Council Minutes December 1, 2003

CITY OF POOLER
CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
December 1, 2003

The regular meeting of the Pooler City Council was held on December 1, 2003. Mayor Buddy Carter called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m. (delayed due to the public hearings 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 Mr. Baxter and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Councilman Cowart. 

The minutes of the previous regular scheduled meeting were approved as printed upon a motion by Councilman Wall, seconded by Councilman Bryan, with no opposition. The minutes of the previous called meeting were approved as printed upon a motion by Councilman Cowart, seconded by Councilman Bryan, with no opposition. 

Report from the Standing Committees: 

FINANCE

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. 

PUBLIC SAFETY

Fire Chief Jay Hillis gave the fire report, stating that the department had 110 calls in November and that their holiday food drive was a success. 

STREETS/DRAINAGE

Councilman Cowart reported that the street and drainage departments have performed routine maintenance and that Chatham County is performing canal maintenance. 

WATER/SEWER

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

RECREATION

Councilman Seay reported that football and cheerleading are over with basketball signups continuing. 

PERSONNEL

Councilman Seay complimented the employees for the fine job they were doing, stating that they will be attending a holiday party on Thursday evening. 

BUILDING/ZONING

Councilwoman Tyler reported that 7 new single family residential permits were issued since the last meeting, totaling 308 for the year and that the permit for the Carey Hilliards Restaurant has been issued. 

Under OLD BUSINESS the following was discussed: 

1. Request for conditional use to construct a church at 1311 S. Rogers Street

This item was tabled from the October 20th meeting to allow the two groups to meet and to have a traffic study performed. Reverend Tom Byerly of MorningStar Baptist Church stated that during the October 20th meeting, Attorney Phillip McCorkle brought up the fact that the requirements for a conditional use have been met. Further, at the request of the Council, the church members have met with the residents about this matter and that an informal traffic study has been performed. Councilwoman Tyler questioned if the two groups came to any kind of compromise. Reverend Byerly responded that this did not happen and presented information from a traffic study that was performed by Chatham County in 2002, adding that the additional phase of the Bridgewater Subdivision will create more traffic on S. Rogers Street. Councilwoman Tyler stated that this phase of Bridgewater is part of an overall master plan. Councilman Wall asked if the church plans to congregate in the house that is on the property to which Reverend Byerly replied that they would not. William Baker, adjacent property owner, stated that a petition has been signed by residents opposing this request and asked for Council’s consideration. Mr. Baker also stated that the residents feel that Councilman Seay should step down from his seat during this matter. Councilman Seay answered that he had no financial interest in this property. Mr. Scheer reiterated the fact that there is a traffic problem on S. Rogers Street and stated that the property owners are entitled to use their property as long as it is not a use that will be detrimental to other property. Further, that the Council needed to review the Standards for Conditional Use approval to see if this request meets these requirements with the adjacent property owners’ objection being taken into consideration. Councilman Seay stated that he feels the ordinance is wrong for requiring churches to be approved as conditional uses, that this should not be a political decision. Mr. John Oglesby, adjacent property owner, asked that the church not be forced on the residents. Mr. Bill Lynch, adjacent property owner, asked that before any more traffic is added, the city should correct this problem. Councilman Wall stated that once the Pooler Parkway is open, traffic should decrease on S. Rogers Street and that the decisions Council has made in the past to turn projects down have prompted potential lawsuits. Further, that he does not have a problem with approving this conditional use. Councilman Cowart stated that the people’s concerns are valid and that he would have liked to see the two parties work together on this matter. After further discussion, Councilwoman Tyler made a motion to deny this request. Motion was seconded by Councilman Brewton. The motion was opposed by Councilman Bryan, Councilman Seay and Councilman Wall, creating a tie. Mayor Carter voted in opposition of the motion. Motion failed. Councilman Wall then made a motion to approve this conditional use request. Motion was seconded by Councilman Seay and was opposed by Councilman Brewton, Councilman Cowart and Councilwoman Tyler, creating a tie. Mayor Carter voted in favor of this motion; request approved. 

2. Approval of plat for required rights-of-way and easements for roads in Godley Station

Mr. Baxter presented this plat, stating that all property owners have signed it. Councilwoman Tyler made a motion, seconded by Councilman Cowart, to approve this plat. Motion passed without opposition. 

Under NEW BUSINESS the following was discussed: 

1. Request for a conditional use to build a home sales and design center on Lot 39, Westside Business Park

Councilman Bryan stepped down from his council seat. A public hearing was held prior wherein no opposition was presented. Councilman Wall presented this request from Crestline Homes/Bruce Greenspan to build a home sales and design center on Lot 39 in the Westside Business Park and after discussion, made a motion to approve this conditional use as presented (allowing only 2 homes to be built). Motion was seconded by Councilman Cowart and passed without opposition. 

