Neighborhood Planning Assembly Meeting Minutes
March 21, 2023 at 6pm
Steering Committee Members Present:
- Tyler Jones
- Allen Rosing
- Thea Ramirez
Welcome and Introductions
Steering Committee Members identified themselves for the meeting.
Business Spotlight: Live Oak Fiber
Pam Thompson with Live Oak Fiber provided a brief overview of a new company with a mission to ensure everyone has an opportunity to connect to broadband. With 150 million dollars of private equity investment behind it, Live Oak Fiber launched in 2022 to fill a gap in the marketplace where state and federal dollars were not directing resources to ensure markets like Brunswick had service.
Pam is the Director of Development with Live Oak Fiber, head quartered on Gloucester Street across the street from the Post Office. Currently the company is working with the city to get fiber to Howard Coffin Park, and beginning work off of Highway 17, Exit 29, ,and Emmanuel Church Road.
Two gigs of fiber costs $99/month with no data caps on contracts. Businesses and apartment complexes can meet with Live Oak Fiber individually to find best price/solution. For questions or to find out if you live in an area that will be serviced within 90 days go to liveoakfiber.com
Review of Proposed Bylaw Changes
Tyler reviewed the changes to the NPA Bylaws which largely consisted of changing the language from prescriptive meeting dates and times and roles within the steering committee. Current Steering Committee members advocated for greater flexibility to allow Steering Committee members to decide on meeting dates/times and how to fulfill key roles.
Motion to change the bylaws accepted unanimously.
Review of Candidates for Steering Committee Positions
Thea Ramirez nominated Stephanie Jacobs to the Historic NPA Steering Committee. Stephanie introduced herself. She has grown up in Glynn County for most of her life and has lived in downtown Brunswick for 5 years. Stephanie loves the community.
Motion to accept Thea’s nomination passed unanimously.
Tyler Jones put forward a motion to extend Tyler, Thea’s and Allan’s time on the Historic NPA by one additional year so that they can help the new members of the Steering Committee as the get acclimated to their roles. Motion passed unanimously.
Further nominations were postponed until the end of the meeting to allow time for other nominees to arrive.
Open Forum: Discussion of Vagrancy/Homeless Issue
Tyler Jones introduced the purpose of the open forum meeting was to collectively identify and pass a resolution the Historic NPA could present to the City Commission at their next meeting in April.
Several members of the Historic NPA voiced their concern about the homeless issue and the city’s response to it. Many questioned why certain laws and ordinances were not being enforced on homeless shelters and other service organizations. Of note, according to one member, up to five different chapters and codes are being habitually violated by the Well.
A member read through a list of potential recommendations she has shared with city officials to curb negative actions at the Well which include but are not limited to, placing the Well on probation until they address the concerns of the community.
In addition to voicing concerns about the Well, some members questioned why the city does not have a strategic, long term, coordinated plan and why offenders are so quickly released after an arrest is made.
Chief Jones responded to the specific question about jail release and educated members that it is up to the Magistrate Judge to release an inmate if the inmate is faced with indigent circumstances (ie: cannot afford bail). Chief Jones explained this is the result of a lawsuit against Glynn County and is up to the Magistrate Judge to enforce.
Thea Ramirez encouraged the Historic NPA to encourage the City Commission to review ordinances created by the Mayor in LaGrange, Georgia- that require day and night shelters, or service centers to apply for a special use permit, which can be revoked for nuisance behavior.
The following motions were passed and will be presented to the City Commission as a Resolution of the Historic NPA.
Motion: Instruct city to close The Well by any means possible.
Passes with some objections.
Motion: To ask City Commission why police department is operating at less than 50% capacity.
Passes with some objections.
Motion: Ask the City Commission to review LaGrange Group home ordinance and provide feedback.
Motion: Asks the City Commission to enforce ordinances/codes on the books.
Motion: Asks City Commission to instruct code enforcement to secure or raze abandoned homes.
Motion: Asks City Commission to work with the County and create a homeless oversight commission.
Motion: Asks City Commission to introduce a blight tax.
Motion: Asks City Commission for a plan to be established to expect standards of The Well (If not closed) with penalties invoked if standards are not met.
Motion: To ask the Historic NPA to investigate hiring an attorney.
Motion: To pass this resolution to the City Commission.
City of Brunswick
Commissioner Martin and Mayor Pro Tem Harris attended the meeting and addressed some of the questions raised by members during the open forum on vagrancy and homelessness. Both city officials stated they were working on ways to curb the vagrancy issues in downtown Brunswick but did not have the authority to shut down the Well.
Chief Jones shared the recent crime report and encouraged residents to lock their cars at night. Every car theft and break in that has occurred over the past 30 days, the vehicle was not locked and in some cases the keys were left in the vehicle. Chief Jones also shared the Brunswick Police Department is at operating at only 40% capacity. They are severely short staffed but continue to respond to calls and engage in foot patrol.
The following members were nominated and voted unanimously to be added to the Steering Committee.
- Travis Stegall of Union Street
- Ryan Moore of Dartmouth Street
- Chris Moline of Union Street
They, along with Stephanie Jacobs of Prince Street, join for 2-year terms while Allan Rosing of Carpenter Street, Tyler Jones of Carpenter Street and Thea Ramirez of Egmont Street will serve one-year remaining term.
The next Historic NPA meeting is scheduled for Tuesday May 16, 2023, at 6pm.
Click here to view the final resolution as presented to the City Commission.