The regular meeting of the Pooler City Council was held on September 6, 2005. Mayor Mike Lamb called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Present were Councilman Bruce Allen, Larry Olliff, Mike Royal, Wayne Seay, Stevie Wall and Councilwoman Rebecca Benton. City Manager Dennis Baxter 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 Councilman Olliff, with no opposition.
Report from the Standing Committees:
Councilman Olliff presented bills for payment and made a motion to approve, subject to funds. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.
Councilman Allen reported on the police department activities for the month. Fire Chief Jay Hillis reported on the fire department activities for the month.
Councilman Seay reported that the street and drainage departments have performed routine maintenance and that the city’s recycling center will be accepting scrap electronics for recycling through the month of September, noting that a charge of $5.00 per television will be required. Councilman Seay presented a list of streets for overlay under the Local Assistance Road Program and made a motion to approve the list. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.
Councilman Wall reported that the water and sewer departments have performed routine maintenance and the wastewater treatment plant has met all parameters.
Councilman Royal reported that football and cheerleading practice is ongoing, with the Rama scheduled for September 17th at Pooler Park.
Councilwoman Benton reported that 19 new single family residential, 10 single family attached unit and three (3) commercial permits have been issued since the last meeting, totaling 251 residential permits and 31 attached unit permits for the year, with 5177 inspections performed.
Mayor Lamb stated that information has been submitted by Governor Perdue and Chatham County Chairman Pete Laikakis in regards to the gasoline situation and provided a telephone number to call to report price gouging.
Mayor Lamb welcomed Ms. Leigh Kersey of the American Cancer Society who informed Council of the upcoming “Relay for Life” to be held September 30th at West Chatham Middle School.
Under OLD BUSINESS the following was discussed:
Mayor Lamb presented Items 1 - 4 to be grouped together for discussion and approval.
1. Approval of zoning map amendment for 1.13 acres on the north side of Highway 80,east of Sangrena Drive, from C-1 to C-2;
2. Approval of zoning map amendment for 3.3 acres at the northwest corner of
Highway 80 & Pooler Parkway from R-1A/C-1 to C-2;
3. Approval of zoning map amendment for 7.79 acres at the northwest corner of
Highway 80 & Pooler Parkway from R-1A/C-1 to C-2; and
4. Approval of zoning map amendment for 10.889 acres on the north side of
Highway 80, east of Sangrena Drive from R-1A to C-2
Mr. Baxter stated that these items were tabled at the August 1st meeting to allow the developer, at the request of Council, to meet with the residents to address their concerns and to allow the developer to submit a more detailed plan of the site. This meeting took place on August 8th. Steve Wohlfeil of Hussey, Gay, Bell &
DeYoung, Inc. presented a recap of the Planning & Zoning and Council meetings that have lead up to this meeting, stating that the meeting with the residents to give them an opportunity to ask questions. Further, that this meeting was well attended and very successful, with a lot of questions asked and answered satisfactorily. Additionally, that the concept plan has been changed in regards to the lagoon, the open space and buffer, noting that the area most affected has yet to be developed as a residential subdivision and that the buffer will probably need to be addressed later. Councilwoman Benton questioned whether the size and type of buffer on Sangrena Drive were discussed, which Mr. Wohlfeil replied that it was not discussed specifically during the meeting and that the appropriate time will be during the development process. Further, that the concept plan being presented is to illustrate the point as to why this zoning (C-2) is the appropriate zoning for this property, rather than C-1 (light commercial) and R-1A (residential), to allow for larger commercial facilities instead of a series of small, single-lot “hodge-podge” commercial uses. Mr. Wohlfeil stated that when all concerns are sorted out and the developer has an idea who is coming, a site plan will be submitted for Council to have the opportunity to review it and the concerns may be addressed by the developer. Councilman Olliff questioned if anything has been said about reducing the amount of