The following summary minutes are not official until adoption by Simpsonville City Council. Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, notice of this meeting date, time, place, and agenda items was posted on the bulletin at Simpsonville City Hall and faxed to the newspapers, radio stations and any concerned citizens upon request.
SIMPSONVILLE CITY COUNCIL
SPECIAL VOTING MEETING
April 26, 2005
City Council Chambers – 118 N. E. Main St.
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor: I call the April Workshop meeting of Simpsonville City Council to order. Ms. Bodkins would you call the roll please.
Ms. Bodkins: Yes sir.
Councilmember Bridges – here
Councilmember Curry – here
Councilmember Lawrence – here
Councilmember Gecy – present
Councilmember Pelar – present
Councilmember Thomas – here
Mayor Waldrop – present
ALSO PRESENT: Russell Hawes, City Administrator
David Holmes, City Attorney
Pamela Bodkins, City Clerk
INVOCATION Councilmember Thomas
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
REVIEW OF MONTHLY REPORTS
Mayor: All right, council members you have in your packet the individual department reports. I’m sure you’ve all reviewed those. Does anyone have any comments or questions or anything regarding those.
Ms. Thomas: Good job as usual.
Mayor: Okay, thank you Ms. Thomas. All right, yeah, thank you departments for preparing these. We really do look at these and it’s very informative. So, I learn something just about every time I read one of these so thank you very much.
EMPLOYEES OF THE QUARTER
Mayor: Next item on the Agenda, and I assume Mr. Hawes is going to lead this effort. We have some employees of the quarter to recognize.
Mr. Hawes: That is correct Mayor. The City has a policy whereby outstanding employees of each department are recognized by the Department Head for their diligence, effort and strong work over-all in achieving the goals that the City and City Council and the administration of that department. I have the winners or I guess the people to be recognized. They are winners absolutely because they are such highly regarded individuals within those departments. From Recreation we have Chad Foster, from the Fire Department James Owens, and I would ask please if they are out there to please rise. From Public Works Chuck Sherbert
Mayor: Just remain standing if you will.
Mr. Hawes: Yes. From Police Aaron Edwards and from the Administration Department Jane Stout.
Mayor: Okay, well we have a couple here tonight. Well congratulations. We’re always happy to see folks who seem to enjoy what they’re doing and doing a great job. Thank you very much for your service to the City. Would either of you like to make a speech.
Mr. Hawes: Well I’d like to reiterate that we really appreciate it and we look forward to a continuing great effort from these folks as we look at possibly one of them winning the employee of the year which will be upcoming. Also, I would like to recognize Fire Chief Major at this time for an announcement before council if I may.
Chief Major: Good evening Mayor and Council. This past Saturday at Greenville Technical College in cooperation with the Greenville County Chief’s Association hosted the first annual Firefighter Fun Fest at the Brashier Campus on W. Georgia Road. Departmental teams from Greenville as well as Laurens County came together to compete. They competed in the fastest turn out, best ladder raise, old time bucket brigade and you can’t get firemen together without a water battle. All this was done to narrow the playing field down to two teams. One was going to come out on top. Simpsonville and South Greenville were those two teams. I’m please to announce Simpsonville won the competition – they are the best of the best. So we have bragging rights for 11 months. This time next year hopefully we’ll take the thing again.
Mayor: Thanks a lot for being willing to participate in that. That was a great event and I’m sorry I missed it but I saw some photographs. I saw some sweat and determination on some faces and saw some other things I won’t talk about here but it appeared to be a great event. Thank you for representing Simpsonville. All right Mr. Hawes is that it.
Mr. Hawes: That wraps up the employee of the quarter and the recognition.
Mayor: Well that’s our favorite thing to do.
If you wish to speak on a matter concerning Simpsonville City government
please sign up on the sheets located in the back of Council Chambers. Once
your name is called by the Mayor, please proceed to the podium and state your name and address for the record.
Mayor: Next item on the Agenda is the time for citizen comments. We invite citizens to come and comment. Say anything they’d like to us. If you call ahead and you’re placed on the Agenda we’ll give you 4 minutes to talk with us. If you signed up at the door we’ll give you two minutes. Those that called and asked to be placed on the Agenda will go first. First we have Tony Cochran. If you’ll state your address for the record and I think this is the 4th meeting in a row that you’ve been here. And we’ve heard just about everything you have to say I think so please try to tell us something different. If you go off on the same track you’ve been on I’ll call you out of order and we’ll either start over or you can sit down.
a. Tony Cochran 1304 E. Yellowwood, Simpsonville, SC 29680
Mr. Cochran: Okay, thank you. My name’s Tony Cochran and I live at 1304 E. Yellowwood Dr. All this business is continuation of the city bullying. I’ve addressed the Police Department up to now with Chief Reece and Lt. Bobo being part of the little scheme that they planned, whether they was asked to do it or not. Then it continued on after they shifted codes from the Police Department over to Public Works.
Mayor: Is this something new or something
Mr. Cochran: Yes that’s when you hired in Jay Crawford, and the exact same wording started to stack firewood 6 inches off the ground. Which like I said last week, obviously you and Bridges couldn’t even see the firewood all on the ground even in your own neighborhood but it was such a big issue to come and address it at my house all the time. This continued on, then the exact same wording Jay Crawford wrote that Colleen had wrote six months prior to that. And it’s funny that the code don’t address that but the exact same wording so it was obvious this person was being coached and told what to do and especially only to have been here six weeks. Then continues on and six months later get written up again to preferably stack it six inches. Well I preferably don’t want to. And then get wrote up on this and then David Holmes proceeds to let this go on for a year before it’s dismissed then. Even your own attorney right there, David Holmes if the address is correct in Riverwalk has firewood on the ground in the front yard. Which I have pictures to show. So, no, this was just a bunch of garbage and city bullying and no I’m going to be here every meeting to keep reminding you of this. It talks about a past to remember, you all are going to have a past to remember because you’ve got leadership, once again Chief Reece and Bobo and these other fine officers to have to follow this kind of leadership and no it’s wrong. These people, whether it was their plan or they was asked to, they was not man enough to put a stop to it to start with and then for Public Works to continue and then under Joe Carter. And even Joe Carter himself come out to my house again in September and said oh there was some changes and it had to be 18 inches off the ground. Then only Roger wrote a note then saying that I was in no written city violation. So, it’s just a continuation of three years and I think the tax payers needs to know what their tax dollars is spent for when you have the Police Department, and Public Works carrying on like this right here. They can’t fix the signs they may up incorrect. They can’t fix the bridge that’s been out for months and months. They can’t patch roads over there but they can go around and send people to worry about firewood not being stacked 6 inches off the ground because of two whinny old people that don’t have a life. And yeah, for this council, everybody’s known this all the time. You allow this leadership, how can you grow and expect these people to run something when this is the games they play.
