Council Minutes December 19, 2005

CITY OF POOLER
CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
December 19, 2005


The regular meeting of the Pooler City Council was held on December 19, 2005. Mayor Mike Lamb called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Present were Councilmen 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 Olliff, seconded by Councilwoman Benton, with no opposition. 

Report from the Standing Committees: 

FINANCE

Councilman Olliff presented bills for payment and made a motion to pay, subject to funds. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Benton and passed without opposition. 

Councilman Olliff stated that Linda Smith, Finance Officer, has informed the city of her retirement effective January 15, 2006, and that Assistant Finance Officer Shelly Cromwell has been selected to fill this position. 

PUBLIC SAFETY

Councilman Allen reported on the police department activities for the month and presented a letter of appreciation from the Pine Barren Homeowners Association to the fire department for their attendance at the fall festival. Chief Jay Hillis reported on the fire department activities for the month. Chief Chan stated that the police department has been awarded a portion ($70,000) of a $3 million grant that Chatham County has received to purchase equipment to enhance communications in the department. 

STREETS/DRAINAGE

Councilman Seay reported that the street and drainage departments have performed routine maintenance. 

WATER/SEWER

Councilman Wall reported that the water and sewer departments have performed routine maintenance. 

RECREATION

Councilman Royal reported that basketball practice has begun, with the Rama scheduled for January 14, 2006. 

BUILDING/ZONING

Councilwoman Benton reported that eight (8) new single family residential, two (2) attached unit and two (2) commercial permits were issued since the last meeting, totaling 342 residential, 48 attached unit and 312 multi-family unit permits for the year, with 7966 inspections performed. 

Under OLD BUSINESS the following was discussed: 

1. Approval of site plan for Auto Zone located at the corner of Brighton Woods Drive &Highway 80

Mr. Baxter stated that the petitioner has requested that this item be tabled until the January 17, 2006 meeting. Councilman Allen made a motion, seconded by Councilman Wall, to table this item. Motion passed without opposition. 

2. Second Reading on proposed 2006 budget

A public hearing was held prior. Mr. Baxter presented the 2006 budget, stating that several hearings have been held. Cheryl Sanderlin, Secretary of the Pooler Area Chamber of Commerce asked Council to reconsider the amount of money the Chamber will be receiving, stating that the funds have been decreased due to the Pooler Crossroads Visitors Center receiving a larger share of the hotel/motel tax funds. Ms. Sanderlin stated that the funds being requested to pay for interchange lighting are questionable, reminding the Council that the current Chamber was formed nine (9) years ago to allow the city to continue collecting hotel/motel tax funds. Further, that the decrease in funds will limit the funds the Chamber has budgeted for other functions. Councilman Wall stated that there were several options considered nine (9) years ago in regards to the chambers and the hotel/motel tax funds and that originally a chamber was formed to provide for interchange lighting. Further, that the Council realizes other functions of the PACC are important, reminding the Chamber that in the beginning the funds were only around $30,000 and have increased to over $200,000, and that the law concerning hotel/motel tax funds is vague. In addition, Councilman Wall stated that the lighting of the interchanges is most important. Councilwoman Benton stated that the PACC will be receiving 75% of the funds in 2006. After further discussion, Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the budget on Second Reading, to include the new pay scale and a four percent (4%) salary increase for all employees. Motion was seconded by Councilman Olliff and passed without opposition. Councilman Wall commended staff, namely Shelly Cromwell, for their hard work on forming the pay scale. 

Under NEW BUSINESS the following was discussed: 

