May 9, 2019 City Council Workshop

Savannah City Government



May 9, 2019 – 9:00 a.m.


The workshop of Council was held at 9:00 a.m. in the 2nd Floor Media Room of City Hall. 

PRESENT: Mayor Eddie W. DeLoach, Presiding

Aldermen Julian Miller, Brian Foster, Bill Durrence, Van Johnson, II, Tony Thomas, John Hall and Alderwoman Estella E. Shabazz

Rob Hernandez, City Manager

Bret Bell, Assistant to the City Manager

Bates Lovett, City Attorney

Jennifer Herman, Interim City Attorney

William Shearouse, Assistant City Attorney

Mark Massey, Clerk of Council

ABSENT:  Alderwoman Carol Bell

Workshop Agenda Items
1. Drayton and Whitaker Street Traffic Calming
Exhibit 1: Drayton-Whitaker Workshop Presentation.pdf

Heath Lloyd, Chief Infrastructure and Development Officer, began the presentation by introducing Mr. Steven Henry, Acting Mobility Director, to go over the Drayton and Whitaker Streets projects.

Mr. Henry discussed in detail the projects completed, those in process and future projects for Drayton and Whitaker Streets and the changes that will effect a more positive traffic and pedestrian flow.

What has been done:

  • Rapid flashing pedestrian beacons
  • Added edge lines to visually narrow the road

What is being done:

  • Lower speed limits
  • Radar signs (visual signs for driver feedback)
  • Traffic signal installation ( Drayton @ Hall Street)
  • Whitaker Street sidewalk widening

What can be done:

  • Physically narrow Whitaker & Drayton Streets by widening sidewalks
  • Address vehicle lane changing/weaving at park crosswalks

Following the presentation, there was discussion and questions concerning the projects and Mr.. Henry provided responses.  Alderman Thomas requested that the 'zero tolerance' speed limit be examined, including all areas of the City and not just the historic district.



2. Property Exchange with Row Pine Development, LLC
Exhibit 1: Presentation - Row Pine LLC. Property Exchange.pdf

The City Manager gave an overview of the project which is on the agenda later today for considerationl and he introduced David Keating, Director of Real Estate Services, to give a presentation regarding the property exchange to acquire park lands in the Highlands area.

The City Manager outlined why the City would like to develop the area, why he is considering the land exchange:

  • The Highlands area has experienced increased growth (increased population/residential units)
  • The City currently does not have any recreational facilities in that area
  • The City has 3 separate parcels of land donated over time from developers for recreational purposes
    • Each site is only 5 acres
  • The project includes 33 acres - located off Highlands Blvd. and could include the following:
    • Recreational facilities (ball fields, soccer fields)
    • Town/Community Center (indoor gym, meeting space)
    • Police sub-station

Prior to David Keating's presentation, Mayor DeLoach recogonized Mr. Keating and Gary Wiggin, Developer at Row Pine Development, LLC, for their dedication over the past 2 years on bringing the project to the table for completion.

Mr. Keating emphazed the growth in the northwest sector of the City and explained the need for recreational facilities and how the exchange would be completed if approved by Council.

He then described the 2 properties involved in the exchange:

  •  0.68 acres at East Broughton Street
    • Acquired for parking garage, site no longer needed
  • 12 acres along Feeley Avenue 
    • Vacant industrial lands - acquired for flood plain mitigation, no longer needed

Mr. Keating then explained the deal points:

  • Land exchange contract - provided both parties 90 days due diligence
  • Appraisals will be updated based on due diligence findings
  • The City will only exchange if the appraised value received is greater than the appraised value of property to be exchanged

Mr. Gary Wiggin discussed his interaction with the Highlands residents to have recreational facilities in the area.

There was concern with the Curtis Cooper Center in relation to their employees using the spaces on one of the properties for parking.  The City Manager answered that the agreement with Curtis Cooper was contingent on the City building a parking garage, which was never constructed.  The transfer will be handled by the City Attorney's office.

This item will be heard for approval at the 2:00pm regular meeting agenda.  

3. Broughton Streetscapes Update
Exhibit 1: Presentation - Broughton Streetscape Project.pdf

The City Manager introduced Bridget Lidy, Planning and Urban Design, for an update on the Broughton Street Downtown Streetscxape project.

Ms. Lidy gave a general overview of the initial project and the recent updates.  Ms. Lidy then introduced Cristy Lawrence, Office of Capital Projects Management, for an update on the bid process.