Mayor: Okay, does that conclude your remarks?
Mr. Cochran: I’ve asked last time about these people the consideration for them to be left in their leadership position and no, I don’t think they need to be there and I think the tax payers should be up in a roar about it. The fact that these people are left in their positions because imagine these people investigating criminal cases and if they decided to have a vendetta on somebody what they would plan if they would plan all this about firewood and mulch in somebody’s back yard. It’s pretty sickening to be sent to jail for not stacking firewood 6 inches off the ground. And yeah, Walsh is not the only one that should pay for his sins.
Mayor: Okay, thank you for your opinion. All right, let’s see the other person that signed up to be placed on the Agenda and it would be for four minutes and that would be Curtis Rush from the Simpsonville Chamber of Commerce. Welcome and if you’ll state I guess the address of the Chamber of Commerce for the record then you can begin.
b. Curtis Rush – Simpsonville Chamber of Commerce – 211 N. Main St.
Mr. Rush: That’s right, I’m not a resident of the City myself but maybe will be at some point in the future. I live in Neely Farms. Deb would you say the address for the Chamber I don’t know it be heart.
Deborah: 211 N. Main St.
Mr. Rush: And I think I know all of you. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you at the leadership retreat that we have every year with the Simpsonville Chamber as well as you fine City Council members. I’ve come tonight as the Treasurer of the Simpsonville Chamber of Commerce and since this is your budget meeting I just wanted to share a request for a specific budget line item. Before, I get to that I just wanted to say you might be curious, I’ve been telling folks today I’ve been wearing a little lapel pin my son gave me this morning that says Worlds Best Dad. The reason that I have that today is today’s my birthday so I’m glad the Lord’s given me another year.
Mr. Curry: Where’s the cake?
Mr. Rush: Yeah, I should have brought cake. I’ve already had them sing happy birthday today to me at the bank. But, anyway my son said Dad you’ve got to where this to work today, as he says so I’m trying to honor his request. But, on a serious note
Mayor: We’ll let the minutes reflect that you’re wearing your sons…..
Mr. Rush: Yes sir. On a serious note, you know in our interaction that the Chamber of Commerce is a big supporter of the City of Simpsonville and I think we have a great partnership in all the community events that we help put on for the City. Among them the Labor Day Festival and Christmas Parade and there are a lot of other things that we’re involved in. As you know the Chamber of Commerce receives accommodations tax funds, which come through the City but, and also we’ve received some from Greenville County which is a part of our funding as well as our dues that our members pay. But also in years past the City Council has budgeted funds for the Chamber of Commerce to help us since we do provide services for the City of Simpsonville and so I simply want to request tonight that as you do your budget workshop that you strongly consider placing funds in your budget for next year to help support the Simpsonville Chamber of Commerce. The amount that we’re requesting is the same as what I understand the city has provided in years past and that’s $12,000. For whatever reason the last two years we have not received any direct funding from the City Budget. We have received about $12,000 in accommodations tax funds from the City as well as from Greenville County. So, I have a little packet of information for you which gives some numerical information and about the information request we provide to citizens and new comers through our welcome center as well as some other expenses we have which we believe are directly related to that service that we provide the city as well as to the residents. And as I say perspective residents of our fine city. So, that’s all I have to say and I’ll leave this information here for you to review at your convenience.
Mayor: Okay, well thank you very much and I think we all agree it is important for us to stay in contact with each other and work together for some of the things that go on around town. SO thank you for coming and giving us a report and we look forward to seeing you again soon.
Mr. Rush: Sure. And I’ll say one last comment, if I may Mayor, we as a Chamber have agreed that we will have a board member present at all of your meetings. I know that was a point that was made at our leadership retreat, that we needed to keep those lines of communication open. So, that’s our pledge to have someone here and we appreciate Darrell being the liaison with us at our board meetings. So thanks for your time.
Mayor: Very good. Thank you. All right, now we have those who signed up and we’ll give you two minutes. First is Patrice Lindlebach. How’d I do.
c. Patrice Lindlebach – 107 Clear Lake Drive Simpsonville
Ms. Lindlebach: I’m here to ask you to vote against the proposed ordinance banning pets from the New Heritage Park. I’m just one pet owner who has invested time and effort to work with my dog to achieve a canine good citizen certificate. This program is a commitment to responsible pet ownership, including cleaning up after my pet. Last Saturday I spent some time at the park and would like to share some observations. I had my dog with me. I found I was drawn to the perimeter areas of the park, walking along the roadway and the walking trail. I noticed that the children’s playground was in a fenced area not in the direct path or other areas of the park. I wasn’t naturally led through the playground to reach other areas of the park with my dog. The park was designed with children in mind and I believe the lay-out of the park does a great job in providing areas to accommodate the interests of everyone. The issue bringing this question to the table is related to health concerns that are reportedly created by allowing pets in the park. Let’s look at a parallel condition found in those parks. As I walked the trail I noticed there were no trash cans on the part of the trail that ran behind the ball diamonds. I had to look carefully to see where I could throw my trash. I agree that there are a minority of irresponsible pet owners. Also we’ve all seen the evidence of a minority of people not using trash cans after a picnic. Litter and picnic trash is a health issue. Both issues, pet and people litter could easily be addressed by providing more opportunities to dispose of trash throughout the park. The park just recently opened and the pattern of its users haven’t been established. The issue before us is common to most communities and I would ask that you consider a review period of 120 days during which time there would be provided more opportunities to dispose of all trash appropriately throughout the park, give the community the opportunity to reflect pride in this facility, allowing the majority of responsible citizens to use peer pressure to our advantage. Allowing us to point out behaviors that create a potential negative environment and consider the options and successes being implemented by other communities to address these same issues and after 120 days revisit the issue. Rather than restricting one group of people from the park it’s more appropriate to address misbehavior with an individual, whether the consequences be fines or other civil penalties. Simpsonville has invested in this community, providing this beautiful park and I ask in return that my own investment in the community be considered by allowing me to enjoy the park with my dog. It would be a sad day to have to tell people that my dog is welcome to bring joy to the residents of a local nursing home and not welcome at the park.