1. Approval of sketch plan for two (2) hotels on Lot D, Glen Sawyer Subdivision

Mr. Baxter presented this request from Roshan Patel to build two (2) hotels on Lot D of the Glen Sawyer Subdivision, stating that on May 2, 2005, Council denied a similar request based on the developer’s original plan (re-zoning petition) being approved for only two (2) hotels and three (3) restaurants. Attorney Tim Walmsley and Roshan Patel, owner of the property, were present at the meeting. Councilman Wall stated that there was a lot of concern over the property being originally being planned with only two (2) hotels in the whole subdivision, but that after discussing Mr. Patel’s plan for one (1) four-story hotel with the adjacent property owners, it was determined that two (2) hotels (a two-story and a three-story) would be more appropriate. Further, that there is a problem with the 60' setback, which can be worked out with the site plan, and that the berm with plantings be a minimum of five (5) feet high and be constructed, along with a fence, prior to construction of the hotels. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the sketch plan for two (2) hotels on Lot D, contingent upon a 20' buffer being included, the comments being addressed in regards to the 60' setback and the drainage, and the berm being a minimum of five (5) feet high and be constructed with a fence prior to construction of the hotels. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen. Discussion followed wherein Mr. Scheer stated that this issue was in litigation and the parties reached a resolution. Further, that the Council’s concerns in regards to health, safety, welfare and traffic congestion were valid, asking Mr. Walmsley if he agreed that these concerns were valid. Mr. Walmsley replied that the Council’s concerns were legitimate. Mayor Lamb reiterated the fact that Governor Treutlen Road is already heavily congested and that there is more development planned in the area. Councilwoman Benton stated that Mr. Patel has agreed in a letter to Jackie Carver, Zoning Administrator, to address the aforementioned issues prior to issuance of the building permits. Leo McDonald, property owner on S. Skinner Avenue, asked who would be responsible for the upkeep of the fence and if the drainage issues will be addressed. Mr. Scheer stated that if the fence is neglected, it would become a nuisance issue and handled as provided by ordinance. Mr. Walmsley replied that the drainage issues will be addressed before construction begins. John Doonan, adjacent property owner, addressed Council with his concern over an existing ditch in the area being overgrown, which will cause water to back up onto his and other property, asking the city to look into this matter. Mayor Lamb called for the vote on the motion to approve this request. Motion passed without opposition. 

2. Approval of final subdivision plat of Lot 15C, Parkway Professional Plaza, intofour (4) lots

Mr. Baxter presented this request from Southeast Engineering and Environmental to subdivide Lot 15C of Parkway Professional Plaza into four (4) lots. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve this final subdivision plat. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition. 

3. Approval of preliminary site plan/sketch plan of a proposed commercial subdivision located approx. 4000' west of Benton Blvd. on the north side of Jimmy DeLoach Parkway

Mr. Baxter presented the sketch plan for a proposed commercial subdivision to include five (5) parcels, stating that staff has recommended approval. Terry Coleman of Kern-Coleman & Company was present to answer any questions. Councilwoman Benton asked if the 45' access easement was sufficient, which Mr. Coleman replied that it is sufficient and that this road will be private and will be built to handle tractor/trailer traffic. Councilman Olliff questioned if a restaurant was planned for this subdivision and whether ample parking will be provided. Mr. Baxter replied that the city planner reviews commercial plans to ensure that parking is provided for restaurants. After discussion, Councilman Wall made a motion to approve this sketch plan, contingent upon the road being built and maintained to the city’s standards in the event the road is ever turned over to the city. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition. 

4. Approval of preliminary construction plan for East Spine Road, Phase 3 (Easthaven Blvd.)

Mr. Baxter presented this request from the developer of Savannah Quarters for the construction of the East Spine Road extension to the amenity/park area, the lift station and infrastructure to future residential development in the Southwest Quadrant, stating that all the engineer’s comments have been addressed. Councilman Seay stated that Planning & Zoning Board questioned who would own and maintain the amenity area. Hal Kraft of Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung Engineers was present and replied that the property owners’ association will own and maintain the amenity area. Councilman Allen made a motion, seconded by Councilman Seay, to approve this plan. Motion passed without opposition. 

5. Approval of construction plan for a 60" storm pipe extension in the northeast corner of Park Avenue & Pooler Parkway

Mr. Baxter presented the construction plan for a 60" storm pipe extension to the large drainage ditch in the northeast corner of Pooler Parkway & Park Avenue, stating that engineer’s comments have been addressed and staff has recommended approval. Mayor Lamb expressed concern about covering a ditch. Mr. Baxter stated that the city had an alternate engineer review this plan and that the city will monitor the drainage in this area. Councilman Wall stated that he has the same concern and that if in the future repairs need to be made to the pipe or the size of the pipe needs to be increased, the property owner be responsible for sharing in the cost of the work being done. Steve Wohlfeil of HGB&D was present and stated that this is a very large ditch and is difficult to maintain. Further, that the pipe will handle the drainage flow and will be more aesthetically pleasing and require significantly less maintenance than the ditch. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve this construction plan, contingent upon that if some time in the future this pipe is not adequate to maintain proper drainage, the property owner be given an opportunity to share in the cost of placing a parallel pipe or the pipe being removed and the ditch being open as it once was. Motion was seconded by Councilman Seay and passed without opposition. 

