CITY OF COLUMBIA
CITY COUNCIL WORK SESSION MINUTES
January 10, 2001
9:00 AM - City Council Chambers - Second Floor - 1737 Main Street
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The Columbia City Council met for a Work Session, Wednesday, January 10, 2001 in the Council Conference Room.  Mayor Robert D. Coble called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m.  Council members present were:  The Honorable E.W. Cromartie, The Honorable Francenia B. Heizer, The Honorable Jim Papadea, The Honorable Anne M. Sinclair, The Honorable Hamilton Osborne, Jr., and The Honorable Sam Davis.  Also attending were Mr. Michael A. Bierman, City Manager and Ms. Peggy S. Breeland, City Clerk.  Mayor Coble left the meeting at 10:00 a.m. to attend a presentation at the University of South Carolina.

1. Review of Zoning Public Hearing Agenda (10:00 a.m.)

Mr. Bierman reviewed items on the rezoning public hearing agenda.  He stated that Items 3, 7, 8, and 9 were withdrawn.

Ms. Sinclair stated that she received multiple messages regarding Item 9 - Request to rezone property at 1703 Blossom Street and it is her understanding that the University was in charge of reworking it and that it will possibly back on the agenda.  Ms. Sinclair noted that residents along Devine Street are not in favor of the current request.

2. Palmetto Soft Incubator Project

Council asked this item be held over.

3. Export Consortium Request

Council asked this item be held over.

4. Appointments

Council asked this item be held over.

5.  Contract and Legal Matters

Upon motion by Mayor Coble, seconded by Mr. Cromartie, Council voted to go into executive session at 9:40 a.m. to discuss a land acquisition contract.  Mr. Osborne did not participate in discussions regarding SCANA.

Council returned to open session at 11:20 a.m.

6. ITEMS FOR COUNCIL REVIEW

A. Ordinance - First Reading
 

1. Ordinance No. 2001-001 - Authorizing the Conveyance of Approximately 205
Acres of Property by the City to Project Spider.

 
Upon motion by Mayor Coble, seconded by Ms. Sinclair, Council unanimously voted to give first reading approval to Ordinance 2001-001.  Mr. Papadea, Ms. Heizer, and Mr. Osborne did not vote on this item due to a potential conflict of interest.

B. Council approved a request to purchase a metal frame addition to Greenview
Park Community Center for the Parks and Recreation Department. Award
contract to Mesco Metal Buildings, the low bidder, at a cost of $17,059.51.

Upon motion by Mr. Davis, seconded by Mr. Osborne, Council unanimously voted to approve the request to purchase a metal frame addition to Greenview Park Community Center.

7. Zoning - Landscape Section Discussion

Mr. Land distributed copies of the proposed landscape ordinance.  Mr. Bierman stated that discussions will be continued at future work session agenda.

Council requested that City Staff review and replace any landscaping that was removed from property located behind the Jewish Community Center.

8. First Tee Discussion

Mr. Jim Lawracy briefed Council on the status of the First Tee Project.  Mr. Lawaracy stated that when the City first approved the project, last year about this time, the City was notified that there were graves on the site and could physically see depressions on the ground.  He stated that he spoke to the State Secretary in an attempt to find out who was there and how many graves were there.  He said that the Dept. of Mental Health did not know how many.  The Department told him that the last time it was used was sometime prior to 1926.  He was told that the local county corner was the responsible party.  At that time he contacted Mr. Barron. We had a rough map from the State showing where they were and could see some out there.  He outlined to him at the time that we were going to remove the trees put some soil on top of it, irrigate and grass the field and how this process would take place.  He stated that Mr. Barron was very comfortable and very complementary to the City of the time and effort the City was going to take and to preserve the site.  There were two marked mass internments on the west side of the property behind the apartments.

Mr. Charles Williams spoke to Council regarding the railroad relocation project.  He stated that in the early 1980's when the City started the Congaree Vista relocation of the railroad tracks, the city relocated about 34 bodies that were removed and buried on this site.

Mr. Lawracy stated that those two sites have markers and it is known what had happened at these locations.  There were not markers or exact maps of what was out there.  Mr. Lawracy stated that staff took the map that was given to the city which gave an approximate location and recorded what could be seen by hand.  He stated that Mr. Barron, Richland County Cornor, approved the city=s plans and remarked that the city had done a good job recording  who was there, how long, and when was the last time it was used.

Mr. Cromartie informed Council that Ms. Bellfield asked on her behalf that to thank the City, Mr. Williams, and the Department of Parks and Recreation on what they have been doing.

 
Mr. Lawracy stated that the Department of Mental Health was planning a ground penetrating radar of the site.  He stated that staff met with Dr. Mauer and with a group of 5 Advisory Board Members who are working on a project in conjunction with the USC Department of Archives and History.  Mr. Lawracy noted that the City has given permission to complete a ground penetrating radar to find out exactly how many graves are out there and their location.  He noted that the city surveys have picked up the boundary and have discovered that it=s beyond where the State said it was and they are going to come back to identify the areas and those boundaries will be transferred to our survey.
 

Mr. Williams stated that we believe that all the bodies are buried on the back end of the site.  They are no where near the area where most of the activity will take place.  The graves are located in the area where balls will be landing.  There=s no construction plan for this area.

Mr. Williams stated that there are no bodies within 300 yards practically of Sleigh Avenue.

Mr. Lawracy  that the closest body or disturbance of soil that staff found is probably 200 to 300 feet north of the tee box.

Mr. Davis asked if the balls would land in the grave site areas.

Mr. Bierman stated that they would land on the grass.

Mr. Lawracy stated that the City in accordance with Mr. Barrons instructions tried to determine if there was any physical presence of a body in a couple of places where staff could actually see depressions.  He said that there was no resistance down to a depth of 5 foot.  Mr. Lawracy further stated that he felt that staff has done a sensitive and caring restoration of the area that has not be touched since 1926.

Mr. Papadea suggested that a plaque be placed in the area.

Ms. Sinclair feels that the City has done the right thing.  She informed Council that a group has come together do a historical survey on how the Dept. of Mental Health have handled people who died with no family.  She noted that this is completely separate and apart from what the City was doing.

Ms. Heizer asked that Council and Staff continue to be sensitive and to be aware that the symbolism of this activity may be offensive to others with a different point of view.  The symbolism of that from the point of view from some people would be very troublesome.

Ms. Heizer asked how far from the driving range are the grave sites.

Mr. Williams responded that from the tee box was approximately 200 yards away from the grave sites.

Mr. Davis asked what would be the cost of removing the bodies.

Mr. Lawracy responded that Mr. Barron preferred that the City did not remove the bodies and that it would be cost prohibitive.  He recommended that the City continue what they are doi