Mayor: Okay, thank you. You did very well. I would invite you to stay and listen to the debate or discussion I guess. All right, next we have Mr. Perry Eichor and Mr. Eichor you’ll have two minutes to tell us what’s on your mind.
d. Perry Eichor – 703 N. Almond Drive, Simpsonville, SC
Mr. Eichor: I am in receipt of a check from the City of Simpsonville that is apparently for a refund for sewer fees and I’m most appreciative. Any time you can get a check back from a taxing authority is a god-send. But there is nothing in it that says for how many months that is for, or how many billing periods. I would have appreciated knowing at the time, how long this period covered because I’ve been paying it all this time. That said, I’m still appreciative of receiving the check. The other thing is I want to bring your attention again to the fact that you are collecting hospitality tax on groceries that are being sold at the stores. I once again bought some loaves of bread yesterday and had to pay the hospitality tax on it. I brought this issue up several years ago and no directive, clear directives were ever given to the stores about what should and should not be taxed. They were only given verbal and I think that’s probably going to rise again some time.
Mayor: No pun intended right. Well we appreciate the positive comments and let me ask you the same question I asked you several years ago when you brought up the bread issue. Where was it baked. The bread that you bought.
Mr. Eichor: That has no bearing under state law it’s prepared food.
Mayor: Well I believe our ordinance says prepared on site. If it’s baked there then it’s legitimate. Okay
Mr. Eichor: I’ll review this issue at another time.
Mayor: About every 3 years is that it.
Mr. Eichor: Probably a little sooner than that.
Mayor: All right. Well thank you. And that concludes our citizen comments. We appreciate all of those.
Mayor: Next is the Council Comments. Any council person have a comment about anything? Mr. Gecy.
Mr. Gecy: Just kind of a comment, we’re working on this but I wanted to bring it on the record. The Duke Power bill and the city’s refunding private, not private but homeowner’s association decorative lighting. Particularly, I’m talking about Stonebridge. They have decorative lighting that they’re leasing from Duke Power but we’re not refunding them the $4 per month that we would normally refund a regular street light. They have an upgraded street light and they’re paying the entire bill as well as the lease bill. It’s something all the new homeowners have inherited as they moved in. The developer chose decorative lighting, it was agreed that the homeowner’s association would pay for the decorative lighting. Where I think the problem arose was they never knew to bill the city for the $4 a month on street lights that we would normally pay. So since they’ve been in the city we haven’t been paying the street lights and I think the total is like 13 something like that. I have the numbers. But if I could get some guidance on how this should be handled because the people that are the movers and shakers have been there a long time. Should we go back to the homeowners association records and bill the city for as far back as….
Mr. Hawes: I don’t see any great benefit to that. What I would say is that if they have a concern they could approach the City with a proposal and we would treat them fairly as we do other subdivisions with which we have agreements.
Mr. Gecy: Well that’s the agreement. The agreement is you pay $4 a street light ….
Mr. Hawes: Well they need to come to us and actually ask for that.
Mr. Gecy: Well that’s what I’m kind of just announcing that because if there was some different direction to go on it I would guide them but that’s what I told them we would do but where do we start. Do they go back to the beginning.
Mr. Hawes: No it would be from this point forth. It would be from this point forth because there was no agreement in hand until it is signed.
Mayor: I think Ms. Lawrence is prepared to answer that.
Ms. Lawrence: Well not really prepared to answer it but just prepared to say that more than likely if you’ll check you’ll find that the city is paying for a regular street light and they’re paying for the decorative one. So they’re probably being double billed because I’ve run into that a lot.
Mayor: Ms. Thomas is going to straighten that out now.
Ms. Thomas: No, I was just going to say also when it comes to reimbursement we only reimburse for the number of street lights that a normal Duke Power study would okay. And they might, Duke Power might have said if they were putting in the street lights that they need 6 street lights. Well just because they’ve got 13 we would only be responsible for reimbursing them for the number that whatever the Duke Power study does.
Mr. Hawes: We would have to be approached by the homeowners association in a letter or written format to have us investigate and enter into an agreement with them for reimbursement of the normal city charge that would be allowable under our ordinances.
Mr. Gecy: Okay, and that makes sense and I understand that. And I think they do to but would there be any question about, you’re saying they would have to reach an agreement – I mean if they have two street lights out there shouldn’t we be paying $4 a month regardless of whether it’s decorative or not if it’s the number of street lights that Duke would normally put in.
Mr. Hawes: What we would be paying is the standard cost – you say regardless of whether it’s decorative or not – they have to bear any decorative additives is what Duke Power calls it.
Mr. Gecy: But knowing that does there still have to be an agreement of some sort. There are so many street lights down there.
Mr. Hawes: Yes. In order for us to know that we’re doing it according to our ordinance we would have to investigate and see that the correct number of lights are there and that they’re being correctly billed by Duke Power. We just have to investigate those things and to have an agreement with the homeowner’s association that we will provide them on a timely basis a reimbursement. Typically on a quarterly basis.
Mr. Gecy: We’ll have them follow-up with that. Thanks
Mayor: Okay. Thank you. Anyone else. All right.
a. Michelle Hammonds request to hold Circus at City Park
Mayor: Next item on the agenda is old business and Ms. Michelle Hammonds is here to speak with us yet again. Ms. Hammonds
Ms. Hammonds: How are you tonight. It seems like every time I come up here it’s rained.
Mayor: Well would you please not come back again then.