development, stating that at the previous meeting, it was mentioned that this plan showed the largest amount of development that could be allowed. Mr. Wohlfeil replied that this was a design issue and that the developer is not ready to look into this matter further. Councilman Wall presented concern over the plan being too much for this area, asking for some idea of what is planned to go there with more details on the plan, in particular, the size of the buffer. Councilman Wall stated that he does not want to discourage any development, that the Council has been pro-development for years, but that the residents and Council’s concerns have to be addressed. Further, that he does not think anything has been accomplished since the last meeting, reiterating the number of businesses (23) that are proposed and asking for a site plan with a lesser number of buildings. Mr. Wohlfeil stated that when he left the last meeting, it was clear to him that Council wanted the developer to meet with the residents to understand their concerns, which has happened, with all questions answered and no mention of the plan not being acceptable to them. Councilman Wall asked about the possibility of the developer four-laning Sangrena Drive at the entrance/exit, placing a traffic light at the intersection of Highway 80 and providing an ample buffer adjacent to Sangrena Drive. Mr. Wohlfeil stated that it is conceivable for a plan to be submitted showing the appropriate changes (removing the smaller shops), but that he is concerned that the Council would then be approving a site plan, instead of the re-zoning. Councilman Wall expressed concern that if this property is re-zoned to C-2 and this project does not go through, these eight (8) properties will remain C-2, which is not what the Council wants to see happen. Mayor Lamb stated that at the last meeting, the Council thought the plan was too busy and feels the residents may think the same. Further, that a more realistic plan should be submitted. Mr. Wohlfeil reiterated the fact that the site plan should not come before the re-zoning is approved. Councilwoman Benton questioned whether there were contracts subject to this re-zoning, which Mr. Wohlfeil replied that the developer (Bob Dellenback) has not presented this property to the market without the zoning being in place and asked if the re-zoning could be contingent upon the parcels being combined into one (1) tract. Mr. Scheer replied that this could be done. Mr. Dellenback agreed to a recombination, and stated that the residents have indicated to him that they would like to see this type of development. Steve Hartley, resident of Sangrena Woods Subdivision, addressed Council with his concern over the traffic light, stating that he agrees with Councilman Wall that the plan has too many businesses proposed and that he thought the residents of Sangrena wanted a private access. Councilman Wall stated that he will not approve the plan currently being presented, based on it being too much for the area and there being no provision for four-laning Sangrena Drive (with at least a 100' buffer adjacent to the road), without a traffic light at the intersection or without a private access road (if requested by the residents of the subdivision). Councilman Wall made a motion to approve these zoning map amendments for Items 1 - 4, contingent upon: (1) the parcels being combined into one parcel within 12 months; (2) the legal opinion of the city attorney; (3) the conditions placed by Planning & Zoning deleting the following permitted uses in C-2, open air markets or flea markets, service stations, mini-warehouses and new or used auto sales and service and deleting all conditional uses outlined in the C-2 zoning ordinance; (4) requiring the developer to assist the city in obtaining a permit for a traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 80 & Sangrena Drive and if the Department of Transportation determines that a signal is permitted, the developer be required to pay for the cost of the signal; and (5) that Sangrena Drive be reconstructed to accommodate a left-turn lane and a 100' buffer be placed along Sangrena Drive and the adjacent residential lot to the north. Motion was seconded by Councilman Seay. Discussion followed, wherein adjacent property owner, Jerry Crosby, addressed Council with his concern that if this project is approved, his family’s quality of life will be gone. Charity Peterson, resident, presented concern that the amount of new development is taking away the beauty of the city. Mayor Lamb then called for the vote on the motion. Motion passed without opposition.
