Four new councilmembers, myself included, were sworn-in to our term on Jan. 6, 2020. In late Jan, several of us (pictured) went to Atlanta to meet with our Governor and other State officials.
Attended the first of many Georgia Municipal Assocation (GMA) training events.
Updated Planning & Zoning
With the input of my fellow councilmembers, we updated the P&Z board to re-add citizen volunteer board members. The new board is 3 citizen members with 1 alternate, and three city staff members.
No amount of training could prepare us for how drastically the world would change. The city assisted with rolling food banks and provided direct help through the United Way.
Pipemakers Canal Widening Phase 1
Council approved the start of the Pipemakers Canal Phase 1 Improvement Project, from Bloomingdale to Pooler Parkway. Project was completed in Summer 2021 and has drastically reduced the amount of on-road standing water in Godley Station during heavy rainstorms and weather events.
Comprehensive Plan 2020 Update
Aaron joined the Comp Plan Committee in the Fall of 2020 to help the city begin updating, with help from the MPC, the Comprehensive Plan. The final Comp Plan 2040 was released in October 2021.
Zoning Ordinance Update
A complete overhaul of the Pooler Zoning Ordinance was a months-long process that culminated in modernization of our development guidelines and laws. Including a requirement developers provide traffic studies and the required improvements, increased buffers, and building standards.
We first updated our tree protection ordinance in Summer 2020, and later strengthened it in Fall 2021 (as an update), and then overhauled the tree ordinance and added further requirements elsewhere in our city’s code in Fall 2022.
Pine Barren Traffic Study
The city commissioned a traffic study of Pine Barren from Bloomingdale City Limits to US-80. The results of which have been incorporated into the city’s plans for improvements as well as future developments along the corridor.
GMA Annual Conference
Attended the first post-COVID GMA Conference in Savannah where I attended several courses and met with fellow local leaders from cities throughout Georgia. And where I was awarded the Certificate of Recognition for earning over 42 Credits.
Alcohol Ordinance Rewrite
Working with my fellow councilmembers, I rewrote our decades-old alcohol ordinance to reflect changes in state law and our community’s needs. This ordinance included allowing brew pubs, licensing caterers, creating “beer gardens” for special events, and much more.
Blue Moon Xing Upgrade
When Savannah Quarters asked for additional houses, I stipulated that they improve Blue Moon Crossing by Fall 2023 or they could not build additional houses in Savannah Quarters. The improvements were completed in Summer 2023.
We commissioned a year-long study of US-80 from Effingham to the Port entrance. The draft of the study will be released in 2023.
I also met with our city staff and our traffic consultant from Kimley-Horn to lay out the scope of desired improvements based on the current study results.
Tennis & Sports Fields Expansion
Using SPLOST 7 funds, we approved work to expand the sports fields and add tennis & pickleball courts to the Pooler Recreation Complex were approved. To be completed Summer/Fall 2023.
Quacco Rd Upgrades
A public information session was held in November 2022 just before the “shovel” work began. This SPLOST-funded project is now underway to add traffic signals, turn lanes, and sidewalks to Quacco Rd from Canal Bank Rd to Westbrook Ln. Significant work will start in 2023 and will take 12-18 months to complete.
Godley Station Traffic Improvements
With T-SPLOST failing to pass in the 2022 election, we went back to the drawing board to see what improvements may give us the biggest bang for the buck. Preliminary engineering comments are pending (as of this writing).
Certificate of Excellence
In the Fall of 2022, I completed over 120 hours of elected official training. In January, 2023 I received my certificate at GMA’s Cities United in Atlanta.
Municipal Training Board
In the summer of 2023, I was nominated (and accepted) a seat on the University of Georgia’s Carl Vision Institute of Government Municipal Training Board for the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute (simply called the Municipal Training Board or MTB). The MTB provides oversight for the institute’s training program designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of Georgia’s city officials in municipal matters. I’ll serve a 4-year term as a representative of GMA District 12.
The summer retreat is one of our larger goal setting and idea sharing meetings. As of this writing, the retreat is in just a few weeks, and it will set the stage for the next 6 months or so of council meetings and topics we’ll be voting on in the future.
What does 2023 bring?
On the horizon there are many more projects and progress to be made. I am honored to serve our city this year.