Council Minutes January 16, 2007

CITY OF POOLER
CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
JANUARY 16, 2007


The regular meeting of the Pooler City Council was held on January 16, 2007. Mayor Mike Lamb called the meeting to order at 6:12 p.m. (delayed due to the public hearing held prior). Present were Councilmen Bruce Allen, Mike Royal, Wayne Seay, Billy Stanley, Stevie Wall and Councilwoman Rebecca Benton. City Manager Dennis Baxter, Assistant City Manager Robbie Byrd and City Attorney Steve Scheer were also present.


The invocation was given by Mr. Baxter and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Councilman Seay.


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


Report from the Standing Committees:


FINANCE
Councilman Stanley presented bills for payment and made a motion to pay, subject to funds. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.


PUBLIC SAFETY

Councilman Allen reported on the police department activities for the month of January. Chief Jay Hillis reported on the fire department activities for the month.


STREET/DRAINAGE/PARKS & TREES

Councilman Seay reported that the street, drainage and parks and trees departments have performed routine maintenance and commended the Chief Hillis and the fire department on the fine job they did in restoring the cannon.


WATER/SEWER
Councilman Wall reported that the water and sewer departments have performed routine maintenance and that all parameters are being met at the wastewater treatment plant.


RECREATION
Councilman Royal reported that the basketball rama will be held on Saturday.


BUILDING/ZONING
Councilwoman Benton reported that 28 new single family residential, six (6) attached residential unit, one (1) multi-family and three (3) commercial permits have been issued since the last meeting, with 390 inspections performed.

Mayor Lamb presented a plaque to Don Taylor, outgoing Chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission, thanking him for his service.


There was no OLD BUSINESS to discuss.


Under NEW BUSINESS the following was discussed:


1. Requested conditional use to permit a telecommunication tower facility at 890 Pine Barren Road

A public hearing was held prior. Attorney Phillip McCorkle presented this request to permit a telecommunication tower facility at 890 Pine Barren Road. Councilman Wall asked Mr. McCorkle if the industrial property near Pooler Parkway had been checked into as a possible site. Mr. McCorkle replied that this area was too far away from where coverage is needed. Councilman Wall recommended that the tower look more like a flag pole or tree, to be more aesthetically pleasing to the adjacent residential property and further, that this item be tabled in order to allow the school board to be notified about this request, due to the close proximity of the two (2) schools. Dave Howell of Coastal Towers stated that these types of poles restrict the number of carriers and therefore cause more towers to be needed. Cedric DeBardelaben of Hargray added that these types of poles have a diameter almost double in size and limit the size of the compound, requiring a crane for any work on the tower. In regards to the proximity of the schools, Mr. McCorkle pointed out that the schools are several hundred feet away and since the tower will be less than 200' tall, there is no danger of the tower falling onto school property. Further, that there will not be any microwaves transmitted, adding that he has no objection to notifying the school about this request, but that he does object to tabling this item. Councilman Allen presented concern over the fact that telecommunication towers create a buzzard problem, thus causing a health problem. Mr. Howell stated that the antennas can be placed closer together to make it difficult for buzzards to roost. Councilman Allen questioned if the area would be kept clean, wherein Mr. Howell replied that Hargray would contract the maintenance. Mr. Scheer reminded Council that the federal government has shifted the burden on municipalities to prove that the decision for denial has to be based on substantial evidence. Councilman Wall stated that most cases for denial have been taken to court and the municipalities have lost. Mr. Scheer added that Chatham County and the City of Savannah have been working on an ordinance regarding telecommunication towers and recommended that the City of Pooler adopt an ordinance similar to theirs. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the conditional use, contingent upon (1) the school board being notified of this proposed tower and given the opportunity to submit comments; (2) a document being submitted, certified by an engineer, showing that the tower will not fall onto any adjacent property; (3) the antennas being close together to not attract buzzards; (4) the tower being constructed with a masonry fence to be more aesthetically pleasing and the area being kept clean. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition. Walter Seabrooks, adjacent property owner, expressed opposition to this request, stating that nothing has been mentioned about the decrease in value of his undeveloped property. Chief Hillis asked that the tower be made accessible for public safety purposes if needed in the future. Mr. Howell stated that there is no objection to Chief Hillis’ request. 