Ms. Hammonds: My name is Michelle Hammonds and I live at 802 Powdersville Road in Easley. I’ve come to ask – to see if you’ve had a chance to look over my proposal and to check out the information I’ve given you and hopefully have an answer.
Mayor: Well we’ll get into that in a moment. And we have reviewed this. As a matter of fact I have it in front of me. I don’t know how many of the rest of you have. The reason I do is because I forgot to take it downstairs at our last meeting. Let me just cover a couple of issues to make sure I understand. You say here that for security you’ll provide personnel to patrol the area yourself, I would suggest that if we approve this you contact our Police Chief, Mr. Charles Reece and work through him with that and let him guide you and direct you on that. You do say that you will remove all the trash and I assume that includes all the animal waste?
Ms. Hammonds: Correct
Mayor: And that you’ll provide traffic control. Once again I’d recommend that you talk with Chief Reece in that regard and coordinate that with him. The million dollar insurance policy, I’m sure that you’ll provide us a certificate that shows us as loss payee before you begin
Ms. Hammonds: Yes sir
Mayor: All right, well I think we have the thing here and if anybody here would like to see it or question about it I’ll pass it up and down. So this is a voting meeting tonight so I think we can get you an answer. Would anybody like to make a motion in this regard so that we can further discuss it. I guess I started the discussion already
Mr. Curry: Mr. Mayor
Mayor: Mr. Curry
Mr. Curry: I move we accept the proposal to allow them to have a circus here in Simpsonville
Ms. Thomas: Second
Mayor: Thank you Mr. Curry and Ms. Thomas seconds. All right, any discussion. Ms. Thomas
Ms. Thomas: This is a circus not a carnival?
Ms. Hammonds: That is correct
Ms. Thomas: Can you tell us a little bit about what’s there – I mean is it in a tent or
Ms. Hammonds: It will be in a tent, there’s bleacher seating for everyone to sit on and we have acrobats, aerialists, exotic animals, no elephants or tigers or anything dangerous to the community. We have a camel and horses, dogs and goats. And we’ll have jugglers and clowns.
Ms. Thomas: And you also have food vendors and….
Ms. Hammonds: We have one concession stand, we sell hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy, drinks and sno cones out of.
Ms. Thomas: And this would be an evening or
Ms. Hammonds: Yes ma’am it would take place on a Saturday and a Sunday. We would have the shows on Saturday would take place at 4:00 and 7:00 and on Sunday so as not to interfere with Church we have shows at 2:00 and 4:30.
Mayor: Is this a three ring circus?
Ms. Hammonds: It’s a one ring circus. We find, if you have three rings and you have something going on in each ring it’s hard to pay attention. You don’t really get to see everything – you don’t get to focus on that one act that’s in the ring and nobody has six pairs of eyes to watch three rings.
Mayor: It sounds like one of my family’s camping trips.
Mr. Curry: If you need to hire any clowns I’ve got a couple of people I’d recommend.
Mayor: Anyone else have questions or discussions.
Ms. Thomas: I think it’s a good idea.
Mayor: All right, hearing no further discussion I’ll call for the vote. All those in favor signify by saying Aye (AYE) opposed No. Aye’s have it it’s unanimous and bring on the circus.
Ms. Thomas: Could you give us the date on that again.
Ms. Hammonds: The date will be May 28th and 29th. Memorial Day weekend.
Mayor: If you will just provide those things that I just asked about to our City Administrator and he can kind of direct you. He’ll help you with your business license and everything else you need. Thank you.
a. Cotton Mill Place – Scott Johnson
Mayor: All right next item on the Agenda is new business and we have Scott Johnson here tonight who I believe is the designer/architect for the Cotton Mill Place and he wants to give us an update report.
Mr. Johnson: I just really want to give everyone here a status report on the Simpsonville Mill and Cotton Mill Place project. The project did successfully auction a few weeks back and we now have 22 of the 26 residences pre-sold. The site development permit application will be made on May 5th and the full building permit application will be made on May 25th. SYS Constructors have been secured as the contractor and they are actually doing some repair work on the roof structure at this point. They will begin full construction probably around the first of June after Mr. Spain has had time to review the permit drawings. The only remaining units left available are three live/work units and one condominium dwelling and you may remember we originally only had 11 residential units available for auction and we doubled that based on the interest. And accordingly, what we have done is converted some of the commercial space within the mill to residential and then we added the live/work units to maintain some presence of commercial activity in the mill in Phase I. We also have some more commercial proposed in the next phase of the project. Finally, we have, or our client has sold one of the out parcels, the one closest to downtown. And that should be closing, the sale of that should be closing in about two weeks. So the project is moving ahead, pretty rapidly. My guess is with the sale of the one remaining condominium unit the client will be proceeding with preliminary design for Phase II and we will be bringing that on line for marketing in the next few months. I really just wanted to kind of bring you up to date. Mr. Spain had suggested this would be a good opportunity to do that. Particularly, with the change we made in the PD through the Planning Commission and really just wanted to give you an opportunity to ask any questions if you have any.
Mayor: Okay. Anyone have any questions.
Mr. Gecy: What plans do you have for the back side of the mill. The back streets and…
Mr. Johnson: The plans are to retain only the mill one which was built in 1908 and that’s perpendicular to Curtis Street and obscured by Mill II which you see when you drive down Curtis St. Mill II was built in 1913. So we’ll save those two original buildings as well as the boiler room building and the cotton warehouses which are along the rear street, I believe that’s Woodside Circle if I recall. So those are the only historical buildings that will remain. The later buildings that were built primarily after World War II either have been or will be demolished as the future phases of the project proceed. Also, as part of Phase I the Duke Power substation will be decommissioned or we will begin the process of decommissioning that. That substation was really there to support the voltage that was necessary to run a mill and it will be dismantled and we’ll clean all that up. Green Avenue is proposed to have 14 single family residences and part of the PD describes the architectural character of these residences. They will have to fit in with the character of the historical houses in the neighborhood. The cotton warehouse will be converted probably to residential, we’re a little loose on that. We’re actually interested in seeing if there’s a market to attract artists and have artists studios in the cotton warehouses. Mill One the 1908 mill perpendicular to Curtis Street will be all residential. The boiler house will be probably be a commercial structure. One idea that’s being considered is to create a community building which could be rented out for special events and work in partnership with a local restaurant to provide catering. I believe that gives you a good flavor. I guess in time the project has probably about 66 residential dwellings, which will probably take place in 3 phases and about 17,000 square feet of commercial space.
