The work session and City Manager’s briefing was held at 12:04 p.m. Mayor Johnson recognized Alderman Purtee to offer a prayer.



Mayor Van R. Johnson, II, Presiding

Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter, At-Large, Post 1

Alderwoman Alicia Miller Blakely, At-Large, Post 2

Alderwoman Bernetta B. Lanier, District 1

Alderman Detric Leggett, District  2

Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan, District 3

Alderman Nick Palumbo, District 4, Vice-Chairman

Alderwoman Dr. Estella Edwards Shabazz, District 5, Mayor Pro-Tem

Alderman Kurtis Purtee, District 6


City Manager Joseph A. Melder

Chief of Staff Daphanie Williams

City Attorney Bates Lovett

Clerk of Council Mark Massey

Deputy Clerk of Council Margaret Fox

Workshop Agenda Items
1. Appointments to Boards, Commissions, and Authorities.

Mayor Johnson announced board appointments will be discussed during the Regular Meeting.  Clerk of Council Massey stated discussions were held during the November 10th Workshop and the nominations were distributed to Council Members.

Alderman Purtee added the name of Ms. Barboza for Cultural Affairs Commission, her application was submitted for consideration today.

Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan asked if Spencer White submitted his application for Cultural Affairs Commission.  Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan asked Mr. Massey to check for his application before the Regular Meeting.

Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked if the application of Tim Mackey was received for Coastal Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Citizens Advisory Committee.  Mr. Massey indicated no, but he would check for his application prior to the Regular Meeting.   


Mayor Johnson spoke regarding the 2022 Meeting Calendar with respect to the December 22, 2022, City Council Meeting being held alternatively on Tuesday, December 20, 2022, assuming the FY2023 Budget is approved during the Regular Meeting today (12/08/2022).


City Manager Melder provided an update with respect to the L.O.S.T. negotiations with Chatham County and the other municipalities.  A certificate must be delivered to the State of Georgia by December 30, 2022, for the Agreement to be legal and not to lapse.  Once the agreement with Chatham County is finalized, the next step will be to work with the eight municipalities in dividing the shares.

Mayor Johnson thanked City Manager Melder, Pooler City Manager Robbie Byrd, and Savannah City Attorney Bates Lovett who represented the eight municipalities, and Director of Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Joe Shearouse for all the hard work and efforts trying to finalize the L.O.S.T. negotiations. 

Alderwoman Miller Blakely indicated she had conversations with several of the County Commissioners who are in agreement with the City, she asked City Manager Melder who are the County Commissioners holding out.  Mr. Melder indicated County Commission Chairman Ellis is leading the negotiations.  

2. Impact Fees Presentation.
Exhibit 1: Impact Fee Presentation.pptx

PRESENTED by City Manager Melder and Planning & Urban Design Senior Director Bridget Lidy.

Following the presentation, Council Members asked questions and added comments:

  • City Manager Melder indicated during the next two weeks, staff will be sending recommendations to Council Members (2 options).
    • Adopt a meaningful impact fee ordinance at a high rate across all amenity types with only one exemption for affordable housing; or  
    • do not adopt an impact fee ordinance.  
  • Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked if the impact ordinance is not adopted, will property taxes increase in order to supply amenities to the new communities.  City Manager Melder answered he cannot comment on property tax increase, but additional revenues will be needed for community amenities.  Alderwoman Miller Blakely stated she agrees with an impact fee ordinance as it will alleviate residents from experiencing increased property taxes to pay for new community amenities in other areas of the City.
  • In relations to owner occupied housing, Alderwoman Lanier asked if there will be a different type consideration for that category.  Ms. Lidy indicated talks are still on-going to identify if that would be part of affordable housing.  Alderwoman Lanier asked, when looking at the AMI, can consideration be given to adjustment per zip code.  Ms. Lidy will look into zip code adjustments.  Alderwoman Lanier asked if any projections on impact fees for the affordable housing exemption.  City Manager Melder discussed how impact fees would affect affordable housing.
  • Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked City Manager Melder since the City has an affordable housing fund, why not use the fund to offset the impact fees.  Mr. Melder stated if you used the affordable housing fund for impact fees, no funds would be available for its purpose, affordable housing.
  • When elected, the current administration had concerns about revenue generation because of the growth.  Alderwoman Lanier commended City Manager Melder on doing a good job in bring impact fees to Council as another means of revenue generation.  She asked if the City Manager says any fund expended from the affordable housing fund must be with a developer with the LITC (no, the fund is used in several ways, namely favorable financing for low income tax credit projects, home improvements, and to build new homes).  
  • Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz asked Ms. Lidy, if approved, the impact fee ordinance will be in effect for twenty (20) years (yes).  The City Manager has stated, this is a blunt tool, it will hurt residents living on a budget.  Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz stated the residents of the 5th District do not want an impact fee ordinance.  She is against impact fees.