2. Requested 160' height variance to erect a telecommunication tower in excess of 35' on non-public property

A public hearing was held prior. Mr. Baxter presented this request for a 160' height variance for a telecommunication tower at 890 Pine Barren Road as permitted in Item #1. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, to approve this request, contingent upon (1) the school board being notified of this proposed tower and given the opportunity to submit comments; (2) a document being submitted, certified by an engineer, showing that the tower will not fall onto any adjacent property; (3) the antennas being close together to not attract buzzards; (4) the tower being constructed with a masonry fence to be more aesthetically pleasing and the area being kept clean. Motion passed without opposition.


3. Requested amendment to Phase I of Savannah Quarters PUD to eliminate 24 golf lots and add 41 attached townhomes

A public hearing was held prior. Mr. Baxter presented this amendment to

Phase I of Savannah Quarters to eliminate 24 golf lots and add 41 attached townhomes. Councilwoman Benton made a motion to approve this amendment. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition.


4. Approval of site plan for a 5000 square foot addition at Bill Waits RV World

Mr. Baxter presented the site plan for a 5000 square foot addition at Bill Waits RV World, stating that Planning & Zoning and staff have recommended approval. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Allen, to approve the site plan. Motion passed without opposition.


5. Acceptance of performance bond/approval of final plat for the Hunt Club, Phase 2

Mr. Baxter presented this request from the developer of the Hunt Club, stating that an inspection has been performed by the public works department. Councilman Allen made a motion to accept the performance bond and approve the final plat for Phase 2 of the Hunt Club, contingent upon the city attorney approving the bond. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.


6. Approval of sketch plan for a proposed 12,000 square foot office/warehouse and future 5500 square foot retail building at 1376 E. Highway 80

Mr. Baxter presented the sketch plan for a proposed 12,000 square foot office/warehouse and future 5500 square foot retail building, stating that Planning & Zoning has requested further clarification in regards to drainage, water and sewer service in this area. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Allen, to table this item. Motion passed without opposition.

7. Approval of site plan for proposed office/warehouse at 1200 E. Highway 80

Mr. Baxter presented a site plan for a proposed office/warehouse for the Komatsu Dealership on Lot 1 in Westside Business Park. Councilman Allen questioned the purpose of the road that is shown on the plan. Mark Crapse of Kern-Coleman & Company stated that a frontage road has been added to allow access to the adjacent lots. Councilman Allen stated that at the time this lot was re-zoned to industrial, a restriction was placed to not allow vehicular traffic off Highway 80. Mr. Crapse stated that he believed Planning & Zoning Board was encouraging this frontage road. Mayor Lamb reminded Mr. Crapse that the contingency to the re-zoning approved by Council was to have no vehicular traffic going from a commercial area to an industrial area. Councilman Wall stated that he voted in opposition of the aforementioned re-zoning even though it was approved contingent upon no vehicular traffic being allowed off Highway 80. Mayor Lamb stated that Council does not want to create a thoroughfare. Mr. Crapse stated that the tight radius of the frontage road will discourage any trucks from entering. Councilman Wall questioned if the two buildings will ever be connected, which Mr. Crapse replied that they would not. Councilman Wall stated that a revised site plan with the frontage road being removed needs to be submitted before approval. Councilman Allen made a motion to table this item. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.


8. Acceptance of maintenance bond/approval of final plat for Phase I, Town Park Pooler

Mr. Baxter presented this request from the developer of Town Park Pooler, stating that Plannning & Zoning and staff have recommended approval. Councilwoman Benton made a motion, seconded by Councilman Royal, to accept the maintenance bond and approve the final plat for Phase I, Town Park Pooler, contingent upon the city attorney approving the bond. Motion passed without opposition.


