The regular scheduled meeting of the Pooler City Council was held on January 19, 2010. 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 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 Benton.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as printed upon a motion by Councilwoman Benton, seconded by Councilman Wall, with no opposition.
Report from the Standing Committees:
Councilman Burke presented the accounts payable information for the end of December 2009 and January 2010, making a motion to pay bills in excess of $1500.00 for December. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition. Councilman Burke made a motion to pay bills in excess of $1500.00 for January. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.
Councilman Royal stated that the police department responded to 1152 calls from January 1stthrough the 14thand that the fire department responded to 90 calls this month.
Councilwoman Benton reported that the parks & trees, street and drainage departments performed routine maintenance. Councilwoman Benton stated that the new offices at public works were now open.
Councilman Wall reported that the water and sewer departments performed routine maintenance and that all parameters are being met at the wastewater treatment plant. Further, that the administrative offices for the water department were now in the new public works building, but that payment of water bills is still at City Hall.
Councilwoman Black reported that youth basketball games have begun and that signups for baseball, softball, t-ball and soccer will be ongoing through February 14th.
Councilman Allen was absent.
Councilman Wall made a motion to appoint Councilman Allen as Mayor pro tem, noting that tradition is to appoint the councilmember who received the highest number of votes in the election. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition. Councilman Wall added that Councilman Allen has been Mayor pro tem in the past.
Under OLD BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. Requested zoning map amendment of 23.38 acres on Quacco Road from R-A (residential-agricultural) to R-3A (multi-family residential)
Mr. Byrd stated that this item was tabled in December of 2009 due to the petitioner being out of town. Rick Wissmach, owner, presented a request to re-zone 23.38 acres on Quacco Road from R-A to R-3A to allow him to construct seven (7) multi-family buildings with a total of 10 units in each, noting that the ordinance would allow him to build 12 units per acre. Councilman Wall questioned whether the residents’ concern over drainage has been addressed, wherein Mr. Wissmach replied that a study has been performed by Kern-Coleman & Company with a plan developed to re-route the drainage. Attorney Tom Nash, representing the adjacent property owner, Linda Roan, presented concern over the petition not meeting the nine (9) criteria for granting a zoning map amendment, adding that the request is not a logical extension of the current zoning boundary and that it would be “spot” zoning. Ms. Roan addressed Council, adding that traffic will be considerably increased on an already heavily traveled Quacco Road. Further, that the residents’ quality of life will be adversely affected if the area does not remain rural as it has been for over 150 years. Sandra McDonald, adjacent property owner, noted that the area recently flooded, noting that the area must be wetlands. Mr. Wissmach stated that the wetlands have been delineated and that the engineer’s plans will ensure that drainage will be improved. After further discussion, Councilman Wall made a motion to deny the requested zoning map amendment, based on the petition not meeting the criteria. Motion was seconded by Councilman Burke and passed with Councilwoman Benton opposing.
2. Second Reading on zoning text amendment to add schools as a conditional use in C-2 (heavy commercial zoning)
Mr. Byrd presented a zoning text amendment for Second Reading to add “schools” as a conditional use in C-2 (heavy commercial zoning) districts, only if the school meets all the requirements of the State of Georgia for a public or charter school and either of the following: the school must have been in existence for 10 years; or the school holds title to the property in fee simple; or the property is owned by the State; or the school has an irrevocable leasehold interest in the property for a minimum of 10 years; or the school is a grantee of a trust of an irrevocable 10 year exclusive interest in said property. Councilman Wall stated that he voted in opposition of the text amendment on First Reading because he is opposed to schools being allowed in heavy commercial zoning districts, not that he is not against schools locating in the City. Further, that allowing a school in a commercial area would create traffic problems, with potential danger for teenage drivers. Councilwoman Benton agreed that it is not appropriate for schools to be allowed in heavy commercial areas. Terry Coleman of Kern-Coleman & Company, representing the owner, stated that it is common for schools to be in commercial areas as is the case in many neighboring cities and counties. Courtney Rollins, parent, expressed favor of the petition, noting that the high school the children in the area have to go to now is in a commercial area where traffic problems exist. Donna Fisher, President of the Towne Lake Homeowners Association, reminded everyone of the provisions for being able to attend a “charter” school, noting that selection is done by a lottery. Councilman Wall recommended that the availability of residential districts be considered for any new school site, adding that there is potential for continued commercial growth in the City. Further, that Council wants a high school to locate in Pooler, but that the Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education has chosen a site outside the City limits for a new high school, even after receiving letters from the City in support of the school locating in the City. Councilman Wall made a motion to deny the zoning text amendment on Second Reading. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and was defeated with Councilwoman Black, Councilman Burke and Councilman Royal voting in opposition. After further discussion, Councilman Royal made a motion to approve the zoning text amendment on Second Reading. Motion was seconded by Councilman Burke and passed with Councilwoman Benton and Councilman Wall opposing.
