April 25, 2019 City Council Workshop

Savannah City Government



April 11, 2019 – 9:00 a.m.

The workshop of Council was held at 9:00 a.m. in the second floor media room of City Hall.

PRESENT: Mayor Eddie DeLoach, Presiding

Aldermen: Carol Bell, Julian Miller, Brian Foster, Bill Durrence, John Hall, Van Johnson, II, Tony Thomas, Estella Shabazz

Rob Hernandez, City Manager

Jen Herman, Interim City Attorney

Bret Bell, Assistant to the City Manager

William Shearouse, Assistant City Attorney

Workshop Agenda Items
1. Sewer Use and Pretreatment Ordinance Review
Exhibit 1: Presentation - Overview of Pretreatment Ordinance Revisions.pdf

Heath Lloyd, Chief Infrastructure and Development Officer, presented an overview of the sewer use and pretreatment revisions.

Mr. Lloyd provided Council with background of the City’s four Water Reclamation Facility’s which are permitted by the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources every five years.

He informed Council in July 20, 2018, the City of Savannah’s Pre Treatment program was issued a Notice of Violation by EPD for not re-evaluating local industrial limits and updating the City of Savannah’s Sewer Use Ordinance. Pre Treatment staff notified EPD that the City of Savannah was unable to update its local limits due to no permits issued to facilities in the Savannah River Basin.

Revision of the adopted local limits is based on technical analysis to ensure that the local limits continue to prevent:

  • Interference with the operation of the Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW);
  • Pass-through of pollutants in violation of the permit;
  • Municipal sludge contamination; and
  • Toxicity to life in the receiving stream

The limits are developed based on:

  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Permit Limits
  • The plant design, flow, and treatment structures
  • Biosolids disposal practices
  • State and Federal Water Quality Standards

The City of Savannah has now received permits for three of the four treatment facilities. The Pretreatment Division has not updated its calculations and would like to update the Sewer Use Ordinance to reflect these changes and comply with EPD requirements. Mr. Lloyd informed Council this matter will be brought forward for approval at the next Council meeting.

2. Railroad Crossing Update
Exhibit 1: Presentation - Railroad Crossing Update.pdf

Bret Bell, Assistant to the City Manager, presented the Railroad Crossing Update on behalf of Joe Shearouse.

During the presentation Mr. Bell discussed short-term actions which included mitigating the impact by:

  • Reducing the train crossings during ‘rush hour’ timeframes
  • Collecting and recording data on the impact of train crossings
  • Communicating and promoting working relationships with Golden Isles Terminal Wharf (GITW)

Data collection was briefly reviewed. Followed by a discussion of long-term solutions which included:

  • Exploring more efficient switching and delivery options (meeting scheduled for
    May 2019 with CSX)
  • Constructing an overpass for vehicular traffic (included on 2012 TSPLOST ballot - $130 million)

Mr. Bell discussed train hours and quiet zone. Next steps include:

  • Continued work with regional partners which include:
    • East Savannah Industry partners
    • Railroad representatives (CSX and Golden Isles Railroad)
    • Neighborhood leaders
    • Chatham County
    • Congressman Buddy Carter’s Office
    • State of Georgia’s Department of Transportation
    • Federal Railroad Administration
3. Affordable Housing Strategies
Exhibit 1: Presentation - Affordable Housing Strategies.pdf

Taffayne Young, Chief Community Services Officer, introduced topics of discussion that would be presented by Martin Fretty.

Martin Fretty, Housing Director, discussed the differences between affordable and workforce housing. He discussed reasons why residents often experience housing affordability challenges and provided Council with a summary of housing challenges.

Mr. Fretty also discussed housing affordability solutions and code compliance strategies.

Bridget Lidy, Planning & Urban Design Director, discussed NewZO and how the development standards were revised to reduce housing development costs in traditional neighborhoods through more efficient land use. In addition she discussed inclusionary zoning.

Following the discussion Mr. Fretty discussed a new proposal to acquire, renovate and redevelop 1,000 in 10 years.

4. Personal Care Homes
Exhibit 1: Presentation - Personal Care Homes.pdf

Bridget Lidy, Planning & Urban Design Director, discussed the existing ordinance related to personal care homes and the permitted zoning districts.