2. Request for zoning map amendment of Lots 18 and 19, Westside Business Park from C-2 to I-1

Councilman Bryan remained away from his council seat for this item also. A public hearing was held prior wherein no opposition was presented. Councilwoman Tyler presented this request from the developers of Westside Business Park to rezone Lots 18 and 19 from C-2 (heavy commercial) to I-1 (light industrial) for marketing purposes and made a motion, based on Planning & Zoning and staff recommendation, to approve, with the condition that the following uses are not allowed on Lots 18 and 19: truck terminals, radio and/or television station transmission or reception towers, truck service centers, bars or nightclubs. Motion was seconded by Councilman Cowart and passed without opposition. 

3. Approval of revised master plan for Westside Business Park on E. Hwy 80

Councilman Bryan remained away from his council seat for this item also. Councilwoman Tyler presented this revised master plan for Westside Business Park stating that during the Corps of Engineers’ verification process wetlands were found making this revision necessary. After discussion, Councilwoman Tyler made a motion, based on Planning & Zoning and staff recommendation, to approve this revision to the master plan. Motion was seconded by Councilman Cowart and passed without opposition. 

4. Approval of minor subdivision of 1.54 acre site off Quacco Road for a Savannah Electric Sub-Station

Councilman Bryan returned to his council seat. Councilwoman Tyler presented this minor subdivision of a 1.54 acre site off Quacco Road that is being sold to Savannah Electric for a sub-station site and made a motion to approve. Motion was seconded by Councilman Bryan and passed without opposition. 

5. Approval of minor subdivision of Tract 8 and portion of Tract 6, Southwest Quadrant

Councilwoman Tyler presented this minor subdivision of Tract 8 and a portion of Tract 6 in the Southwest Quadrant, stating that churches are being proposed on these sites. Councilwoman Tyler made a motion to approve this minor subdivision. Motion was seconded by Councilman Bryan and passed without opposition. 

6. Approval to release maintenance bond for cutting of S. Skinner Avenue

Mr. Baxter presented this request to release the maintenance bond for the cutting of S. Skinner Avenue, stating that a new home has been constructed and that an inspection has been performed. Councilwoman Tyler made a motion to release this maintenance bond. Motion was seconded by Councilman Seay and passed without opposition. 

7. Approval to serve water and sewer to the Morgan Tract

Mr. Baxter presented this request from the Morgan Family who have agreed to enter into an agreement and provide an irrevocable letter of credit to have water and sewer lines run to their property. After discussion, Councilman Cowart made a motion, seconded by Councilman Seay, to approve this request, contingent upon the agreement being signed and the letter of credit being received. Motion passed without opposition. 

8. Approval to serve water and sewer to the RAF Development

Mr. Baxter presented this item which was discussed at the called meeting held on November 24th, wherein Councilman Wall asked for this to be discussed during a regular scheduled meeting. Mr. Baxter stated that this development is part of the Morgan Tract and is in the City of Bloomingdale and that the city has been asked to consider providing water and sewer to the site where a company has plans to build on and create 500 jobs. Councilman Wall presented the same concerns from the called meeting regarding his objection to this matter, reminding Council that in 1996 a decision was made by the City Council to run a water line from the water tower by City Hall, down Highway 80, to the Pooler Parkway and under I-95 to provide for future development to Pooler at a cost of $1.2 million. This has enabled industry to locate in this area as well as residential subdivisions. Further, that the city originally thought that International Paper would pay for this water line, which did not happen and the City of Pooler invested the money to provide water to future development, not to property in Bloomingdale and that the Council needs to protect the citizens of Pooler. Councilman Cowart stated that these services will be provided at no cost to the citizens and that the city will receive the revenue. Councilman Wall asked that the city negotiate to get the building permit fees. Mr. Baxter stated that the developer will run their own lines and tie into the city’s which will loop the system at no cost to the citizens. Councilwoman Tyler brought up the fact that the Council has done great planning, with the city being able to provide these services. Rolland Keller, resident, presented his concern about water and sewer not being provided to Country Homes Subdivision and that he had to pay aid-to-construction fees when he built his business in the industrial park, asking if this development would have to pay such fees also. Mayor Carter responded that they would pay these fees along with the cost of running the lines and that no one in Country Homes has committed to pay for water and sewer to be run there. Mayor Carter then stated that he agrees with Councilman Wall’s comments, but pointed out the fact that this is part of good planning and will prove that Pooler can provide water and sewer to areas south of I-16 which are being considered for annexation. Councilman Wall stated that he has no problem with running water to the Morgan Tract in Pooler (as approved in Item #7). Mayor Carter replied that these items are contingent upon each other. Mr. Scheer stated that the City of Bloomingdale would have to enter into an agreement with the City of Pooler to provide these services. After further discussion, Councilman Cowart made a motion to approve, in concept, to serve water and sewer to the RAF Development. Motion was seconded by Councilman Brewton and passed with Councilman Wall opposing. 

