TOWN OF NOLENSVILLE BOARD OF MAYOR AND ALDERMEN
THURSDAY, MARCH 6, 2003
NOLENSVILLE TOWN HALL, 7:00 P.M.
Mayor Charles Knapper opened the meeting at 7:05. In attendance were Mayor Knapper, Aldermen Larry Felts, Gail Phillips and Joe Rositano. Alderman Tommy Dugger attended, although came in at approximately 7:30. Counsel Bob Notestine, Officer George Poss, Recorder Cindy Lancaster, and 20 citizens.
Mayor Knapper led the prayer and pledge.
Mayor Knapper asked that any comments in regards to the sprinkler system be held until the ordinance reading due to Alderman Dugger’s delay. At that time Mayor Knapper asked for any other concerns or comments. Mr. Larry Gardner asked for clarification on the burn permit. He stated that the permit requested an “Air Curtain Destructor”. Mr. Gardner noted that normally lots are too small to handle this large piece of equipment. He stated that this is normally for road construction and larger projects. Mr. Bob Trotter with the Franklin Fire Department stated that this is correct. Small lot burning is not allowed. It is either hauled off or mulched. Chief Hughes noted that this permit is in compliance with State and Federal laws. Counsel Notestine stated that the town must go by State and Federal law. Alderman Felts asked that with the pit burning, does it have to be on the lot, or can it be in a central location within the entire development? Mr. Gardner stated that you could have a central location within a development, although the cost and time would be much higher and not practical.
Alderman Felts made a motion to approve the minutes for the regular meeting of February 6, 2003, Alderman Rositano seconded this motion. The minutes were approved unanimously.
Alderman Rositano made a motion to accept the Treasurers report, Alderman Phillips seconded. Recorder Lancaster reported the general fund cash on hand as being $551,421.06, with cash disbursements being $50,000. State Street Aid cash on hand is $167,614.65. Mayor Knapper noted that total cash on hand was $719,035.77. The treasurer’s report was unanimously approved.
Mayor Knapper noted that there should be enough money to obtain two additional homes through the HOME Grant.
Mayor Knapper stated that he had met with two developers that are anticipating coming to Nolensville in the near future. Zoning Ordinances and subdivision regulations have been purchased to prepare for the development plans. Mayor Knapper also stated that he had met with three businessmen who are looking at Nolensville in regards to commercial usage and building. These men seem to be quite serious.
Metro Sewer conducted a pre-conference meeting. All right of ways have been obtained with the exception of three. Construction began today.
Additional bids have been secured for the striping of the road.
Signs have been purchased that were awarded from the signs grant.
The Williamson County Chamber of Commerce will be holding its annual banquet and any board member that would like to attend may do so.
The search for a Building Inspector/Codes Official is ongoing. Mayor Knapper hopes to have this position filled in the near future.
A town hall site is being reviewed and due to the sensitivity of the facility the Mayor could not divulge any further information.
The federal government is in the process of releasing funds for various COPS programs.
Frank Wilson Planning Commission Chair reported the following:
Chief Presley Hughes reported for the Nolensville Volunteer Fire Department.
In Mark Baron’s absence, Mr. Rick Fisher reported for the Chamber of Commerce.
§ A membership meeting will be held on April 8, at the Nolensville United Methodist Church. There will be a business showcase.
§ Board meeting will be held on March 31 at 5:00.
Lonnie Bowden, Director of Public Works, submitted a written report and this was disbursed to the Board. Mayor Knapper asked if there were any questions. The Aldermen did not have any questions.
Officer George Poss reported for the Police Department. Officer Poss briefly reviewed the statistics for February. He noted that 2,522 miles were driven with 237 gallons of gas being purchased. There were 37 warnings, and 32 citations written. Officer Poss stated various other statistics.
Alderman Dugger entered at 7:34.
