August 4, 2020, City Council Meeting Brief

August 4, 2020, City Council Meeting Brief 

August  5, 2020– 

Awards and Recognition

1. Human Resources Director Mary Jane Lundy introduces the Summer 2020 Interns to the City Council. This summer’s interns include Max DiStefano working with Planning and Zoning, Ashlen Ward working with Public Works Engineering Technician Greg Bauer on GIS mapping for the Public Works Department, Bevin Coburn working with Stormwater Division, and Morgan Haley working with the Police Department as their media intern. 

2. Cove Star Award

City of Green Cove Springs Police Chief Derek Asdot awarded the second Cove Star Award to Assistant Public Works Director Steve Thomas for his role in assisting the police department with responding to a call of a capsized boat and rescuing three people seen swimming from the boat in the St Johns River on June 2, 2020. Green Cove Springs Police Dispatch received the call about a capsized boat near the Governors Creek Boat Ramp at 6:30 p.m. With Green Cove Springs Police Department worried about getting its patrol boat out on the river in time, officers responding to the call asked Dispatch to call Steve Thomas. Thomas, a 33-year City employee and avid boater, was already on the river when he received the call and was able to get to the capsized boat and rescue the three people out of the river to the Governors Creek Boat Ramp. 

Chief Derek Asdot said that Thomas not only plays an integral role in Public Works projects and day-to-day operations, but is also passionate about Green Cove Springs and his quick response to assist the Police Department in this rescue is an example of his love for the city and the ppeople who call Green Cove Springs home.

Public Hearings 

1. Second and Final Reading of Ordinance O-07-2020, an Ordinance to set franchise terms for containerized commercial solid waste providers. 

Vice Mayor Ed Gaw made motion to approve Ordinance. Motion passes 5 – 0 by City Council. 

2. First reading of Ordinance O-09-2020, an Ordinance amending the Land Development Code, including adding definitions for Emergency Shelter and Recreational Facility, as well as amending the permitted uses and special exceptions of the institutional zoning district for clarity, naming specific uses such as government uses, hospitals, and emergency shelters; adding supplemental regulations for emergency shelters. 

Planning and Zoning Director Michael Daniels explained to Council that this Ordinance would allow for private individuals and organizations to establish transitional housing (referred to as “Emergency Shelters” in the Ordinance) for homeless individuals in the Institutional Zoning District within Green Cove Springs city limits. Ordinance sets that anyone living in this transitional housing can live for a maximum of 90 days, and that includes services such as counseling and unemployment help to transition homeless individuals to more permanent housing and employment by the end of the 90 day period. Planning and Zoning staff crafted this Ordinance after meeting with community leaders to address homelessness in the community. Community leaders present at the meeting spoke on how the Ordinance will allow them to partner with established homelessness organizations in the community and provide transitional housing to more of the organizations’ clients. 

Council passed the First Reading 5 – 0. Second Reading scheduled for August 25, 2020.

3. First Reading of Ordinance O-10-2020, an Ordinance amending the Gateway Corridor Commercial Zoning District by adding hospitals as a permitted use, and establishments for the retail sale of alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption and gas pumps as an accessory use to a convenience store or other retail store as special exceptions. 

City Council expressed support for the Ordinance, but concerns of not establishing designated areas within the Gateway Corridor Commercial Zoning District for these uses. Several Council Members said that they would prefer to see these uses mapped out in specific areas within the zoning district. 

Council Member Steven Kelley motioned to approve the Ordinance with addition of adding hospitals as a special exception. Mayor Van Royal recused himself from the vote as he is a member of the board of Ascention St. Vincent’s Clay County Hospital. Motion passes 4 – 0 by City Council. 

Consent Agenda

1. City Council approval of, and authorization for the Mayor to execute, Disbursement Reqest #3, which includes Mittauer Invoice #20291 in the amount of $3,500.00 (HRWWFT ground storage tank #3 design (which is already paid)) and Mittauer Invoice #20293 in the amount of $12,500.00 (Magnolia Point Pressure Improvement (which is already paid)) for a total of $16,000.00 for the Design Loan Agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), Drinking Water, State Revolving Fund (SRF), Loan DW 100102 for $356,800.00 for design of capital improvements to the City’s Water System. 

Passed 5 – 0 by City Council 

2. City Council approval of  Pay Request #1 in the amount of $308,653.20 to General Underground for Bid Award LC 2020-06, Reynolds Water System Improvements in the amount of $685,724.00 (Base Bid), and Alternate #1 (sewer & sewer extension to MOBRO) in the amount of $314,275.00 for a total amount of $1,049,000.00.

Passed 5 – 0 by City Council 

3. City Council approval of FY 2020 Revenue and Expenditures Report and the Quarterly Investment Report for the Period Ending June 30, 2020. 

Passed 5 – 0 by City Council 

4. City Council approval to declare items listed on Exhibit “A" as surplus and to process accordingly. 

Passed 5 – 0 by City Council 

Council Business 

1. Continued discussion of Clay County Chamber’s request to hold Annual Gala in Spring Park  - October 16, 2020.

City Council discussed the event proposal at the July 21, 2020, Council meeting and requested that the Clay Chamber find a way to serve alcohol away from Spring Park property and get Clay Emergency Manager John Ward’s feedback on hosting 250 people at Spring Park. Executive Assistant and City Event Coordinator Kimberly Thomas reported that Ronnie’s agreed to host the drink table in its parking lot, and Ward’s response to the Chamber was that with how they would have the gala set up with roaming food stations the park would be big enough to discourage gatherings and allow social distancing with an attendance of 250 people.

Even with these responses, City Council continued to be hesitant with allowing an event of that size in Spring Park, given the changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic. Council Member Matt Johnson motioned to allow the event, contingent that it’s canceled if Govenor Ron DeSantis orders the state back to Phase One reopening. Motion failed 2 -3.

Mayor Van Royal motioned to allow the event with the caveat that the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Clay County remains as they are from August 4, 2020, or better when it is reviewed by the City Council again one month before the event date of October 16, 2020. Motion passes 5 -0 by City Council. Thomas will go back to Clay Chamber with the Council’s decision. 

2. Comprehensive Plan budget request 

Planning and Zoning Director Mike Daniels presented City Council with the current state of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. He reported that the plan was completed in 2005 and updated in 2011. The plan needs to be updated every seven years to stay current, but the City requested the Department of Economic Opportunity to waive the update of the Comprehensive Plan in 2018. 

As it currently stands, the Comprehensive Plan has not been updated in nearly 10 years. Daniels recommended that the Council approve allocating $25,000 for an Urban Land Institute Technical Assistance Panel to assist staff in updating the plan, or allocate $75,000 for staff to hire a professional services consultant to create a new comprehensive plan to better reflect the current state of the City of Green Cove Springs. Daniels said that he preferred hiring a consultant over updating the current plan. City Council agreed, approving that staff proceeds with hiring a consultant in a 5 – 0 vote.

3. Discussion of and possible approval of a revision to the Stormwater mitigation credit policy 

City Manager Steve Kennedy recommended extending the deadline for mitigation credit applications to November 30, 2020, after staff evaluated the process and determined that property owners did not receive adequate notice to aallow sufficient time to properly apply for mitigation credits. Council agreed with the recommendation and approved extending the deadline to November 30, 2020, in a 5 – 0 vote. 

4. City Manager and City Attorney reports and/or correspondence 

City Manager Steve Kennedy reported that the Clay County Board of Commissioners approved the City’s CARES Act funding amount at $620,000 for proposed projects in response to COVID-19.

5. City Council reports and/or correspondence 

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