3. Requested conditional use to build classroom buildings for a preparatory academy at
125 Southern Junction Boulevard
Terry Coleman and Marc Boese, representing West Chatham Preparatory Academy, presented a requested conditional use to allow the developer to build classroom buildings at 125 Southern Junction Boulevard. Mr. Boese addressed concerns presented earlier and at the previous meeting on December 21, 2009, in regards to whether the proposed high school has been approved by the local school board as well as the State of Georgia Board of Education. Mr. Boese noted that application has been made to the State with an informal notification being given, but that formal approval is anticipated on February 5th, with a proposed date of March 5thto receive approval for the charter. Robert Bryan, adjacent property owner, presented opposition to the request, asking what the City is going to do to protect the citizens. In response, Mr. Coleman gave a traffic comparison of trip generations proposed for the school as well as the medical complex originally planned, noting the school traffic being significantly less and being gone by the peak hours in the afternoon.Donna Fisher, President of the Towne Lake Homeowners Association, asked that the time frame be looked into as to when the largest number of vehicles will be traveling, adding that if you average the trip generations over the number of hours school is in session compared to retail or medical office hours, the trip generations for the school will be significantly greater. Yvonne Wright, resident, presented opposition to the location of the school. Mr. Scheer addressed the fact that the decision to approve the charter school was not up to Council and further, that the school must meet all the requirements of the State Board of Education before it is opened. Mr. Scheer cautioned the residents that they should not be given false hope. Councilwoman Benton made a motion to table the requested conditional use until the school is approved by the State. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.
Under NEW BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. 1. Approval of revisions to Phase I Final PUD in the Southwest Quadrant/Savannah Quarters
Mr. Byrd presented the revisions to Phase I Final PUD in the Southwest Quadrant/Savannah Quarters to correct the development standards for Westbrook Villas to match the existing site development plan that was approved by the City, with the 41 units that have already been constructed. Councilwoman Benton made a motion to approve the revisions. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.
2. Approval of right-of-way plat for Park Avenue Extension
Mr. Byrd presented a right-of-way plat as submitted by South Godley Enterprises, LLC for Park Avenue Extension, located off Pooler Parkway, stating that the road was constructed several years ago and accepted by the City, but the plat was never submitted for recording. After discussion, Councilman Royal made a motion, seconded by Councilman Wall, to approve the plat. Motion passed without opposition.
3. Approval of site plan for proposed Mitsubishi Power Systems Plant
Mr. Byrd presented the site plan for Mitsubishi Power Systems Manufacturing Plant on the “mega site”, stating that all on-site water and sewer mains will be privately owned and maintained. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the site plan. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.
4. Release of maintenance bond for Blue Moon Crossing/Spanton Crescent Extension
Mr. Byrd presented a request from the developer to release the maintenance bond for Blue Moon Crossing/Spanton Crescent Extension in Savannah Quarters, stating that a one-year final inspection has been performed. Councilman Wall made a motion to release the maintenance bond. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.
5. Award bid for the Force Main Replacement from Savannah Quarters Lift Station
Mr. Byrd presented bids for the force main replacement from the Savannah Quarters lift station to I-16, noting the low bid in the amount of $186,585.00. Councilman Wall made a motion to award the bid to the low bidder, Terry R. Lee Contracting Company, Inc. in the aforementioned amount. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.
6. Approval of change order #1 for Intersection Improvements and Traffic Signal Installation at Godley Station Boulevard & Pooler Parkway
Mr. Byrd presented a change order in the amount of $166,761.13 for an additional traffic signal at the intersection improvements at Pooler Parkway and Isaac G. LaRoche Drive. After discussion, Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the change order. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.
7. Approval of amendment to Schedule of Fees in regards to sanitation, water and sewer fees
Mr. Byrd presented amendments to the schedule of fees to provide for the increase to sanitation, water and sewer service fees, as approved in the 2010 budget.
Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, to approve the amendment. Motion passed without opposition.
8. First Reading on prohibiting use of engine and compression brakes on Highway 80
Mr. Byrd presented a proposed ordinance in regards to prohibiting the use of engine and compression brakes within the City limits, excluding I-95 and I-16. Mr. Scheer stated that complaints have been received in regards to trucks using these types of brakes during all hours of the day and night. Mr. Byrd stated that proper signage will be placed once the ordinance is adopted and that an amount for the fine will be set.Councilman Royal made a motion to approve the ordinance on First Reading. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.
There being no further business to discuss, Councilman Wall made a motion to adjourn at approximately 7:59 p.m. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.