Reading of Resolution #03-04, a resolution to amend the personnel policy to add a grievance procedure. Counsel noted this document provides a three-step program for employees to take in order to appeal a reprimand/grievance. Alderman Phillips noted that in step one the number of days had been omitted. She asked what this should be? Mayor Knapper stated that it should be three days. Mayor Knapper also noted that in step three a grievance committee was mentioned. The committee should be formed. Mayor Knapper then made a motion to amend the attachment and add the following to step three: “The Grievance Committee shall consist of two Aldermen selected by the Mayor and the Town Recorder. In the event the Town Recorder is the party bringing the grievance, the Chair of the Grievance Committee shall select a person to serve on the committee in place of the Town Recorder.” Alderman Phillips seconded this motion and this amendment passed unanimously. Alderman Rositano made a motion to pass the resolution as amended, Alderman Felts seconded and this resolution passed unanimously as amended.
Reading of Resolution #03-05, a resolution to permit the Board to participate in meetings of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen by telephonic speaker device. Counsel Notestine stated that State Law does not prohibit this act nor is there a law that addresses local governments. This resolution is to accommodate emergency situations if the need arises. It’s intent is not to allow a board member who is on vacation to use this form of meeting participation. Mayor Knapper made a motion to pass this resolution, Alderman Phillips seconded and this resolution passed unanimously.
First Reading of Ordinance #03-01, an ordinance requiring the installation of automatic fire sprinkler systems. Mayor Knapper stated that previously he had requested the citizens to refrain from commenting on the sprinkler ordinance until this time due to Alderman Dugger’s delay. Alderman Felts made a motion to pass this ordinance, Alderman Rositano seconded. Mayor Knapper then opened the floor to public comment. Mr. John Sheely with the Tennessee Home Builders Association distributed a newspaper article that showed twelve locations where sprinkler pipes had frozen this past winter. In pulling information off the NSFA website he noticed that every board member were sprinkler installer’s. Therefore this group would endorse this system.
Mr. Randy Hewlett with Prestige Homes noted that he had not attended previous meetings and asked if this was a wet or dry system? It was noted this is a wet system. He further asked how many fires had occurred in the last year? Chief Hughes stated that he did not have those figures. He additionally asked how many other cities have this ordinance? He knew Germantown and Cordova had tried something similar to this but had to revisit their ordinance. He stated that he had heard a figure of $ .80 per square foot. He stated that he had put in sprinklers all over the United States and this figure seems inaccurate. Mr. Jason Jones stated that if Mr. Hewlett had been to the other meetings he would have gotten educated like everyone else. Chief Hughes rebutted these issues. He noted that the freezing of pipes were all in commercial buildings and not in residential. The freezing was due to faulty installation. He also stated that Mayor Knapper had written data that stated the cost.
Mr. Sheely asked about insurance and the cost? Chief Hughes noted that there were reductions not additional costs. Mayor Knapper stated that he had spoken to State Farm insurance and Farm Bureau. They stated that they would give a 10% discount.
Mr. Jim Soloman stated that he had checked with his insurance company and they stated that there was no discount. The insurance company stated there was more cost due to water damage.
Mr. Frank Wilson stated that the Chief continues to say that this will be a savings to the city. He asked Chief Hughes where is the savings? The city does not own the fire department. Chief Hughes stated that the fire department had submitted figures to the board showing the economical impact. The cost was what it would cost the city to have a fire department for the town. The Mayor even indicated that these figures were low.
Mayor stated that we entered into an agreement with the fire department stating the town pays a percentage of the calls made into the Town Of Nolensville.
Chief Hughes noted that fire departments were opposed by the same people in regards to installing smoke detectors.
Mr. Jim Soloman noted that there is a new development coming south of Nolensville with 8,000 homes.
Mr. Sheely stated that Home Builders Association has never opposed hard-wired smoke detectors.
Dr. Clark asked if a wet system would be in every home. It was noted that sprinkler systems would not be required to go into homes currently built in Nolensville. He also asked if there was any alternative to the wet system. He was concerned about the water damage if the system erroneously went off.