6. Acceptance of performance bond/approval of final plat for Hamilton Grove, Phase 3

Mr. Baxter presented this request from the developer of Hamilton Grove Subdivision, stating that this phase consists of 67 lots and was approved during the Savannah Quarters, Phase 6, PUD approval, and that staff has recommended approval. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Royal, to accept the performance bond and approve the final plat for Hamilton Grove, Phase 3, contingent upon the city attorney approving the bond. Motion passed without opposition.

7. Acceptance of performance bond/approval of final plat for Hamilton Grove, Phase 6

Mr. Baxter presented this request from the developer of Hamilton Grove Subdivision, stating that this phase consists of 50 lots and was approved during the Savannah Quarters, Phase 6, PUD approval, and that staff has recommended approval. Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Allen, to accept the performance bond and approve the final plat for Hamilton Grove, Phase 6, contingent upon the city attorney approving the bond. Motion passed without opposition. 

8. Acceptance of maintenance bond/approval of final plat for Morgan’s Corner

Mr. Baxter presented this request from the developer of Morgan’s Corner, a commercial subdivision consisting of six (6) lots in the northeast corner of Pine Barren Road and Pooler Parkway, stating that the infrastructure is complete and a final inspection has been performed. After discussion, Councilman Wall made a motion to accept the maintenance bond and approve the final plat for Morgan’s Corner, subject to the city attorney approving the bond. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition. 

9. Approval of site plan for a proposed warehouse at 176 Pine Barren Road

Mr. Baxter presented the site plan for a proposed 105,000 square foot warehouse at 176 Pine Barren Road, stating that city water and sewer services will be available and that adequate parking has been provided based on office space and the number of employees. After discussion, Councilwoman Benton made a motion to approve this site plan. Motion was seconded by Councilman Olliff and passed without opposition. 

10. Approval of preliminary construction plans for Forest Lakes Subdivision, Phase II

Mr. Baxter stated that the petitioner has requested that this item be tabled until the February 6, 2006 meeting. Councilwoman Benton made a motion to table this item until said time. Motion was seconded by Councilman Seay and passed without opposition. 