Ms. Lawrence announced there was only 1 response to the bid.  She indicated there was a shortfall of $8.2 milllion and the bid has been extended through June 30, 2019.

The City Manager recommended completion of the total project and look at some ways to fund the gap.

After the presentation, the Council discussed how to move forward on project costs, i.e. general obligation bonds, referendum, SPLOST VII, etc.  Alderman Foster recommended that the City go back to the bidder and ask how much they can get done with the $10.7 million.   

4. Capital Projects Q1 Update
Exhibit 1: Presentation - Q1 Capital Projects.pdf

Ms. Cristy Lawrence, Capital Projects Management, and Heath Lloyd, Chief Infrastructure and Development Services presented the Capital Improvement Program Review, Q1 2019, discussion the below items:

Ms. Lawrence introduced Ms. Carol Mann, Project Manager of The Parc.  She gave a brief description of the project, including but not limited to the following: 

  • Overview of the Q1 2019 program and progress (334 projects)
  • Project management
  • Projects, scope and locations
  • Project team
  • Highlights of a project
    • Pennsylvania Avenue Resource Center (The Parc)
    • Design and construction
    • Summary timeline and costs
    • Grand Opening

Following the presentation, Council had discussion and thanked the presenters for the information and their work on each project.

5. Arena Update
Exhibit 1: 1st Quarter 2019 Arena Update.pdf

The City Manager updated the Council on the team's trip to Atlanta for meetings related to the design, funding and timeline of the new Arena.

Brett Bell, Assistant to the City Manager, made the first quarter presentation, including updates.  He was joined by Finance Director, David Maxwell and Nick Deffley, Sustainability Office.  Additional input was given by David Keating, Heath Lloyd and Bridget Lidy who provided an update on the Canal District.

Mr. Bell updated the Council on the following:

  • Project team and timeline
  • Project scope
  • Arena levels
  • Multi-purpose attributes
  • The Arena as viewed from different view points
  • Project schedule (and schedule within the schedule)
  • Decision making
  • Arena funding strategy
    • SPLOST
    • Issue general obligation bonds ($45 million)
    • Auto rental tax - could support debt service
  • Arena sustainability master planning (Nick Deffley)
    • Alderman Johnson wants staff on site as soon as possible
  • Civic Center status
    • Civic Center site must be torn down to accommadate the new arena
    • Could sell to developer, developer then demolishes Civic Center
  • Gwinnett Street widening project update (David Keating)
  • Canal district overview (Bridget Lidy)
    • Mayor DeLoach - concern with timeline and purchasing property

The City Manager concluded the presentation by informing the Council, there will be additional funding decisions by Council in the next 12-24 months associated with the Arena project, i.e. parking facility, sustainable funding, public safety building, etc.


6. NewZo Review - Articles 5-8
Exhibit 1: Presentation - NewZo Articles 5-8.pdf

Mayor DeLoach recognized the following new additions to staff:

  • Ms. Stephenie Price, Assistant Police Chief
  • Mr. Bates Lovett, City Attorney
  • Ms. Margaret Fox, Deputy Clerk of Council
  • Mr. Nick Zoller, Office of Public Communications Director
  • Mr. Patrick Monahan, City Manager Consultant 

NewZo updates were presented by Bridget Lidy along with Marcus Lotson from MPC.  Items presented:

  • Review full zoning ordinance & ordinance map (Chapters 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9)
  • Article 5 - Base zoning districts
  • Article 6 - Special purpose districts
  • Article 7 - Historic & Other overlay districts
  • Article 8 - Use standards

The above Articles were discussed in detail.  Following the presentation, there was discussion between staff and Council as it relates to the Articles presented. 

7. Personnel, Litigation, and Real Estate

Alderman Miller moved to recess the workshop to conduct a closed executive session to discuss personnel, litigation, and real estate, Alderman Durrence seconded.  The motion carried unanimously.

Alderman Miller moved to close executive session, Alderman Foster seconded.  The motion carried unanimously.

The executive session began at 12:36 p.m. and ended at 1:03 p.m.  

8. Agenda Review

The City Manager identified requested changes to the agenda and Council requested explanations regarding agenda items of interest.

  1. Continue items 9 and 10 to May 23, 2019 Meeting
  2. Amend items 11 and 12 for FIRST READING ONLY
  3. Withdraw items 13 and 19 (requires further staff review)

There being no further business, Mayor DeLoach adjourned the workshop at 1:03 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:  June 6, 2019 

Initials:  mm/mf


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