Mr. Bob Trotter with the Franklin Fire Department stated that the only system offered in residential was the wet system.
Mayor Knapper stated that his major concern was that the public has not been educated.
Mr. Frank Wilson noted that he has lived in Nolensville all his life, approximately 70 years, and he can only remember one death from a fire. Chief Hughes stated that he recalls three. Mr. Trotter stated that in 2000 the state of Tennessee had 158 due to fires.
Mayor Knapper noted that he had met with Chief Hughes and Jason Jones to continue dialogue on this ordinance. He stated that he had serious reservations in regards to the development within the town. He noted that he has always tried to be fair, and any Alderman could have brought this ordinance to the table. He felt that in fairness to the Chief and Jason he agreed to bring it before the board. This is their day in court. The public is not educated on this issue and the homebuilders are not educated on this issue. Counsel noted to the crowd that this is an ordinance that must have two readings; therefore there must be additional consideration.
Alderman Felts stated that he had spoken with insurance companies and was quoted giving a 3-5% discount. He noted that he had a newspaper article that discussed in great detail sprinkler systems that were installed in Scottsdale, Arizona. This article indicates that the residents in Scottsdale are very much in favor of these systems installed in their residential developments. Advertisements were placed in the local newspapers informing people of the benefits of a sprinkler system in Arizona. There are going to be homes built as close as 17’ from each other in Nolensville. I don’t believe it will hurt development by implementing this ordinance.
Alderman Rositano stated that he felt it was his duty as an Alderman to not look at issues such as this through the builder’s eyes or through the fire departments eyes. I have to look at the issues in different aspects. In principal I support this ordinance, although I want to see our public educated on the “whys”. I am in agreement with the Mayor in regards to the Fire Department educating the public. If we can get some amendments I will support this ordinance.
Mayor Knapper then went point-by-point detailing the description of this ordinance. Alderman Dugger noted that R4 states six or more occupants. What if someone has five occupants? Counsel Notestine stated that he is not familiar with the building codes and would want to investigate this prior to giving his official opinion. Alderman Dugger further asked about all storage facilities. Mr. Trotter stated any building 2,500 square foot or greater.
Alderman Phillips stated that the overall ordinance is a good ordinance. A lot of research has been done in addition to many meetings in regards to the sprinkler system. Although she has a question that has not been answered. I am not sure of the sensitivity of the heads and the possibility of going off accidentally. I have spoken to someone who has had some difficulty with this situation and excessive damage has occurred. In regards to statistics, other than Arizona, the fire sprinkler systems within Tennessee have not been in the homes long enough to obtain statistics. I have spoken to an Engineer and sprinkler maintenance people who were both opposed to these systems. I am for anything that will save lives. Although, I still have hesitation.
Alderman Dugger questioned why the manufactured home could not be included. He asked does this say that a life in a manufactured home is not as important as a constructed home? Mr. Trotter stated that if you required manufactured homes it would be called retrofit.
Chief Hughes stated that 1 in 17 million heads go off accidentally. In regards to the point of not having these systems in long enough to have statistics, we are trying to correct that right now. We told the Mayor that if this passed on first reading the education campaign would be hard and fast. We expressed to him our limitations on this process. We did not want to go out and have a campaign without first getting assurance that we could get it done.
Alderman Rositano asked the temperature threshold? Mr. Trotter stated that it depends on the head, although is usually 135-150 degrees.
Alderman Felts stated that any one thing or person has not persuaded him. He has educated himself through the Internet and individual study.
Mayor Knapper stated that 300 homes were to be built off of Mullins Road, not 8,000 and this is not in our growth boundary. Chief Hughes and Alderman Felts have a concern over the closeness of the homes. These homes are not going to go up overnight. Approximately 20 homes will be built per year. I am requesting a grants man to write grants for the fire department. The public needs to understand all of this. They need to understand that this town is going to grow to 10,000 people. Homes will be built 17’ apart and that the fire department does not have aerial trucks to come in and fight fires. We cannot as a government, like we cannot as parents, protect against every eventuality and perceive any scenario that could happen. We must do what we can. I would like to propose to amend for an educational period, followed by a final date of implementation, to allow existing projects to come in under the previous perception, also I would like to include farmers who build their children a home on their property to be exempt. I expressed this to Chief Hughes and Jason on these issues. In my talks with developers I do believe this ordinance will hurt development in Nolensville.