NewZO will define personal care homes as follows:

  • Any residence/group of buildings—for profit or not—that provides the provision of housing, food service, custodial care and activities for 2+ ambulatory adults who do not require nursing care and who are not related to the owner or administrator

In addition a personal care home:

  • Must comply with GA Administrative Code
  • Enable residents to live independently in a watchful and family-like environment
    • Awareness of whereabouts
    • Ability and readiness to intervene if a crisis arises
    • Supervision with nutrition, medication and transient medical care
  • Each resident provided—at minimum—the amount of square footage required for sleeping, bathroom, bathing and dining facilities as identified in GA Administrative Code

Ms. Lidy discussed what a personal care home does not include.

In NewZO: types of personal care homes are as follows:

  • Registered – An operator-occupied personal care home in which the number of residents does exceed the number permitted by the “household” definition
  • Family – A personal care home in which the number of residents does not exceed 6 persons
  • Group – A personal care home in which the number of residents is at least 7 but not more than 15 persons
  • Congregate – A personal care home in which the number of residents exceeds 15 person but not more than 24 persons

Lastly,  NewZO use standards were discussed.

5. Alcohol Ordinance Revisions
Exhibit 1: Presentation - Alcohol Beverage Ordinance.pdf

Bridget Lidy, Planning & Urban Design Director, provided Council with an overview of the following topics that have proposed revisions:

  • Alcoholic Beverages Ordinance
  • New Zoning Ordinance (NewZO)
  • Alcohol Density Overlay District Ordinance
  • New ordinance to regulate Coin Operated Amusement Machines

Proposed changes to the Alcohol Density Overlay Ordinance approved by Council in January 2018, were discussed.

Ashley Simpson, Revenue Director, discussed proposed changes to the Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance.

New Ordinance Options are as follows:

  • Require license with the City for any business with machines;
  •  nontransferable
  • Require Annual Business Tax Certificate
  • Limit Class B machines to 6 per location
  • Allow City to inspect gross receipts for machines
  • Post signage at establishment
  • Outline operating regulations:
    • Keep devices in plain view
    • Inspect machines
    • Require attendant (18 yrs old)
    • Prohibit loitering
  • Suspend and revokes Alcoholic Beverage License for violations
  • Allow for due process for suspected violators
  • Provide fines for suspected violators— both businesses and those receiving funds

Ms. Lidy discussed the proposed next steps.

6. Review of NewZo - Articles 1-4
Exhibit 1: Presentation - NewZO Articles 1-4.pdf

Bridget Lidy, Planning & Urban Design Director, and Marcus Lotson, Development Services Director - Metropolitan Planning Commission, provided Council with an update on NewZO. There will be a full review of the zoning ordinance and zoning map during Council workshops from April 25 – June 6.

The purpose of the ordinance was discussed followed by Articles 1-4.

  • Article 1.0: General Provisions
  • Article 2: Review Bodies and Administrators
  • Article 3: Application & Review Procedures
  • Article 4: Measurements & Exceptions

enCodePlus a Cloud-based code publishing and content management system was discussed.

The plan is to:

  • Migrate the City’s current (for an electronic archive) and new zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, and code of ordinances, into online content management, codification, and code publishing system; and
  • Enable staff the in-house flexibility of drafting, editing, updating, amending, archiving, and publishing the City’s code, ordinances and resolutions, or any other guidelines, manuals, or plans to the web, plus access to a number value-added tools.

The system will:

  • Provide user-friendliness and access, reduces staff time, and state-of-the art technology reflects positively on the City’s progressiveness, transparency, and emphasis on customer support;
  • Integrate with Geographical Information System (GIS); and
  • Implement by September 1, 2019
7. Litigation, Real Estate, Personnel

Upon motion of Alderman Durrence, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried, Council went into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing Litigation, Real Estate and Personnel.

Upon completion of this session, a motion was made to come out of Executive Session by Alderman Durrence, seconded by Alderman Foster, and unanimously carried.

The Executive Session began at 12:11 p.m. and ended at 1:45 p.m.

City Manager Hernandez presented the City Manager’s Briefing of the agenda items for the Council Meeting of April 11, 2019. The agenda can be found online and will be made a part of the permanent record.

There being no further business, Mayor DeLoach adjourned the workshop at 1:56 p.m.

The video recording of the Work Session can be found by copying and pasting the below link in your url:


Mark Massey, Clerk of Council

Date Minutes Adopted: May 9, 2019


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