Mayor: Okay, anyone else. Well we’re all excited about this. This is going to be a great improvement to the community. We’re just like we have been from the beginning. We’re very supportive and we want not only to encourage you but thank you for what your doing for our community. Be sure to pass that along to your principals.
Mr. Johnson: Thank you very much.
b. Cannon House Inspection – Russ Hawes
Mayor: Okay, next item, Russ Hawes, Cannon House Inspection.
Mr. Hawes: Yes sir, Mayor and Council as a result of our strategic planning analysis, one of the goals was to determine the condition of the Cannon House with regard to possible renovation or other actions on that property. Our building inspectors went through that property a couple of weeks ago and produced a report, an inspection report. Basically it is literally a house, to determine what would be necessary to bring some of the standards up to code as currently stated and there are some issues with that property that would involve some amount of investment to bring it up to code. You all have received the report from Craven and Associates and that indicates within the report some of the issues and their comments on the interior, roof, foundation, exterior, plumbing and electrical systems. Basically its up to council with this information to determine what the next step is as to whether we want to proceed with some sort of renovation or other aspect on that property.
Mayor: Okay. Mr. Bridges
Mr. Bridges: Do you have any cost figures on what it would take to renovate it.
Mr. Hawes: The cost figures run between about $70,000 and $90,000 approximately.
Ms. Thomas: Well that’s not necessarily renovated, that’s just to bring it up to code.
Mr. Hawes: That’s to bring it up to code. Thank you. Those are rough estimates to bring it up to code, which in effect would renovate some aspects of it.
Mayor: Ms. Thomas
Ms. Thomas: Do you have any idea what it would cost to demolish this building.
Mr. Craven: We have asbestos, lead based paint, both of these have to have special care and be especially disposed of. Given that knowledge I would say it would probably cost between $10,000 and $12,000 to demolish and properly dispose of that unit.
Ms. Thomas: That’s less than I thought.
Mr. Craven: Well I’m guessing. I don’t do demolition
Ms. Thomas: Well even if you said $15,000
Mr. Craven: It could be that much because asbestos is mostly in the basement and lead paint of course is everywhere.
Mayor: Okay, anyone else. Why don’t you stay there in case somebody else comes up with something. Mr. Hawes is this just a report to us or are you expecting some action from us.
Mr. Hawes: It’s really up to the will of council at this point what your next action is. It is a report to you at this time to fulfill one of the aspects that we discussed at the Planning Retreat, so, this is an informational report. Ms. Lawrence.
Ms. Lawrence: Well, I think if we’re going to adopt the property maintenance code and I think we already have, I think we need to move on this. We don’t need to be caught you know violating our own laws.
Mayor: Okay, Mr. Curry
Mr. Curry: I make a motion that we remove the buildings off that property right down to the ground.
Ms. Lawrence: I’ll second it.
Mayor: All right, I have a motion and a second. Any discussion. Ms. Thomas
Ms. Thomas: Once we – when we do demolish this building will part of the demolition and preparing this property to do whatever we want to do with it in the future also mean we’ll have to fill in that basement and make it a regular lot that would be for sale, I mean not for sale, but for us to use for Police or whatever.
Mr. Curry: We certainly wouldn’t leave a hole there would we.
Ms. Thomas: Well I know, but if we’re talking about money, and you know you have to haul in dirt. Of course there’s plenty on Georgia Road.
Mayor: That would be an additional expense I’m sure.
Ms. Thomas: So when we vote to do this we’re voting to spend money. So, do you think we ought to put a dollar figure on it.
Mayor: Mr. Gecy would you like to….
Mr. Gecy: Just a quick question. Who’s going to do the demolition. Are we hiring a company or bid on it or….
Mr. Hawes: You’d have to bring in a certified lead-based paint demolition type of firm.
Mr. Gecy: So that would be part of the figure that was quoted – some of what
Mr. Craven: I’ve just been told my estimate might be low it might be closer to $15,000 to $20,000
Mr. Gecy: I guess I’ll just continue that thought if you’re going to take it
Mayor: Well I don’t know about you but it seems to me that A if we’re going to vote to do this we need to have a firm figure, I appreciate your expertise but I don’t think we can vote on some foggy nebulous figure out there. We need to get a firm estimate on the demolition and then we can make a decision based on that information. The other thing that I would say is that I have heard some talk among some of the members of this council about a way to use that. Someone who’s interested in using that facility. I think we should look into that first before we take action. But those are just my opinions. Mr. Bridges.
Mr. Bridges: Well, what I was going to say was we can afford the $20,000 to tear it down more than we can afford the $70-$90,000 to renovate it.
Mayor: There’s no doubt about that but we need real figures. Ms. Thomas
Ms. Thomas: The only thing that bothers me about that demolition number is I know you’re probably familiar with that block building that’s behind Burdette Hardware – it has asbestos and I was asked about 5 or 6 years ago to get an estimate to tear that building down and haul it off and 5 or 6 years ago that was $30,000 and so I think – in my opinion I think we need to get a firm figure on the demolition so we can really make a true comparison before we decide to go ahead and demolish it.
Mayor: Okay Mr. Gecy
Mr. Gecy: I agree with that concern but we need to do it – we need to make a decision to get rid of it because I don’t think we’re in the mood to fix it up – so we have to get rid of it and we have to spend the money to get rid of it. If we did find somebody to occupy it it’s going to have to be fixed up.
Mayor: Depending on our agreement with them they may be willing to fix it up for use.
Mr. Gecy: That’s a possibility – we’d talked about that. But I mean if it’s something that if we’re not to code – if we have a building that’s not to code and we have to spend money to get rid of it then I think if we got started with the idea that we wanted to get rid of it – we let the city administrator worry about finding the money to demolish it and use it for something else.
