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Pembroke city council discusses development, resident concerns
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Pembroke is trying to plan for any growth coming its way.

Opponents of a proposed planned unit development in North Bryan showed up in force at Pembroke City Council’s Monday night meeting.

However, it turned out they got a reprieve: the developer, Fetzer Lakes LLC, pulled a request to have the land rezoned and annexed by the city.

The developer didn’t attend the meeting, instead emailing the city at 4:11 p.m. Monday to withdraw the request hours before the city council meeting, Pembroke City Administrator Chris Benson told council members. The developer didn’t provide a reason, Benson said.

Fetzer Lakes LLC’s proposed development would put 675 residential units on 185 acres off Wildwood Church Road and Sims Road. The same company earlier withdrew a request for the city to rezone and annex property for a similar planned unit development, known as Warnell Farms.

Several residents who signed up to speak against the Wyndham development didn’t address the council after learning the measure was pulled off the agenda. Among those who spoke was Jason Quill, a veteran who told council he moved from Effingham County to avoid the type of growth occurring elsewhere.

He told council veterans suffering from PTSD and anxiety issues sought places where they could live quietly.

“The reason I picked Pembroke was to get away from noise and people,” Quill said, asking council to “think about the people this is negatively affecting instead of just seeing the growth that most people don’t want. I promise you there’s more people in this town that love this town and don’t want to leave it, that don’t want growth here.”

Quill said a presenter at a previous council meeting said that “people loved the growth in Pooler,” adding, “I haven’t met probably one person in my life that loves the growth in Pooler. I avoid Pooler like the plague. I can’t stand it.”

One Ash Branch Manor resident, Tami Jo Hill, presented a petition to the city council with 52 names on it and read off a list of reasons ranging from environmental to public safety and property values as reasons council members should vote against the rezoning and annexation.

Another county resident, Heather Lanier, asked why the developer pulled the request and how could residents keep up with the process if it’s brought back before council.

“As far as the withdrawal is concerned we do not have clear information on that,” Mayor Tiffany Zeigler said. “We just got the email [saying] that they are withdrawing the application.”

Zeigler told Lanier the city wasn’t out looking to annex property.

“This is not the city of Pembroke looking to go out and annex anything in,’ she said. “These requests came from the property owners.”

Shortly before the council voted to go into executive session to discuss personnel, Pembroke Mayor Pro Tem Johnnie Miller asked residents to give the new administration a chance. Zeigler, a longtime councilwoman, was elected in November to succeed Judy Cook, who served five terms as mayor.

Miller said Zeigler will do well.

“She’s known in Atlanta from the governor’s office to the janitor’s office in the Capitol, “ Miller quipped, before adding that the city council is doing its best to manage growth.

“Don’t never think, day or night, 24-7, that we’re not working to control growth and keep Pembroke a very presentable town,” he said.

Council approved a number of items under its consent agenda. Among them were fundraisers by Bryan County High School’s tennis team and band boosters as well as cookie sales by Girl Scout Troop 30478, and yard sale by the Pembroke Fire Department to benefit the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society.

The city administrator was also allowed to execute contracts on behalf of the city, including an intergovernmental agreement with Bryan County for a senior center. The council also approved a measure to allow the city administrator to renew a contract with Right Spot Geospatial Services.

In addition, the council also approved by a 4-1 vote the construction of a cell tower near W.E. Smith Road. The request was made on behalf of Paul Floyd. The new tower will improve cell service in Pembroke, according to Floyd’s representative, Chris Doyle

Councilman Ed Bacon was the lone vote against the measure. He questioned the location of the tower on the property, saying it could limit future development on the property.

Other measures approved by City Council include:

  • The placement of a manufactured home at an address on Harry Hagan Road. was approved by a 5-0 vote.
  • The re-platting of a 26-lot subdivision on Waters Circle first proposed in 1960 and known as Sawgrass, was approved by a 5-0 vote. 

A previously proposed subdivision off Harry Hagan Road and known as Heritage Cove was sent back to planners. The subdivision will have to go back through planning and zoning and adjacent property owners will be notified, city council said.

The Council also got an update on the TOS Theater renovations from Benson, who said the committee working on the project had made “substantial progress,” on plans and he expected to present city council members with more information in the coming months.

Benson said the construction and architectural plans were 90 percent complete and work is being done on plans to raise funds for construction costs.

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