The PowerPoint presentation is available and on file in the Clerk of Council's office.

3. Parklet Ordinance.
Exhibit 1: Parklet Program Presentation.pptx

PRESENTED by City Manager Melder and Special Events, Film & Tourism Senior Director Susan Broker.

Following the presentation, Council Members asked questions and added comments:

  • Alderman Palumbo stated there are a few remaining parklets, how can the City support those businesses beyond the metered parking spaces with the new best practices.  Ms. Broker discussed how the City would work with businesses to design a parklet in other non-metered space throughout the City.
  • Alderman Leggett asked if the businesses downtown added input.  Ms. Broker indicated they were notified and she received positive responses; however, non-restaurant businesses need their parking spaces, so restaurant owners will need to work within their block to work out all the details of a parklet with other business owners.  Alderman Leggett has concerns with traffic (speeding) and welcomes the opportunity to work with Ms. Broker and her staff during parklet discussions/meetings.
  • Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked about the parklet being permanent and how it will affect the property when the businesses closed.  Ms. Broker explained it will be on a case by case basis, especially if it's not another restaurant.  Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked if a survey of the downtown businesses (60 businesses) was conducted (yes).  She indicated more businesses should be included in the survey.  She also indicated the fee should be increased.
  • Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan likes the concept and would like the parklets in the 3rd District.  She asked how will parklets work in other areas that are not open container districts.  Ms. Broker will give consideration on how parklets can be used in non open container districts.
  • Mayor Johnson asked City Manager Melder to give consideration to establishments outside of the to-go cup zone.
  • Alderwoman Lanier asked City Manager Melder, as it relates to Council's strategic priorities, why good government as opposed to economic development.  Mr. Melder discussed how projects can overlap.  Alderwoman Lanier discussed residents reluctance to visit downtown due to limited parking especially with the narrow sidewalks.  She asked Ms. Broker the income a parklet space would generate in the core of downtown ($2,000 to $4,000 annually), she also asked how many parking spaces will be sacrificed for parklets (approximately 8-10 spaces).
  • Alderwoman Gibson-Carter discussed furniture/structure sustaining hurricane forces; extending some considerations to Broughton Street vendors losing revenue during construction; requested examples in Georgia cities regarding parklets.  She also asked what constitutes a violation and the penalties (the ordinance states violations and penalties).  City Manager Melder indicated Broughton Street is excluded from the parklet program due to the sidewalks.  He also does not recommend any special provisions to businesses on Broughton Street, as they will benefit from the Streetscape.  He stated Broughton Street business owners have the option of submitting (damage) complaints through the City's petition process.
  • Alderwoman Gibson-Carter discussed efforts as it relates to alcohol usage, leading to sexual assault, rape, under age drinking and DUI's.  More prevention and education is needed.  City Manager Melder discussed increased capacity in the  ABC Unit which will increase safety with alcohol establishments.  Alderwoman Gibson-Carter expressed concern that the film and tourism department focused only on the downtown corridors for parklets and not neighborhoods like Habersham.  Ms. Broker will send Council the survey information, but some neighborhood associations do not want parklets in their community.
  • Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked City Manager Melder how many claims/petitions have been filed by downtown businesses (City Attorney Lovett will send Council a report on claims/petitions, 4-5).           


The PowerPoint presentation is available and on file in the Clerk of Council's office.

Mayor Johnson adjourned the Workshop at 1:40 p.m.


A video recording of the workshop can be found by copying and inserting the link below in your url:




Mark Massey, Clerk of Council


Date Minutes Approved:     December 20, 2022 


Signature:   MM 

Agenda Plus