The regular meeting of the Pooler City Council was held on March 17, 2003. Mayor Buddy Carter called the meeting to order at 6:25 p.m. (delayed due to the public hearing held prior). Present were Councilmen Jack Brewton, Robert Bryan, Travis Cowart, Jr., Wayne Seay, Stevie Wall and Councilwoman Billie Tyler. City Manager Dennis Baxter and City Attorney Steve Scheer were also present.
The invocation was given by Mayor Carter and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Councilman Cowart.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as printed upon a motion by Councilman Wall, seconded by Councilman Cowart, with no opposition.
Report from the Standing Committees:
Councilman Bryan presented bills for payment and made a motion to pay, subject to funds. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition. Councilman Bryan stated that he and Councilman Brewton will be meeting with the senior citizens in Garden City to see what their program is about.
Councilman Wall reported on the community service program and gave the fire and police reports.
Councilman Cowart reported that the street and drainage departments have performed routine maintenance.
Councilman Brewton reported that the water and sewer departments have performed routine maintenance, that all parameters have been met at the wastewater treatment plant and that the city has pumped 18, 540,570 gallons of water, with 5,040,300 being pumped from the City of Savannah, totaling 23,580,870 gallons of water pumped in January.
Councilman Seay reported that baseball/softball signups are over, with 33 teams being selected this week; that there was a dance for those 12 and under on March 7th; and that the employees at the senior citizens center have been working diligently on fund raisers and getting more seniors to attend the center.
Councilman Seay commended those employees who work outside, especially during time of inclement weather.
Councilwoman Tyler reported that 19 new single family residential permits have been issued this month, totaling 88 for the year, with 244 inspections performed. Councilwoman Tyler invited everyone to the Pooler Crossroads Chamber of Commerce’s “Womanless Beauty Pageant” to be held March 29th at the middle school and congratulated Jimmy Fields for being nominated to the Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame.
Under OLD BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. Request for variance to place second entry sign at Coastal Bank
This item was tabled from the February 17, 2003 meeting in order to resolve a matter regarding the business license. Robert Poticny, architect representing the Coastal Bank, addressed Council, stated that he was unaware that a second entry sign had to be approved by Planning & Zoning and Council prior to it being constructed. Mr. Scheer stated that the business license matter has been resolved. Councilman Wall questioned what type of penalty was allowed for violating the sign ordinance and whether this issue should go before the municipal court. Mr. Scheer stated that this violation should be brought to court. After discussion, Councilwoman Tyler made a motion to approve this variance, contingent upon the approval to have no effect on the outcome of the court case. Motion was seconded by Councilman Seay and passed without opposition.
2. Approval of site plan for Fortune Plaza
Mr. Emerson Gamble, real estate agent for the property at the corner of E. Highway 80 and S. Skinner Avenue, addressed Council with comments regarding consideration of the site plan approval for Fortune Plaza, in particular, the fact that his client has met all the requirements for this development. Further, that the main concern of Planning & Zoning was that of traffic, which his client has been requested to have a study performed. Mr. Gamble stated that a traffic study is not a requirement of the city’s planning and zoning regulations. Mr. Scheer stated that any concern about public safety or health are reasonable to be taken into consideration for denial. Mayor Carter asked if the developer was willing to have a traffic study performed. Mr. Baxter stated that he has spoken with the developer’s attorney who has asked that if they have a traffic study done and do what it advises, then his client wants some assurance that Council would approve their site plan. Further, that a traffic study is warranted, due to the numerous accidents and one fatality that have occurred at this intersection. After discussion, Councilman Wall made a motion to table this item. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Tyler and passed without opposition.
3. Second Reading on proposed zoning text amendment regarding non-conforming uses
Councilwoman Tyler presented this zoning text amendment and made a motion to approve on Second Reading. Motion was seconded by Councilman Bryan and passed without opposition.
4. Second Reading on ordinance regarding establishment of the Pooler Economic Development Authority
Councilman Cowart stated that more time was needed to look over the specifics of this ordinance and made a motion to table this item. Motion was seconded by Councilman Brewton and passed without opposition.
Under NEW BUSINESS the following was discussed:
1. Request for zoning map amendment of 15.61 acres bordered by Benton Drive, Beatty Street and Rogers Street
A public hearing was held prior wherein Attorney Harold Yellin, agent for Wendover Georgia, Inc. and Rebecca Cone Benton, requested a continuance until April 21, 2003, to allow time to determine whether a traffic study needed to be done and to look into alternate access (from the north) to this property. Councilwoman Tyler made a motion, seconded by Councilman Wall, to deny the request for continuance. Motion passed with Councilman Brewton opposing.` Mr. Yellin then withdrew this petition for a zoning map amendment. Mayor Carter reminded the citizens that any new petition for re-zoning will have to go through the same process, (i.e., advertisement, notifying adjacent property owners).