Mayor: Okay, anyone else. All right we have a motion- Mr. Curry is that a
Mr. Curry: I think we’ve got to get rid of it. We can’t leave it there. Are we going to just leave it there or are we going to talk about it for a year. The guy who was interested in it is not interested in it any more because of the cost factor. You’re talking about him purchasing it and then paying another $100,000 just to – that’s not feasible.
Mayor: Well given then – and don’t misunderstand my statement, I’m not in favor one way or the other – just what works best for the city – but I don’t think we can make a decision to spend money without knowing how much money we’re going to spend and if it takes two more weeks to do that then we just need to do that. That’s my opinion. Mr. Pelar.
Mr. Pelar: I was just going to ask if council would consider tabling the motion and having Mr. Hawes come back with some firm figures in two weeks for our regular meeting.
Mayor: Are you making that a motion
Mr. Pelar: Unless Mr. Curry wants to withdraw his motion.
Mr. Curry: No, I’m not going to put you through – I’ll withdraw the motion if we understand that Mr. Hawes is going to come back and tell us the cost of demolition.
Ms. Thomas: Just go ahead and put it on the agenda
Mr. Curry: Two more weeks won’t make any difference not unless somebody falls through the roof or something.
Mr. Hawes: We’ll contact demolition companies to get some good estimates, some firm figures on what it will take to remove that house from that property and make the property useable again.
Mayor: Okay, thank you very much.
c. Alder Park Bridge – Russ Hawes
Mayor: All right, Mr. Hawes you’re still in the barrel. Alder Park Bridge, was that not good. You’re still up is what I meant to say.
Mr. Hawes: Certainly. In September we had the storms that went through and a dam burst on private property and caused flood of water to undermine the road and basically remove the structural support of the Alder Bridge. In November, about two months after that, after we had analyzed the situation and worked with the County and State and FEMA to determine if they would be able to do something we put out an RFP in November. Since that RFP has gone out that RFP was for engineering consultants to identify ways to either repair or replace the existing bridge. After continuous work with the response to that RFP and thorough analysis to determine the most efficient and effective approach to repairing or replacing the Alder Park Bridge we are at a point where we can safely say that within 60 days there should be work underway to effectively re-open that bridge. We have an innovative approach that is still a possibility. However, we have also determined that we may be able to save the bridge as it is and we’re looking at both of those approaches. Right now it does appear that we can do some special concrete and stanchion support work and save certain aspects of the bridge and let other aspects be removed and get that work underway within 60 days.
Ms. Thomas: And you’re going to put lights on it like on Fairview Road. We want something special. That is very good news.
Mr. Hawes: Yeah, well we’re glad to report that.
Ms. Thomas: And you may want to report on the call. I got a call from Garry Smith and I think you did to about the frontage road you might want to report on that
Mr. Hawes: The frontage road, actually, what name is the front road it’s got a name
Ms. Bodkins: Grandview Drive
Mr. Hawes: Grandview, thank you, it just slipped my mind there. At Grandview Drive where there was a very bad utility cut that cut across that road and then it sunk when the refilled it and so forth. SCDOT is very close to having that fully repaired. I know Garry Smith our representative has been working on our behalf there. Utility companies tend, I’m not going to say it’s always this way but they tend to do their work, disappear and then SCDOT has to go find them and things along those lines. This is a DOT project, it’s not a city project, so we’ve sort of had to get after SCDOT to get after the utilities just to fix it and that’s the direction we’re going right now.
Ms. Thomas: The thing I was talking about was that long strip of road on Grandview where they have dug up and put new utilities in. Are you talking about that cut they made at Walgreens.
Mr. Hawes: Well that one absolutely
Ms. Thomas: The one I was thinking of was that horrendous road that they’ve taken up a whole lane for about ½ mile at least down through there
Mr. Hawes: I think that’s in a similar situation that they’re getting very close to completing that project or that aspect of what they’re doing.
Ms. Thomas: It’s really terrible.
Mayor: Okay, anyone else. Well thank you very much for that report on the bridge. I’m sure those folks that live over there will be happy to hear that. And I’ll bet you they’ll call me and tell me how happy they are.
d. Forestry Commission Grant – Russ Hawes
Mayor: All right, Mr. Hawes you’re still up – Forestry Commission Grant
Mr. Hawes; Yes sir, Mayor and Council, the city as a result of some work with the Planning Commission and analysis of our tree ordinance has worked to develop a grant with the SC Forestry Commission. This grant would be a 100% grant. There is no monetary match. There is in-kind labor and materials type of match but there is no monetary hit to the budget to match this grant. This grant would involve revision to the current tree ordinance to make it more effective. It would involve the creation of a Tree Board for grievances from people cited for violating the tree ordinance and help with enforcement and planning very similar to the housing review board which we have established. It would also provide training in order to certify a city employee as a certified city arborist to better manage and maintain city trees as well as to be able to strongly review and have an effective review of development issues. Also, to hire a consultant to work with the city staff to develop a tree inventory of city owned properties and to help the city develop a tree management plan. We would also work toward obtaining tree city status. I don’t know if you’ve seen some of the signs that say blank is a tree city but that’s all part of the forestry commission tree city status. Also, this would involve conducting Arbor Day activities in conjunction with garden clubs, 4-H and Future Farmers of America. There would also be educational programs to inform residents and developers about tree care. From my standpoint I think this is a very strong grant. It’s $10,000 and involves no city match and would put us on firm footing to moving forward with a comprehensive tree management approach for the city.
Mayor: Mr. Bridges
Mr. Bridges: With all those things you mentioned that we would have to do it sounds to me like we’re going to have to spend more than $10,000 to hire an arborist and train them and whatever else you said
Mr. Hawes: Well this funding is actually supposed to take care of what is necessary in the scope of services. It’s designed to be able to train the city arborist and to hire a consultant to develop a tree management plan. Those were the more cost involved aspects of it that $10,000 would cover.
Mr. Bridges: We’re going to train somebody who’s already on staff
Mr. Hawes: Yes, yes, it’s not to hire another person.
