The work session and City Manager’s briefing was held at 4:30 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. Alcohol Ordinance Revisions
Exhibit 1: Alcohol Ordinance Presentation.pptx

PRESENTED by City Manager Melder and Revenue Department Manager Judee Jones.

Following the presentation by Ms. Jones, questions and comments were made by members of the City Council:

  •  Mayor Johnson expressed concerns with the transitional license permits and would like to see this on the agenda by January 1, 2023.  Home delivery should be a duplication of State Law(Code).  Bar Cards usage will require proper training with the ability to recognize drunkenness and any individual involved in sex trafficking.
  • Alderman Leggett expressed concerns with having a nightlife program happening at the same time as the alcohol ordinance amendment.  The ABC Unit needs to be realigned for enforcement.  Alderman Leggett recommended the Council meet again following ideas and/or revisions being sent to the City Manager.
  • Mayor Johnson requested Council Members get feedback to City Manager Melder in a timely manner for the January 1, 2023, timeframe.
  • Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked for the number of black-owned businesses.  Ms. Jones indicated race is not tracked per application.  With the BYOB, can a resident bring alcohol to an event venue without an alcohol license (a special event permit will be required, $50.00 per event with a max of six times per year).  She asked Ms. Jones for the cost of an alcohol license.  The cost ranges from $600 to $5,600 based on classification.  $200 will be added for Sunday sales.  The waiting period is twelve months if license is denied.  City Manager Melder explained the waiting period if a license is denied.  Alderwoman Miller Blakely recommends a more detailed discussion by Council on the alcohol license ordinance amendment.   
  • Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan recommended adding security cameras at each location an alcohol license permit is issued as a requirement.  This would help with loitering, robberies, and homicides.  She asked the number of officers assigned to the ABC Unit (4).  The ABC Unit needs additional help to manage 594 establishments.  Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan expressed concern for only one show-cause hearing during this administration, and only because someone died.  More discussion is needed.
  • Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz expressed concern for the BYOB in the alcohol overlay district.  Ms. Jones explained no alcohol in the alcohol overlay which includes temporary alcohol permits.
  • Alderman Purtee asked, if approved, how will the information be disbursed to the 594 existing businesses.  Ms. Jones answered, emails, letters and notifications will be issued.  The government channel will be utilized, and there will be alcohol sessions for business owners.  Alderman Purtee recommended partnering with City departments to deliver the information and have face-to-face contacts with owners.
  • Alderwoman Lanier expressed concern for an equity piece when reevaluating ordinances.  With the changing of the landscape, growth and development, when making ordinance changes, there are low wealth areas underserved.  Alderwoman Lanier discussed the hurdles and changes made during this administration as it relates to alcohol and alcohol overlay districts.  She advised Council they are saying one thing and doing another when laying down the policies.
  • Mayor Johnson's expectation is the Council not delay for another year and complete the ordinance amendment by the end of 2022.

Mayor and Council thanked Ms. Jones for her presentation.            

2. Growth Management Plan (Vision 2033)
Exhibit 1: Growth Management Plan - Vision 2033 Presentation.pptx

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

Following the presentation by Ms. Lidy, below are questions and comments made by City Council Members:

  • Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked if Vision 2023 was presented 2-1/2 to 3 years ago (no).  Where did this vision come from?  This is a Vision from the City having discussions with Chatham County for growth.
  • Alderman Leggett discussed Chatham Area Transit (CAT) and transportation moving to the west side of the City.  As a member of CAT Board, he is hoping CAT will start conversations with adjoining cities like Pooler.
  • Alderman Palumbo asked if this will include policy and zoning alignment with neighboring municipalities in the County.  Ms. Lidy stated planning is a category included in the Plan for dialogue and  an implementation plan.
  • Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz asked how much money is sitting aside and what are the future amounts of a budget item.  City Manager Melder answered, Council need not allocate any funds for this project, funds were allocated/approved over the past two budget cycles.  Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz recommended the Springfield and Vernonburg Basin projects be part of the discussions for stormwater relief in flooding neighborhoods.  Also, there is an area in District 5 with dirt roads, that need paving; she would like the dirt road to be a part of the Vision 2033.  Bring justice to all areas of Savannah.
  • Alderwoman Lanier asked Ms. Lidy if the City, County and private sectors will create the Plan (yes, a board of directors and committees will be formed to execute the Plan).  She also asked if there is a timeline.  Ms. Lidy and City Manager Melder stated the timeline will depend on lining up all the logistics of the Plan; with an agreement with the City, County, businesses and SEDA.  Mr. Melder added information on plans for dealing with infrastructure, housing, climate change, and rising sea levels.  Alderwoman Lanier asked if SEDA would be the business partner.  City Manager Melder indicate SEDA will be a partner and fiduciary for this NGO.  The City will be manager of it's own growth and development along with professional planners.
  • Mayor Johnson explained in the past the City had it's own planners, the County had it's own planners, and now this is an opportunity for the City and County to use the same planners for growth.  The funds were allocated some years ago for this plan.
  • Alderwoman Lanier inquired about MPC's role.  Mayor Johnson indicated, MPC will become a partner and will be engaged in the planning.
  • Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked City Manager Melder the funding source:  $1 million from the City; $1 million from the County; and $1 million from the business entities (correct).  In the past, some areas were excluded, what confirmations does the City have that those areas will not be overlooked?  The last plan overlooked West Savannah and some parts of the Southside; that plan was concentrated in the downtown area.  Mayor Johnson indicated the last plan was not funded by the City, it was an  SDRA plan that specifically targeted downtown.  To ensure the entire City is included, the City has contributed $1 million.     
3. Parklet Ordinance
Exhibit 1: Parklet Program Presentation.pptx

This agenda item was not HEARD.

City Manager Melder indicated since the alcohol ordinance needs to be revisited, he will schedule a workshop in the weeks ahead and send Council the Parklet Ordinance slide presentation with a memo.

City Manager Melder announced an all day Budget Retreat will be held on Monday, November 14, 2022.

Mayor Johnson announced the State of the City will take place on Wednesday, November 2, 2022, 6:30 pm at the Cultural Arts Center.

Mayor Johnson adjourned the Workshop at 5:55 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:     November 10, 2022 


Signature:   MM 

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