RUNDOWN: Statesboro City Council – 07/19/22

Call to Order by Mayor Jonathan McCollar
(Councilwoman Shari Barr & City Attorney Cain Smith attended virtually)
Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance by Councilmember Phil Boyum
Recognitions/Public Presentations

  1. Presentation of an award to retiring Battalion Chief William Neal Lee for his 36 years of service to the City of Statesboro.
  2. Presentation of a Certificate of Recognition to Councilmember Paulette Chavers received from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and the Georgia Municipal Association. (deferred because council member was not present)
Public Comments (Agenda Item): None
Consideration of a Motion to approve the Consent Agenda – approved unanimously
Consideration of a motion to approve a contract with SAFEbuilt in the not to exceed amount of $100,000 for building inspection, plan review, and permitting services.

City Manager Charles Penny said the city has advertised the position as a full-time job on numerous occasions with no luck or applicants, so the Planning Director suggested doing so through a contracted position, as she did when she was with the City of Johns Creek.

The contract will be paid for from the “Personnel” line-item within the Department’s budget. This is a “not to exceed” amount based on hourly employee rates as submitted by the consultant and the estimated work load for inspections and plan review services. The city reported that the cost for two building inspectors, including benefits, is $161,460. Additionally, it is anticipated that the department would save an annual amount of $20,000 for permitting software (to be provided free by consultant).

During council discussion, Councilman John Riggs expressed that he did not see how this would be a good thing for the citizens of Statesboro. He brought up that the city previously had two code enforcement employees – one of whom was lost to the county for higher pay and another who was promoted. Riggs said he was relieved that the contract was not a permanent plan, but that in terms of farming out contracts, ‘this is just not one I agree on.’

Riggs asked if Penny could assure him the city would continue to work to restore its own building department over the next year before the contract was renewed for another year.

“I would say this: we would love to hire a building inspector and I will say this: we did have someone that applied since we’ve been dealing with this and in order to be able to hire that person, we’d have to pay them more than this contract. So again, this is a temporary, and when I say temporary – a twelve-month process. Before the end of this contract, we will see if we can recruit a building inspector. We do have a 90-day out with this contract…” Penny said.

Following discussion, a motion to approve the contract was made by Councilwoman Venus Mack and seconded by Phil Boyum. It passed in a 3-1 vote with Riggs opposing.

Public Hearing and Consideration of a Motion to Approve: APPLICATION RZ 22-06-01:

Edward W Curl Jr., requests a Zoning Map Amendment from the R4/HOC (HighDensity Residential/Highway-Oriented Commercial) zoning districts to the HOC
(Highway-Oriented Commercial) zoning district in order to establish a vehicle repair
shop on 3.2 acres of property located at 30 Rucker Lane.
Planning Commission recommended approval.

The applicant was present but no one was present to oppose the application. Following a public hearing, them measure passed unanimously.

Public Hearing and Consideration of a Motion to Approve: APPLICATION RZ 22-06 -02:

L&S Acquisitions LLC requests a Zoning Map Amendment from the R10/R8
(Single-Family Residential) to the PUD (Planned Unit Development) zoning district, in
order to develop a single-family detached subdivision on 34.48 acres at 1263 S&S
Railroad Bed Road.
Planning Commission recommended approval.

Hussey Gay Bell represented the property owner in the meeting and spoke to express that they agreed to all of the conditions with the exception of condition #4 requiring a second public access (which the city cites is a fire issue.) HGB representative said he spoke with the fire prevention chief and he was OK with paved private access and that the ordinance does not otherwise require a second access point for 144-lot subdivisions. He also stated that the condition would impact a county road before asking council to reconsider the condition recommended by Staff & Planning.

No one was present to speak against the application.

During council discussion, the Planning Director said the condition in question was discussed during the planning commission meeting.

“We felt that because of the density of this development – 144 units – that it really needed a second means of egress and regardless of the fire code, we felt that because it’s a PUD [Planned Urban Development], we are allowed to put conditions on this. And we felt that this second driveway would be important for the residents if they’re all leaving at the same time in the morning, to have only one means of egress, it would be very difficult for them. SO, because of that, we agreed at the Planning Commission, and I would hope you would agree as well, that we should have a 60-foot right of way means of egress.”

Councilman Boyum said he had serious questions about how Planned Urban Development is being used in the city. He asked about the size of the lots, to which Director Kathy Field replied, “4,000.”

Boyum then said:

“A PUD is supposed to be a creative method to take a property that has some unusual characteristic and put some combination of things like, maybe higher density residential single family homes, commercial, as well as some amenities. A Planned Urban Development, in this case, looks to me that we’re just trying to cram as many tiny little houses on as many tiny little lots as we can. There’s no creativity, there’s no mixed use development, there’s no sidewalks, there’s terrible egress, and it’s just not the kind of thing that a PUD is supposed to be used for. A PUD is not supposed to be used for to get around design standards. So, I’m concerned why this has even got out of Planning & Zoning cause this is not anything like what a PUD is supposed to look like.”

For the full explanation of this agenda item: Proposed Subdivision Sparks Debate Over Urban Development, Misuse of Zoning Code Provisions

Public Hearing and Consideration of a Motion to Approve: APPLICATION CBD 22-06-03:

First Baptist Church request plan approval for a portion of the campus located at 108 North Main Street.
Planning Commission recommended approval 3-0.