Counsel Notestine noted that this amendment was rather large. His recommendation was to redraft the ordinance to carry out what the Mayor would like within the document. His concern is that the drafting may not be done properly. If it is the will of the board, we can sit here and write the amendment out word for word. Alderman Phillips asked if it could be an attachment. Counsel Notestine stated that it could not. Alderman Felts asked if it could be passed as is and worked on prior to the meeting next month. Counsel stated that this could be done.
Alderman Rositano asked if this should be legally tabled? Counsel Notestine stated that three options are available. 1. This can be tabled tonight, redraft it, and have first reading next month 2. Pass it as is or 3. Pass it with amendments. This has to be worded carefully.
Alderman Dugger stated that his interpretation is that the Mayor could support this ordinance if the public is educated. This cannot be made part of the ordinance; therefore it is his request in order to vote for this ordinance. Mayor stated that this only one thing that he has to have satisfied within his mind. The Mayor also noted that he was only one vote.
Alderman Felts stated that this needs to be passed tonight. The fire department can begin working on the educational process.
Alderman Dugger asked if a Resolution could be drafted to impose the education process. Counsel stated that it could, but they are an entity within themselves and it would not have to be abided by.
Mayor Knapper noted that his goal was to give the fire department time to begin and implement the educational process. Counsel Notestine stated that you would not have to bring the ordinance back for second reading until the 90 days were complete.
Jason Jones addressed the board, noting that the educational portion should be performed on “good faith”. If the Fire Department does not educate the public the board will be aware of this and you can look at us and make up your mind if the Department did what it was suppose to do.
Mayor Knapper stated that he is very strong about these amendments and they are very aware of that. There was much discussion on the amendments. The Mayor stated that he wanted the date of implementation to be September 15, 2003.
Mayor Knapper made a motion to amend the ordinance Section 6. Miscellaneous Provisions as follows:
(F) Implementation of this ordinance as to one and two family dwellings described in Group R3 shall be delayed until September 15, 2003.
(G) Buildings in subdivision of three lots or less shall be exempt from this ordinance.
(H) Existing development property on projects in which the developer has submitted to a sketch plan, preliminary plat or is in any stage of approval by the Planning Commission are exempt from this ordinance.
Alderman Rositano seconded the motion to amend. Mayor Knapper noted that it is a good faith 90-day education period. This amendment passed with three in favor of the amendment Alderman Phillips and Rositano and Mayor Knapper. Alderman Dugger and Felts voted against this amendment.
Mr. Trotter asked if this would change the language in number 8 to reflect this date. Counsel Notestine stated that the date of September 15, 2003 should be in this section. Mayor Knapper noted that he did not want to include the commercial buildings in the September 15, 2003 date. Commercial construction should abide by this ordinance once passed. Therefore the date should not be in Section 8.
Alderman Dugger stated that this ordinance has been kicked around for eleven months. Alderman Felts stated that if he remembered correctly when Callaway Farms came before the Board they were told that the town was in the process of reviewing conditions and there may be conditions forthcoming. Mayor Knapper stated that the board did not specifically address to them the sprinkler ordinance. Alderman Felts stated that he believed this was addressed to this development group. Mayor Knapper then called for the vote as amended. Aldermen Phillips and Rositano and Mayor Knapper voted for this ordinance as amended. Aldermen Dugger and Felts voted against. This ordinance passed on first reading as amended.
Alderman Dugger made a motion to adjourn, Alderman Rositano seconded and the meeting adjourned at 9:30.
Respectfully submitted, Approved,
Cindy Lancaster Charles F. Knapper
Town Recorder Mayor