2. Approval of final plat for The Crossings at Godley Station
Councilwoman Tyler presented the final plat for The Crossings at Godley Station, stating that all comments have been addressed, and made a motion, based on Planning & Zoning and staff recommendation, to approve, contingent upon the bond being approved by the city attorney. Motion was seconded by Councilman Cowart and passed without opposition.
3. Approval of storm drainage and water and sewer master plan for Westside Business Park
Councilman Bryan stepped down from his council seat. Councilwoman Tyler presented this master plan for the Westside Busines Park and made a motion, based on Planning & Zoning and staff recommendation, to approve. Motion was seconded by Councilman Brewton and passed without opposition.
Councilman Bryan returned to his seat.
4. Approval to release Larry McKendree’s warranty bond for cutting of Gleason Court
Councilman Seay stepped down from his council seat. Mr. Baxter presented this request, stating that all comments have been addressed. Councilman Bryan made a motion to approve the release of Larry McKendree’s warranty bond for the cutting of Gleason Court. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Tyler and passed without opposition.
5. Request from Mr. Wade Waters to use room at city hall for Mulberry Grove Plantation Committee meetings
Mr. Waters addressed Council with information regarding the Mulberry Grove Plantation and a project they have been working on, asking for the use of a room at city hall for two (2) nights. Mr. Scheer cautioned the Council that there is a prohibition against donating anything of the city’s. Mr. Baxter stated that the fire station could be made available for a reasonable rental fee. Councilman Bryan made a motion to approve this request for two (2) nights for a reasonable amount to be determined by Mr. Baxter. Motion was seconded by Councilwoman Tyler and passed without opposition.
There being no further business to discuss, Councilman Cowart made a motion to adjourn at approximately 7:36 p.m. Motion was seconded by Councilman Bryan and passed without opposition.
A public hearing was held prior to the regular City Council meeting on March 17, 2003. Mayor Buddy Carter called the hearing to order at 5:45 p.m. Present were Councilmen Jack Brewton, Robert Bryan, Travis Cowart, Jr., Wayne Seay, Stevie Wall and Councilwoman Billie Tyler. City Manager Dennis Baxter and City Attorney Steve Scheer were also present.
The purpose of this hearing was to discuss a requested zoning map amendment for 15.61 acres bordered to the west by Benton Drive, to the south by Beatty Street and to the east by Rogers Street. Attorney Harold Yellin, agent for Wendover Georgia, Inc. and Rebecca Cone Benton, requested a continuance until April 21, 2003, in order to allow them to (1) determine whether or not a traffic study is needed and (2) to look further into alternate access from the north to this property. Councilman Bryan questioned why this petition was being presented prior to the access to the north not being yet established. Mr. Yellin stated that this re-zoning is different from the previous petition for a commercial zoning. Further, that this petition is simply a re-zoning from one residential zoning district to another, R-1A (single family residential) to R-3A (multi-family residential), that the only difference is density and stated that any type of residential zoning for this property is allowed as a matter of right. Mr. Yellin pointed out the other R-3A areas in the city comparable in size, noting that these are surrounded by single family residential, as are the current multi-family complexes. Councilwoman Tyler stated that there are no major thoroughfares to this property, wherein Mr. Yellin reiterated the fact that the other R-3A areas are surrounded by single family residential. Councilman Wall stated that this re-zoning would create additional traffic problems and that he is opposed to a multi-family zoning. Mr. Yellin stated that this request is significantly different from Ms. Benton’s previous request for re-zoning, stating that it is a reasonable compromise. Councilman Cowart questioned if this would cause the developer to come back to request to open the residential streets for future development, possibly commercial and stated that the people have to be happy. Mr. Yellin stated that it is the developer’s intent to use the access from the north. Mayor Carter questioned the safety of closing off these residential roads. Fire Chief Jimmy Fields stated that there should always be more than one (1) access to property. Several residents presented their concerns which include: the number of people this development would bring to the area, property values depreciating, drainage problems, potential crime, and construction traffic. The residents also presented their concern that the issue of re-zoning this property has been brought up before, only to be withdrawn, and that the petitioner keeps coming back for consideration of re-zoning this property.
There being no further business to discuss, the hearing was adjourned at approximately 6:22 p.m.