Approved unanimously by council.

Public Hearing and Consideration of a Motion to Approve Ordinance 2022-03:

An Ordinance amending Appendix A of the Statesboro Code of Ordinances to include
definitions and standards relating to townhome development.

Staff recommended Mayor & Council waiving formalities under Section 2-2-4 and approve Ordinance subsequent to noticed public hearing. Planning Commission recommended approval 3-0.

Councilman Boyum expressed that he was not in favor of waiving the second reading of the ordinance and would be voting against it. McCollar said it had to be unanimous if it would be done, so the waiver could not be done and a second reading would be heard at the next regular meeting.

Public Hearing & Consideration of a Motion to approve application for an alcohol license in accordance with The City of Statesboro alcohol ordinance Sec. 6-13 (a):
  • A. Bubba D’s DBA Butts N Brews
    454 S Main St
    Statesboro, Ga 30458
    License Type: Restaurant
    All departments recommended approval.
  • B. Wings Over Statesboro, Inc. DBA Wild Wing Cafe
    52 Aspen Heights Dr
    Statesboro, Ga 30458
    License Type: Restaurant
    All departments recommended approval.

Both applications were approved unanimously with no opposition from the public.

Public Hearing & Consideration of a Motion to approve application for an alcohol license in accordance with The City of Statesboro alcohol ordinance Sec. 6-13 (a):
  • A. Family Dollar Stores of Georgia LLC, DBA Family Dollar #30436
    20 Veterans Plaza
    Statesboro, Ga 30458
    License Type: Package Sales – Beer and Wine only
    All departments recommended approval.

The application was approved unanimously with no opposition from the public.

Consideration of a motion to approve the Retail Development and Small Business Recruitment/Retention Proposal from Georgia Southern University.

The City has received a proposal from the Business Innovation Group to provide retail development and small business recruitment services for the Statesboro. Prior to the pandemic, the City Manager said he had proposed the creation of a small business recruiter for the City, since no one is currently assigned the responsibility for recruiting and retaining small businesses in our community. COVID 19 resulted in the idea being put on the shelf.

The Business Innovation Group approached the city with the idea of providing the service, which they had seen done in a midwestern state. The Business Innovation Group would hire the employee responsible for small business development and retention in the City at the cost of the program would be $125,000.00 a year. The employee would be hired by October 2022 and the cost for the first year of the program would be $93,750.00 which includes fringe benefits. The agreement would be for 3 years; however, the agreement can be terminated with a 60 day notice. $343,750.00 is the total cost.

There was no discussion by council and the measure passed unanimously.

Motion to award a contract for branding and marketing services for the City of Statesboro to North Star in an amount not to exceed $79,000.00 plus expenses, which are not to exceed $5,000.00.

Full details on this agenda item.
A motion was made by Councilmember Venus Mack to approve the item. Councilmembers Bar and Boyum expressed concern about this issue and suggested holding off until they’re sue about the tax increase forthcoming when they adopt the millage rate. Councilman Riggs agreed.

Mack’s motion died for a lack of a second. A motion to table the matter was made by Mack, seconded by Boyum, and approved unanimously.

Statesboro City Council to Consider $84K Branding Contract 

Consideration of a motion to approve the purchase of one (1) complete set (Cutters, Spreaders and Ram) of TNT Battery Extraction tool in the amount of $29,390.00 from Victory Steel, LLC.

The Fire Department recently purchased three sets of TNT hydraulic extrication tools. This purchase standardized the Fire Department’s hydraulic extraction tools which helps ensure interoperability and efficiency regardless of the apparatus on scene. However, while these hydraulic extrication tools will be used primarily, the Fire Department is requesting the approval to purchase a set of battery operated extrication tools. While battery operated extrication tools have some limitations when compared to hydraulic tools, they do have advantages that the Department feels would justify this purchase. Examples of situations where battery operated tools would prove beneficial include:

  1. Greater mobility and quicker deployment on incidents requiring rapid extrication.
  2. Vehicles located in an area that is difficult to deploy hydraulic extrication tools.
  3. Rapid deployment to gain access into secured/harden buildings involved in fire.

The cost of $29,390.00 includes a credit of $5,000 which is the amount received for “trading in” the Departments old extraction equipment which is no longer utilized. This purchase will utilize budgeted funds from the 2013 SPLOST.

This was approved unanimously.

Consideration of a motion to approve Change Order 3 with McLendon Enterprises, Inc. in the amount of $7,153.58 for the Blue Mile Streetscape Improvements Project.

The change order addresses a drainage issue identified in part due to a property owner not agreeing to a construction easement and allowing the city’s contractor to address these conditions. The stormwater upgrades are to eliminate stormwater ponding along the right-of-way. The cost of the proposed work is within the budget for this project. The project is funded from 2018 TSPLOST.

This was approved unanimously.

Other Business from City Council & City Managers Comments
Public Comments (General)
  1. Annie Bellinger – City vehicles and city employees.
Consideration of a Motion to enter into Executive Session to discuss “Personnel Matters,” “Real Estate,” and/or “Potential Litigation” in accordance with O.C.G.A 50-14-3(b)

The meeting adjourned regular session at 7:02 p.m. to enter into executive session.

Consideration of a Motion to Adjourn

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and co-creator of of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast 'Prison Town.'

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