9. Request from Dr. Jose Hernandez of 964 Pine Barren Road to tie into Chatham County sewer system

Mr. Baxter presented this request from Dr. Hernandez who has built a new home at 964 Pine Barren Road (directly across from the entrance to Hunter’s Ridge Subdivision) to tie into Chatham County’s sewer system. Dr. Hernandez was present to answer any questions, stating that due to the soil condition of his lot, a large, raised sand mound would be required for a septic tank system, which he would rather not have. Further, that he has contacted the County and has received approval from them. Mr. Scheer stated that there is a constitutional prohibition from providing sewer to property inside any city limits unless it is done by a contract. After discussion, Councilman Cowart made a motion to approve this request, contingent upon Chatham County entering into an agreement for sewer service for this property. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition. 

10. First Reading on proposed 2004 budget

A public hearing was held prior. Councilman Bryan presented the proposed 2004 budget stating that it included an increase in residential sanitation service from $12.00 per month to $13.00 per month and that the Council would be reviewing information regarding employee raises prior to Second Reading. Councilman Bryan then made a motion to approve the proposed 2004 budget on First Reading. Motion was seconded by Councilman Wall and passed without opposition. 

Councilman Wall made a motion to adjourn to Executive Session at approximately 7:40 p.m. to discuss personnel matters. Motion was seconded by Councilman Cowart and passed without opposition. 

Councilman Wall made a motion to appoint the newly elected officials, Bruce Allen, Rebecca Benton and Mike Lamb, and Zoning Administrator Jackie Carver, to the Pooler Housing Development Authority Board. Motion was seconded by Councilman Bryan and passed without opposition. 

Mayor Carter called the meeting back to order at 8:27 p.m. 

There being no further business to discuss, Councilman Wall made a motion to adjourn at approximately 8:28 p.m. Motion was seconded by Councilman Cowart and passed without opposition.

Public Hearing 

Two (2) public hearings were held prior to the regular City Council meeting on December 1, 2003. Mayor Buddy Carter called the first hearing to order at 5:30 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 the 5:30 p.m. public hearing was to discuss the proposed 2004 budget. Councilman Bryan presented the budget totaling $9,268,953, stating that this is a $1.7 million increase from last year. Mr. Baxter noted that the budget includes an increase in residential sanitation service from $12.00 per month to $13.00. Councilwoman Tyler requested that the city enter into a contract with the Pooler Crossroads Chamber of Commerce for hotel/motel taxes to fund the Flying Pig Festival and the coffee breaks, stating that these are worthwhile events to promote tourism. Councilman Bryan agreed with this request, but stated that he would still like to see only one (1) chamber in Pooler. Councilman Wall stated that he agrees with funding the festival, but that half of the funds should be designated by the city through the Pooler Area Chamber of Commerce’s contract with the other half of the funds to be raised by the Chamber. Councilwoman Tyler stated that she would like to see a separate contract with the Pooler Crossroads Chamber. Councilman Cowart brought up the fact that the chambers are incorporated and therefore can use a d/b/a to receive funds for a festival. Councilman Brewton stated that both chambers have requested funds and that the Council must decide which one to fund and encouraged the two to work together on this project. Mayor Carter stated that this matter would be resolved before the next meeting as well as consideration of hiring a consultant for annexation planning. 

There being no further discussion, the hearing was adjourned at approximately 5:49 p.m. 

The purpose of the 5:45 p.m. public hearing was to discuss: 

1) A requested conditional use to build a home sales and design center on Lot 39, Westside Business Park - Bruce Greenspan presented this request for a conditional use to allow him to build a home sales and design center for Crestline Homes on Lot 39, Westside Business Park, adjacent to the Enmark Station, stating that the plan being submitted only allows for two (2) buildings (homes) to be built on the front portion of this lot. 

2) A zoning map amendment for Lots 18 and 19, Westside Business Park, from C-2 to I-1 - John Kern of Kern-Coleman & Company presented this request, stating that after the Corps of Engineers’ verification process wetlands were found and as a result it was necessary to revise the master plan by adding lots where a detention basin originally was proposed. Therefore, the developer would like these lots rezoned for marketing purposes. Mayor Carter presented the comments from Planning & Zoning, stating that they have recommended approval with the condition that the following uses not be allowed: (5) truck terminals, (11) radio and/or television station transmission or reception towers, (15) truck service centers or (17) bars or nightclubs. Mr. Kern stated that the developer is agreement with this condition, stating that this will be a “business” park. 

There being no further discussion, the hearing was adjourned at approximately 6:00 p.m.

City of Pooler, GA | 100 US HW 80, Pooler, GA 31322
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