for the installation of a Lower Floridan well pump and 12-inch water main, noting the low bid in the amount of $869,665.21. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Burke, to award the bid to the low bidder, PINCO. Motion passed without opposition.
8. Award bid for water line replacement on S. Skinner Avenue
Mr. Byrd presented bids for the replacement of the water line on S. Skinner Avenue. Councilman Wall made a motion to award the bid to the low bidder, BRW Construction Group, LLC in the amount of $159,987.50. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.
9. First Amendment to Site Lease (Co-location) with T-Mobile South LLC
Mr. Byrd presented an amendment to the cell tower lease with T-Mobile South LLC for the additional equipment being placed on the City’s tower at public works, noting that the amendment includes an increase of $120.00 to the rent due to additional equipment loading. Councilman Allen made a motion to approve the first amendment. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.
10. First Reading on ordinance regarding escorts and escort services
Mr. Byrd asked that this item be tabled to allow the city attorney and police chief to further review the proposed ordinance. Councilman Allen made a motion to table this item. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.
Councilman Allen made a motion to adjourn to Executive Session at approximately 8:35 p.m. to discuss legal and land acquisition matters. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.
Mayor Lamb called the meeting back to order at 8:53 p.m.
There being no further business to discuss, Councilman Allen made a motion to adjourn at approximately 8:53 p.m. Motion passed without opposition.