5. Approval of preliminary construction plans for “The Grove” at Brighton Woods Subdivision
Mr. Baxter presented this request which was tabled several meetings ago due to the concerns of the residents and the Council, stating that the developer has met with the residents to discuss their concerns. Further, that he has met with the developer, to determine if they are interested in developing a piece of property owned by the city, adjacent to this subdivision, into a community recreation park and if the developer would agree to constructing sidewalks along Brighton Woods Drive all the way to Highway 80. Attorney Harold Yellin, on behalf of Slyland Development, addressed Council, asking for consideration of this petition, based on what it is, that it is not a re-zoning. Mr. Yellin stated that the developer is taking a piece of property that is already zoned residential and is putting residences in as a matter of right. Further, that the developer has done everything requested by Planning & Zoning and that this plan complies with the city’s ordinances and the development can handle a 25-year storm. Mr. Yellin added that a traffic study has been performed and concluded that the trips generated from this subdivision will not adversely affect Brighton Woods Drive and there will not be a negative impact from this development. Further, that the subdivision plan was originally approved in 1985, with these 67 lots on record and that the developer is willing to construct a recreation park on the city’s land and sidewalks on Brighton Woods Drive. Mayor Lamb questioned where the construction entrance was planned. Hal Kraft of Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung, Inc. replied that at the Council’s request, the adjacent property owners to the east of this project (Shearouse Tract) have been contacted to see if they were willing to sell land to be used as an alternate access, which has been done, but the property owners are not interested in giving up any land. Further, that the developer has agreed to use the first entrance off Highway 80 (dead end) and bring all heavy construction traffic across the city’s property (prior to completion of the park) to the back of the new development, limiting the number of houses that construction traffic will have to pass by. Councilman Wall expressed his appreciation to the developer for working with the residents and the city in finding a second (construction) entrance, asking that the following items be considered: limiting the times for truck traffic after the park is completed; the park be completed as soon as possible and before any homes are constructed; sidewalks be constructed the full length of Brighton Woods Drive to Highway 80; and approval be subject to approval of all the infrastructure, the park being completed and the maintenance bond being in place before construction begins on homes. Mr. Yellin stated that it will be difficult to limit construction traffic to certain times of the day. Mr. Kraft recommended that a note be placed on the plat requiring that no certificates of occupancy be issued until the park construction is complete and the roads are acceptable to the city. Mr. Baxter stated that this will create a problem with owners needing to move into their homes immediately. Mayor Lamb then asked for input from the residents. Dan Stowers, resident on Hayden Drive, stated that his home is adjacent to the proposed park and presented his concern about construction traffic on his road, the fact that this area has flooded several times in the past 11 years and the probability that this proposed park is going to be in a more remote location than the city’s main recreation park, which will be subject to vandalism and other activities that are not acceptable. Mr. Stowers presented photos showing how this area has flooded in the past and urged the Council to not approve this plan, expressing further concern that several residences of Brighton Woods will be subject to flooding if this subdivision is allowed. Several residents addressed Council in regards to not receiving notification of the meeting with the developer to discuss this issue. Other residents presented concerns, including Ron Bosiljevac, who stated that the only buffer the subdivision had has been destroyed with the construction of the Pooler Parkway. Ms. Upchurch questioned the need for 65 houses, asking that the number be reduced to not over-develop this area. Stefanie Oxendine stated that an accurate traffic study was needed. Charity Peterson questioned when the traffic study was performed, which Mr. Kraft replied that it was done in September of 2004. Ms. Peterson stated that the residents feel safe with having only one (1) entrance and that she is concerned about the type of homes that are proposed. Councilman Wall recommended that the developer meet with the residents to address their concerns. Sheila Seymour presented a petition signed by residents opposing this project, stating that the residents preferred to discuss this with Council prior to meeting with the developer so that any discussion would be on record. Councilman Wall stated that he suggested a meeting be held with the developer and the residents to resolve any issues they might have. Mayor Lamb asked the residents if they would be willing to meet with the developer. Discussion continued, wherein residents on Winskie Road, G. U. Davis, Robert Morgan and Flora Stuckey presented their opposition of this project, based on probable flooding, the project being too much for the area and the fact that the city already has drainage problems. Roger Livingston, resident of Brighton Woods Subdivision, asked how the Council can ensure that there will be no flooding. Dwayne Johnson, resident, stated that Brighton Woods Drive already has one inch (1") cracks in it. Councilman Wall then made a motion to table this item to allow the developer to meet with the residents and address their concerns. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition. Mr. Baxter stated that residents would be notified, including those on Winskie Road.
Under NEW BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. Approval of preliminary construction plan for Forest Lakes, Phase 1B
Mr. Baxter presented the preliminary construction plan for Forest Lakes Subdivision, Phase 1B, stating that Planning & Zoning and staff have recommended approval. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve this preliminary construction plan, contingent upon EPD approval. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition.
2. Approval of recombination of Parcels L & N in The Crossings at Godley Station
Mr. Baxter presented this request to recombine Parcels L & N into one (1) commercial building site. Councilman Allen made a motion to approve this recombination, contingent upon the owner signing the plat. Motion was seconded by Councilman Olliff and passed without opposition.