11. Approval of sketch plan for Crestwood Suites on San Drive next to Burger King

Mr. Baxter presented the sketch plan for the proposed Crestwood Suites, a four (4) story hotel with 109 rooms. Councilman Seay stated that staff has recommended Council consider the potential traffic generated by this development. Paul Simonton of P. C. Simonton & Associates, Inc. was present to answer any questions. Mayor Lamb reminded Mr. Simonton about the concern (as discussed previously in item #1) Council has in regards to traffic on Governor Treutlen Road and San Drive. Further, that two (2) hotel sites have just been approved, now totaling three (3) for this area. Councilman Wall stated that there are lot of concerns from the neighbors that have just been heard and that Council reluctantly agreed, after addressing comments from the residents, to approve two (2) hotels on Lot D. Further, that Mr. Sawyer’s re-zoning petition for this subdivision referred to two (2) hotel and three (3) restaurant sites and that at that time, Council thought this was substantial for the area, since the land backs up to residential property. Additionally, there are townhomes planned on Governor Treutlen Road, which is already heavily congested and that hotels will have a larger impact on traffic and drainage than restaurants. Councilman Wall expressed regret that Mr. Sawyer did not let the potential buyers know that his original plan only called for two (2) hotels, which Council agreed to, and has since reluctantly exceeded this plan. Councilman Allen stated that by allowing the two (2) hotels in Item #1, the number of rooms has been reduced. Mr. Simonton addressed Council, stating that he was unaware of any traffic issues and the content of Mr. Sawyer’s original subdivision plan and that hotels and restaurants have different traffic patterns, with restaurants having more traffic. Mr. Scheer asked Mr. Simonton if he had any information that would contradict the problems Councilman Wall and Mayor Lamb have enumerated in regards to the congestion in the area, the threat to the traffic, health and safety, etc. Mr. Simonton replied that he was not prepared to talk about the traffic in the area. Further, that he was not aware of the townhomes being built and respectively argued that hotels and restaurants do have different traffic problems. Mr. Scheer reiterated the fact that the original plan provided for only two (2) hotels and is now being requested to change it and that there has been a great deal of concern about legitimate health, safety and traffic concerns in this area. Further, that another hotel is in direct conflict with what the Council was told three (3) years ago as part of Mr. Sawyer’s re-zoning application. Mr. Simonton stated that he believes Mr. Sawyer had been working with real estate agents that his thoughts were probably to have the number of hotels and restaurants based on the interest that he was getting on these pieces of property. Mayor Lamb reiterated the concerns of Council, stating that the whole area has been looked at and the impact is being considered. Mr. Simonton stated that the property was re-zoned to C-2 (heavy commercial) with no condition being placed as to only allowing two (2) hotels. Further, that the real issue is whether there is a conditional zoning for this property. Mr. Scheer disagreed with this, again asking for any evidence to indicate the concerns raised are not true and requested the petitioner to look back at the re-zoning application to see that it includes two (2) hotel and three (3) restaurant sites. Andrew Pace, prospective buyer of this property, was present and stated that he feels he is a victim, based on the fact that the Council just approved two (2) hotels previously that were not on the original plan and that he placed a contract to purchase this property some time ago to build a hotel and has plans to extend the frontage road to keep access on Highway 80. Further, that this plan is not unreasonable for the area, that it is a natural hotel site, that this area is already heavily congested and there is no better place for a hotel and that his plan is to emulate the other hotels in the area. Councilwoman Benton questioned if there was any condition placed on the re-zoning and if the owner could put anything allowed in C-2. Jackie Carver, Zoning Administrator, replied that the property was re-zoned with the condition that it could not be used for a bar, that there was no condition placed in regards to hotels. Councilwoman Benton stated that the property was re-zoned to C-2 and that hotels are permitted. Mr. Scheer replied that if the Council thinks they have a valid reason (health, safety, welfare, etc.) to deny this request, he believes it is defensible in court. Councilman Wall made a motion to deny this sketch plan, based on the fact that Council was told that two (2) hotels and three (3) restaurants were planned; the area being congested and backing up to a residential neighborhood; there being traffic, congestion and height concerns and drainage problems in the area; the residents’ complaints about the other hotels and based on Council being told that a restaurant was going there. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen. Leo McDonald stated that the residents were satisfied with the other hotels being built, but could not understand why this property was sold for another hotel to be built. John Doonan stated that the residents were mislead by Mr. Sawyer and that the berm was promised years ago when the first hotel was approved. Mr. Pace stated that his plan is not unreasonable for the area and that the land is zoned for hotels. Mayor Lamb called for the vote on the motion. Motion passed without opposition. 

12. Approval of Water Conservation Plan

Mr. Baxter presented the Water Conservation Plan which is necessary for the city’s withdrawal permit renewal and will also aid the city in its application for additional withdrawal. After discussion, Councilman Wall made a motion, seconded by Councilman Royal, to approve this Plan. Motion passed without opposition. 

13. Approval of Service Delivery Strategy Update

Mr. Baxter presented an update to the Service Delivery Strategy to continue with no changes until October 2008. Councilman Wall made a motion to approve the Service Delivery Strategy Update. Motion was seconded by Councilman Allen and passed without opposition.

There being no further business to discuss, Councilman Allen made a motion to adjourn at approximately 7:35 p.m. Motion was seconded by Councilman Seay and passed without opposition.

Public Hearing

A public hearing was held on December 19, 2005, prior to the regular City Council meeting. Mayor Mike Lamb called the hearing to order at 5:30 p.m. Present were Councilmen Bruce Allen, Larry Olliff, Mike Royal, Wayne Seay and Stevie Wall. City Manager Dennis Baxter and City Attorney Steve Scheer were also present.

The purpose of this hearing was to discuss a the proposed 2006 budget. Mr. Baxter presented the budget, stating that the General Fund balances with revenues and expenditures totaling $8,037,000 and Water & Sewer Fund balancing with revenues and expenditures totaling $4,932,902. 

There being no further discussion, the hearing was adjourned at approximately 5:35 p.m.

City of Pooler, GA | 100 US HW 80, Pooler, GA 31322
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Date of Authorization: 2/13/08