9. Approval of site plan for a proposed convenience store at the corner of Pooler Parkway & Blue Moon Crossing

Mr. Baxter presented the site plan for a convenience store at the corner of Pooler Parkway & Blue Moon Crossing, stating that all the engineer’s comments have been addressed. Councilwoman Benton made a motion to approve the site plan. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition.


10. Approval of application for pipeline crossing under Georgia Central Railway for Morgan Family water extension

Mr. Baxter presented this application, stating that the railway will not issue a crossing to a private entity and that the City has approved similar applications in the past. Further, that Mr. Scheer will be preparing an agreement with the Morgan Family and that the City is required to provide adequate insurance to cover the jack and bore of the railway. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve this application, contingent upon Mr. Scheer preparing the necessary agreement and the City providing adequate insurance. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition.

11. Approval to place moratorium on construction of cell towers

Mr. Scheer recommended that the Council consider placing a moratorium for 90 days from this date on any new applications for construction of cellular towers for reasons of public health and safety and to allow an ordinance to be adopted that is similar to the one Chatham County and the City of Savannah are adopting. Further, that the airport needs to have input on this matter, due to the close proximity of the flight paths. After discussion, Councilwoman Benton made a motion to not accept any new applications for construction of cell towers for 90 days, with no exceptions, for reasons of public health and safety and to allow time for an ordinance to be adopted similar to Chatham County and the City of Savannah. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition.


12. Approval of Audit Engagement Letter from Karp, Ronning & Tindol to perform 2006 audit

Mr. Baxter presented this request from Karp, Ronning & Tindol, CPA, to perform the City’s 2006 audit, stating that this firm has done so for several years. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Allen, to approve this firm to perform the audit. Motion passed without opposition.


13. Approval of loan agreement for financing of new recreation complex

Mr. Baxter stated that a change order reducing the contract price of this project and a loan agreement will be brought to Council at the next meeting, with the funds to come from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. Further, that he will be meeting with a representative of a bonding company on Friday to discuss the loan agreement, which he had hoped would be ready for approval at this meeting.


14. Request from Waste Management for increase to sanitation contract for residential and commercial service

Mr. Baxter presented this request from Waste Management to increase the City’s costs for residential and commercial sanitation service. Councilman Wall questioned why the increase was needed. Mindy Miller of Waste Management stated that the rapid growth in Pooler has caused the company to have to add additional men and trucks and the increase is needed to keep up with the growth to provide quality service. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve this request. Motion was seconded by Councilman Seay and passed without opposition. Mr. Baxter stated that he will bring the increase the City will be assessing residents and businesses to Council when the increase is calculated.


15. Approval of application for traffic signal permit at intersection of Highway 80 & Pine Barren Road

Mr. Baxter presented the application for a traffic signal permit at the intersection of Highway 80 & Pine Barren Road, stating that this request is based on Pine Barren Road being used as a cut through to I-16. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Allen, to approve this application. Motion passed without opposition.

16. Approval to fix qualifying fees for 2007 election

Mr. Baxter stated that in every election year the qualifying fees have to be fixed and published. Councilman Wall made a motion to fix the qualifying fee for mayor at $216.00 and councilmembers at $108.00. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition.


17. Approval of amendment to personnel policy regarding tuition reimbursement

Mr. Baxter presented an amendment to the personnel policy regarding tuition reimbursement stating that when it was first written there was no limit to the amount per quarter, which has been recommended to be in line with state tuition of $600 per quarter. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Allen, to approve this amendment. Motion passed without opposition.


Councilman Wall reminded everyone that the City will be celebrating its Centennial this year, with events being planned and that a plaque is being placed on Robert W. Pooler’s grave site on Sunday, January 21st at 2:30 p.m. at Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah.


Councilman Wall made a motion to adjourn to Executive Session at approximately 7:42 p.m. to discuss legal and personnel matters. Motion was seconded by Councilman Seay and passed without opposition.


Mayor Lamb called the meeting back to order at 8:26 p.m.