Mayor: Anybody else. Mr. Gecy
Mr. Gecy: This is interesting, this is something I’ve always been interested in. I’m just curious about how it’s going to be mandated by accepting this $10,000 are they saying we have to adopt a more stringent tree ordinance than we already have hopefully. Are they going to give us a template of what they expect our tree ordinance to look like?
Mr. Hawes: I expect there’s an intent when you apply for a SC Forestry Grant that you will work diligently to revise your tree ordinance to strengthen the tree management aspect of it. I don’t know that they can force us to do – I don’t want to say force but to direct us to do certain aspects of a tree ordinance vs other aspects of a tree ordinance. How stringent it would have to be or things along those lines, but they would like in allocating this funding is – and what they’re putting it out for is for the city to be serious about trees, to train the certified arborist, and to conduct a tree inventory. Those are the two things that the grant fund are for.
Mr. Gecy: From what you know this committee is discussing now – they haven’t had a proposal yet come to City Council, but is what their proposing meet some of the guidelines
Mr. Hawes: I would say yes, that they’re in the direction – well again guidelines – stringency and so forth I don’t know that there are any for this grant. This grant does not describe how many caliber inches thick a tree has to be as a replacement tree for one that is removed or how large a tree has to be for considering as a heritage tree does it have to be 36 vs 24” and things along those lines. The grant doesn’t really regulate that. What the grant is for is to get you moving basically trained and inventory trees.
Ms. Thomas: It appears to me that based on what you’re saying to that they may be trying to groom people in the direction of becoming a tree city
Mr. Hawes: That’s correct – its working towards obtaining a tree city status is what it says in the grant. Correct.
Mr. Gecy: Would we qualify for this grant and continue to be in their good graces if we kept our tree ordinance the way it is
Mr. Hawes: We could qualify for it I couldn’t tell you what graces we would be in.
Mr. Gecy: Because we have a real weak tree ordinance. That’s what I’m getting at.
Mr. Hawes: We qualify for it currently, I couldn’t tell you what graces we’d be in if we did nothing.
Mr. Gecy: That’s something else I’d like to address. We have to, in order to be in their good graces and accept this money and hire an arborist to be serious about trees and maybe qualify to be a tree city, we’ve got to tighten up on knocking down or clear cutting property. I mean that’s the first thing.
Mr. Hawes: I think implicit in obtaining tree city status is tree management plan, whatever form that would take. It may or may not allow clear cutting property for certain purposes but there would be a tree management plan.
Mayor: Mr. Curry
Mr. Curry: Before we make a motion on this I would like to hope that we insure that we get the Bradford Pears out of the way of the monument down there for those trees that we put in there that are being hidden under those trees that we discussed a year ago and decided to cut them down but we can’t get them cut down for some reason. Since this is part of it I hope we can do that before we do this.
Mr. Hawes: I would like to say I would love clear direction from council on that very specific subject.
Mayor: Actually our agreement when we did that a couple of years ago was to cut down every other one and replace it with something else before we took down the rest of them and so we haven’t gotten to that point yet so we can’t take down the rest of them.
Mr. Curry: Well we didn’t cut every other one down we only cut down a couple of them.
Mayor: I believe we took every other tree, every other Bradford Pear down Main St. Ms. Lawrence held up her hand first
Ms. Lawrence: The new trees are in at the monument, so they need to be gotten out of there any way while we decide what we’re going to do with those other ones.
Ms. Thomas: That was sort of what I was saying because when we made that decision about the every other one we didn’t have the walk or the concept for the walk or the trees, but now that we have those trees I see no problem at all with taking all those trees down to Crisp, or at least as far as the walk goes.
Mr. Curry: I make a motion we take them down.
Mayor: Mr. Gecy has the floor
Mr. Gecy: I actually agree with you Mr. Curry so I’ll yield the floor to you
Mayor: Okay, Mr. Curry
Mr. Curry: I think she made a motion
Ms. Lawrence: I made a motion nobody seconded it
Mr. Curry: I’ll second it
Ms. Lawrence: I make a motion that we take the Bradford Pear trees down to Crisp St, at least that block.
Mayor: Okay do I hear a second
Mr. Curry: Second
Mayor: Mr. Curry seconds. Any further discussion. All right, all those in favor signify by saying Aye (AYE) opposed (No) No – Mayor Waldrop voted against the motion.
Mayor: It passes, not unanimously but it passes. All right Joe get your chain saw. All right anything else regarding the forestry grant. Don’t you need something from us regarding the forestry grant.
Mr. Hawes: Well I would like to know if council would approve of us applying for it.
Mr. Pelar: I’ll make a motion to give the city administrator authority to apply for the forestry grant
Mr. Gecy: Second
Mayor: All right Mr. Gecy seconds. I have a motion and a second. Any discussion. All those in favor signify by saying Aye (AYE) opposed No. Ayes have it it’s unanimous.
ORDINANCES – Second Reading
a. 2005-03 Amendment to Animal Ordinance to include No Pets at Heritage
Mayor: Next item on the agenda is Ordinances – Second Reading the first of which Mr. Hawes is this Amendment to Animal Ordinance to include No Pets at Heritage Park.
Mr. Hawes: Yes sir, Mayor and Council council had first reading on that ordinance at its previous meeting. You have a copy of the ordinance in your packet with the exact wording and I’ll read the wording it’s very short. Section 6-7 Pets In City Park “All pets in City of Simpsonville Public Parks must be tightly controlled on a leash of no less than 3’ and no more than 6’ (a) all pets must be curbed on city property. Owners are required to remove and dispose of any waste left by their pet (b) no more than one pet per pedestrian is allowed (c) pets are not allowed (tape turned over) in Heritage Park. Owner’s will be subject to removal from park grounds and/or ordinance citation for violation of this ordinance.
Mayor: Okay, I’ll entertain a motion so that we can get it on the floor
Ms. Lawrence: Mr. Mayor, I make a motion we accept 2005-03.
Mr. Curry: Second
Mayor: Okay, Mr. Curry seconds. Discussion. Mr. Gecy
Mr. Gecy: Mr. Hawes in fairness to the public that may have responded, what kind of reaction have you gotten from the public about this proposed change.
Mr. Hawes: We’ve had some calls, some people concerned about it, possibly dog owners, probably dog owners, who may or may not have been walking their dogs at Heritage Park with the intent of continuing to do so.