3. Acceptance of maintenance bond/approval of final plat for The Arbors, Phase 7B
Mr. Baxter presented this request from the developers of The Arbors, stating that the infrastructure is complete and the public works department has approved this development. After discussion, Councilwoman Benton made a motion to accept the maintenance bond and approve the final plat for The Arbors, Phase 7B, contingent upon the city attorney approving the bond. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition.
4. Release of performance bond/acceptance of maintenance bond for The Arbors, Phase 7A
Mr. Baxter presented this request from the developers of The Arbors, stating that the infrastructure is complete and the public works department has approved this development. Councilwoman Benton made a motion to release the performance bond and accept the maintenance bond for The Arbors, Phase 7A, contingent upon the city attorney approving the bond. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall passed without opposition.
5. Request to re-name portion of Quacco Road adjacent to The Gates at Savannah Quarters to “Gate View Road”
Attorney David Sneed of HunterMacLean presented this request on behalf of Craftbuilt Homes, LLC to re-name the portion of Quacco Road that is adjacent to the subdivision known as The Gates to “Gate View Road”, stating that this request is based on a public safety perspective. Mr. Baxter stated that Chatham County has proposed to change the name of Quacco Road in its entirety to “International Boulevard”, adding that he is leery of re-naming any portion of this road. Councilman Seay stated that he is opposed to re-naming Quacco Road due to its history of how it was named. After discussion, Councilman Wall made a motion to deny this request. Motion was seconded by Councilman Seay and passed without opposition.
6. Request from Pooler Area Chamber of Commerce for permit for POOLERFEST 2005 and to waive fees for special events
Mr. Baxter presented this request from the Pooler Area Chamber of Commerce to approve the permit for the upcoming “POOLERFEST”, to waive all fees for special events and for the city to provide security with off-duty police officers. After discussion, Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Allen, to approve this request. Motion passed without opposition.
7. Approval of application for traffic signal permit at I-95 & Pooler Parwkay
Mr. Baxter presented an application for a traffic signal permit at the intersection of I-95 and Pooler Parkway, stating that the Savannah Airport Commission has agreed to pay the cost of installation not covered by the State of Georgia and the maintenance and operating expenses of the signal, but that an intergovernmental agreement was needed prior to execution of this application. Further, that the I-95 ramps on the west side of the interstate are in the process of being de-annexed from Pooler and annexed into the City of Savannah, as part of the agreement. Councilman Wall stated that he read an editorial in one of the local newspapers regarding the lack of a traffic light at this intersection, which the city was aware of and has been working on for quite some time. After discussion, Councilman Wall made a motion to approve this application, contingent upon the execution of an intergovernmental agreement. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition.
8. Adoption of 2005 millage rate
Mr. Baxter stated that the proposed millage rate has been duly advertised to be rolled back to 4.071 mills and therefore, Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, to roll the 2005 millage rate back from 4.25 mills to 4.071 mills. Motion passed without opposition.
9. Approval of budget adjustment in the general fund for 2005
Mr. Baxter presented a budget adjustment (copy attached to and made a part of these minutes) in the general fund for 2005, stating that it is necessary to correct budgeted amounts for additional revenue and the roll-back of the millage rate. Councilman Olliff made a motion to approve this budget adjustment. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.
10. Approval of contract for fabri-forming Worthington and Collins Street outfall ditches
Mr. Baxter asked that this item be withdrawn from the agenda, due to the contract not yet being submitted. This request was honored.
Councilman Allen made a motion to adjourn to Executive Session at approximately 8:33 p.m. to discuss legal and personnel matters. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition.
Mayor Lamb called the meeting back to order at 8:47 p.m. Mr. Scheer stated that the fire chief has requested permission to send a four (4) man crew of firefighters to assist with relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the gulf states. Mr. Scheer presented reasons as to why the Council at this time could not allow this to happen, based on there being no written agreement to cover any liability issues that may arise, adding that this matter could be looked into further. Mr. Baxter suggested that the city could possibly send a crew later if Mr. Scheer’s comments are addressed.
There being no further business to discuss, Councilman Wall made a motion to adjourn at approximately 8:57 p.m. Motion was seconded by Councilman Royal and passed without opposition.