Mr. Scheer stated that the City needed to take the necessary steps to allow for early retirement of city employees in special circumstances provided the steps are in compliance with all state and federal laws, which Councilwoman Benton made a motion to approve. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.


There being no further business to discuss, Councilman Allen made a motion to adjourn at approximately 8:27 p.m. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.


Respectfully submitted,


Maribeth Lindler

City Clerk

____________________________
Mayor
Public Hearing


A public hearing was held on January 16, 2007, prior to the regular Council meeting. Mayor Mike Lamb called the hearing to order at 5:45 p.m. Present were Councilmen Bruce Allen, Mike Royal, Wayne Seay, Billy Stanley, Stevie Wall and Councilwoman Rebecca Benton. City Manager Dennis Baxter, Assistant City Manager Robbie Byrd and City Attorney Steve Scheer were also present.


The purpose of this hearing was to discuss:


(1) A requested conditional use to permit a telecommunication tower facility at 890 Pine Barren Road - Attorney Phillip McCorkle presented this request, along with support information, for a conditional use to allow construction of a telecommunication tower facility at 890 Pine Barren Road, a 100' x 126' tract of land owned by Rosemarie Waters, stating that the lot is a substandard and does not meet requirements for building a residence in an R-1B zoning. Further, that his client has two (2) choices, either obtain permission to build on a substandard lot or apply for a conditional use, as is the case presented. Mr. McCorkle presented a map showing the area where telecommunication service is not covered (Pine Barren Road), which Cedric DeBardelaben of Hargray confirmed. Walter Seabrooks, adjacent property owner, expressed concern about the negative impact the tower will have on the value of his property and that no consideration has been given in regards to his concern. Councilwoman Benton questioned if the tower were to fall, would it land within the lot. Mr. DeBardelaben replied that there will be break points in the tower which will prevent this happening. Dave Howell of Coastal Towers added that the tower will be designed with yield points configured to the size of the lot, which will be certified on the engineer’s drawing. Mr. Scheer pointed out that the Telecommunication Act of 1996 puts the burden on the City to provide substantial evidence for reasons of denial. Councilwoman Benton questioned the number of carriers, which Mr. Howell replied that there will be room for four (4) additional ones. Mr. McCorkle stated that his client tried to find an alternate site, which none were found. Further, that Mr. Seabrooks’ land was also looked at as a potential site to no avail. Mr. McCorkle presented information submitted by Johnnie Ganem Appraisal Company showing how values of property located near towers has increased. Mr. Ganem was present to confirm these findings, stating that he has 25 years of experience as an appraiser and is certified in Georgia and South Carolina. Mr. McCorkle presented reasons as to why this request meets the City’s standards for granting a conditional use, adding that denial must be based on substantial evidence and that failure to approve this request will constitute a taking of the owner’s property without the payment of adequate compensation. Mr. Seabrooks further expressed concern over the height of the fence, stating that the value of land is being based on property already developed, which his is not. 


(2) A requested 160' height variance to erect a telecommunication tower in excess of 35' on non-public property - Attorney Phillip McCorkle presented this request for a 160' height variance to erect a telecommunication tower (as discussed previously), stating that the City’s ordinance limits the height to 35' which is not adequate for a tower. Mr. Scheer asked if the school board was contacted, which Mr. McCorkle replied that there was no reason to since the schools are several hundred feet away. Walter Seabrooks, adjacent property owner, expressed opposition of this request, stating that any impact will be on his property.

(3) A requested amendment to Phase I of Savannah Quarters PUD to eliminate 24 golf lots and add 41 attached townhomes - Chad Zittrouer of Kern-Coleman & Company presented this request to eliminate 24 golf lots and add 41 attached townhomes to Phase I of Savannah Quarters. Councilwoman Benton questioned the price of the townhomes, wherein Mr. Zittrouer replied that the price is $500,000 and the units range from 2700 to 3000 square feet.


There being no further discussion, the hearing was adjourned at approximately 6:12 p.m.

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Date of Authorization: 2/13/08