Mr. Gecy: Was it an over abundance of people or a few people.
Mr. Hawes: Not an over abundance – not a huge amount frankly. Often a controversial thing will draw a larger reaction so I wouldn’t say this has been received as controversial by the public at large through the article in the paper or other publication.
Mayor: Ms. Lawrence
Ms. Lawrence; I’ve had about 15 contacts – two of them veterinarians, 1 a groomer 1 a border and the rest just public that has called me. And I haven’t had any negative response. They’ve all said way to go that’s what we need and they all love dogs. And I would love to take mine down there but for the greater good they’ll stay home.
Mayor: Okay, anyone else – Ms. Thomas
Ms. Thomas: I’ve had a couple of contacts and most of mine have been in person at Heritage Park during my grandson’s ball games and I would ask them and of course not for it to be one-sided but a lot of those people own animals but because of their children they would prefer that dogs not be allowed in this one park in the city because they are allowed in other parks and so most of everybody I talked with was definitely for keeping the dogs out of Heritage Park, not necessarily the whole city but Heritage Park.
Mayor: Okay, Mr. Pelar
Mr. Pelar: I’ll reiterate what I talked about at our last meeting. One of the individuals I talked to is a dog owner and applauded us for doing what we’re going to do if this passes. Again, the comments that I’ve had and seeing people out there in the playground area leaving their dogs, of course they’re on a leash but they just drop the leash and let the dog go and like I said at the last meeting when the lady came over and told me about her 4 year old daughter, I call them depth charges, you can see those but when a dog takes a whiz you don’t know where it is so she tried to get her daughter to play on the other side of the playground because she saw the dog do it’s business. So, from that standpoint I have to support this because the park is for the kids and I understand pet owners because I have a pet to but especially dog owners, it will upset some but I think the majority that I talked to, not a lot but they were agreement with it.
Mayor: Anyone else.
Mr. Bridges: All I can say is I go to Mauldin Parks because my grandson plays ball up there and they don’t allow pets or dogs or anything and they’ve got great big signs. And I also on opening day I saw I wouldn’t call him a gentleman but a man and he allowed the dog to go on the grassy area. I’m just not in favor of it.
Mayor: Well my only comment for the benefit of Ms. Linderbach, I think you’ve heard that everybody up here likes dogs and some of us even had a vision when we first started talking about this park of dogs chasing Frisbees and kites flying and it’s wonderful things to envision when you envision a park, but if you think about the enforcement of it, that’s 90 acres down there and we have a limited Recreation Park staff that’s going to be covered up with their duties down there. We’re going to have police officers there on duty but they’re going to have many other things to do. We can’t have a pet patrol to go out and watch for irresponsible pet owners. And I think you’ll agree that many are very irresponsible. It’s not the pet’s fault it’s those folks and we have to as Mr. Pelar says, we’ve got to protect first the safety of the children and that includes the sanitation so as much as I’d like to take my crazy dog down there and let him chase Frisbees I’m also going to have to jump in in support of this ordinance to keep pets out. So, sorry. Sounds to me like everybodys going to vote for this. I’m not sorry yet hold on just a second. I’ll call for the vote all those in favor signify by saying Aye (AYE) opposed No. It’s unanimous I’m sorry. I’m sorry for you. Thank you for coming though.
b. 2005-04 Simpsonville Public Facilities Corp. COPS
Mayor: All right Mr. Hawes tell us about the Simpsonville Public Facilities Corp
Mr. Hawes: Yes sir, Mayor and Council, this is second reading of the issuance of the COPS, certificates of participation for the purpose of allocating funding through the Simpsonville Public Facilities Corporation to Heritage Park. The specifics are in the ordinance.
Mayor: Okay, I’ll entertain a motion.
Mr. Curry: Mr. Mayor, I make a motion that we approve the ordinance on second reading of 2005-04 Simpsonville Public Facilities Corporation
Mayor: Thank you Mr. Curry, do I hear a second
Ms. Lawrence: Second
Mayor: Ms. Lawrence seconds. Thank you. All right any discussion. And by the way I meant to remind council last time this is second and final reading so I’m reminding you this is second and final reading on this particular issue. Hearing none I’ll call for the vote. All those in favor signify by saying Aye (AYE) opposed No. Aye’s have it it’s unanimous.
c. Adoption of 2003 International Residential Code – Al Spain
Mayor: Next item on the agenda is Al Spain the adoption of the 2003 International Residential Code.
Mr. Spain: Thank you Mayor and Council I’m up here again tonight to ask you all to adopt the 2003 International Residential Code that’s required by the State to go into effect on July 1, 2005.
Mayor: Thank you Mr. Spain. I’ll entertain a motion
Ms. Lawrence: Mr. Mayor I make a motion that we adopt the 2003 International Residential Code to take effect July 1st.
Mr. Pelar: Second\
Mayor: Do I hear a second – Mr. Pelar seconds. All right any discussion. I won’t even make my usual comment about this. Hearing none, I’ll call for the vote. All those in favor signify by saying Aye (AYE) opposed No. Aye’s have it it’s unanimous. Thank you Mr. Spain you do good work.
a. Contractual Matter – Administration Department
Mayor: All right next item on the Agenda, we have a need for an Executive Session to discuss a contractual matter pertaining to the administration. I’ll entertain a motion in that regard. Mr. Pelar
Mr. Pelar: I’d like to make a motion to go into Executive Session to discuss a contractual matter.
Mayor: Thank you Mr. Pelar. Do I hear a second
Ms. Thomas: Second
Mayor: Thank you Ms. Thomas. I have a motion and a second all in favor signify by saying Aye (AYE) opposed No. Aye’s have it we are in recess into Executive Session. Thank you all for coming we may or may not be back.
Mayor: Council came out of Executive Session and no action was taken.
Ms. Lawrence: Mr. Mayor I would like to make a motion we adjourn.
Mr. Curry: Second
Mayor: I have a motion and a second. All those in favor signify by saying Aye (AYE) opposed No. Aye’s have it it’s unanimous.
PAMELA J. BODKINS