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Council conducts hearings on zoning change, street assessments PDF Print E-mail

By Jan Schultz

The Imperial Republican

Sage Addition property owners now know how much they will be assessed for new streets and drainage work, after a public hearing and adoption of a resolution by the city council this week.
That was just one of the agenda items at Monday’s twice-monthly council meeting, which also included a number of other issues.
Another public hearing Monday addressed a zoning change request by Don and Ann Kelley on north Broadway, discussion of a nuisance property, a replat request on FV Coop property, temporary street closing for an evening IVFD barbecue and discussion of pole placement for a new FM radio receiver.
Property owners in the Sage Addition will be paying for $1,450,607.49 cost of paving new streets, installation of curb and gutter and drainage work in a project last year.
Also included are property owners along West 12th St., where three additional blocks were paved bordering Sage Addition.
There were a few questions from property owners at Monday’s hearing, but no changes were made in the proposed assessment formula, which uses an average of each property’s square footage and front footage in determining what each property owner will pay.
The pie-shaped lots and varying front footage led the council to move toward the “averaging” formula. In previous Street Improvement Districts, just front footage has been used to assess property owners.
Those living along the north side of West 12th will be assessed strictly on front footage, according to the resolution.
The city is not assessing property owners for the $135,360.92 costs of paving street intersections. City funds are also paying for a $21,115.89 assessment along West 12th that borders the city’s drainage pond.
According to the resolution, property owners can pay their assessment in full by Aug. 8 with no interest. They can also pay it over a 10-year period with 8 percent interest charged. Those will be turned over to the county assessor who will add the special assessment to their annual property tax notice.
The resolution was adopted 3-0-1, with Chad Yaw abstaining. He owns property in the Sage Addition.
Zoning change
A zoning change request apparently will be withdrawn by Don and Ann Kelley after Monday’s public hearing discussion.
The couple had filed a request to change the zoning on the residential lot (R-2) they own south of their home at 1620 Broadway to highway commercial (C-1). They hope to build a 40 x 50-foot storage building on the empty lot.
The request was forwarded for council action after a 4-1 Planning Commission vote at a June 17 meeting.
Kelley indicated the building would be used to store automobiles initially with possible plans for “a glass shop or other commercial endeavor in the future,” according to Planning Commission minutes.
However, there has been some concern expressed by neighbors on the zoning change. Kelley said he took the required 10-day notice signs down at the lot in question due to issues with neighbors, which then voided any action by the council Monday.
Mayor Dwight Coleman said most of the neighbors in the area he talked with were concerned with a “full-blown commercial” lot there.
However, Kelley noted there is commercially-zoned property  all around theirs, and didn’t think seeking a change to commercial would be a problem.
Kelley said he will do whatever is needed to get the building up. He plans to seek his neighbors’ input on pursuing a variance application instead, which would be required to construct a building larger than 24 x 36 feet in a residential area. The residential lots would also have to be replatted into one lot.    
Nuisance complaint
Ongoing discussion on property at 226 West 13th St., came before the council at the request of Jeanette Munger. She and husband Larry have been at several meetings asking for a progress report on the property that was declared a nuisance last August.
At the Mungers’ request, a tree on the lot was removed last year. Owner Stewart Weiss said “truckloads” of debris have also been taken to the dump since he purchased the property last fall.
When asked by Mayor Coleman what his plans were in continuing the cleanup, Weiss said he probably will remove the house.
Munger asked that an “end date” be set for when the house is to come down.
Building Inspector/Zoning Officer Nick Schultz was asked to do an inspection of the buildings. He said, while unsightly, the property is not unsafe. He did report holes in both the house and attached garage roofs, but said it is secure from being entered.
The mayor, police chief and city’s nuisance officer will meet with Weiss in the coming weeks and have a report at the council’s Aug. 4 meeting.
Zoning on pole placement
St. Patrick Catholic Church has secured a license for streaming an FM radio station to the community. A pole is needed to set the receiver upon, and board members hoped to locate it on the parish hall property.
The hall is in a residentially-zoned area that does not list radio or communication towers for conditional use permits. They also looked to property on which St. Isidore Gift & Thrift store sits, but a pole would be too close to overhead wires there.
There is some conflicting wording in the zoning regs, said Zoning Officer Schultz, so approached the council first to see if they’d allow the Planning Commission to permit a conditional use permit application hearing for the church property.
Several had concerns with locating it in a residential area. It would be a max of 60 feet tall including the receiving equipment.
After a long discussion, the council suggested they look at other possible locations.
The council also approved closing of West 7th St., between Broadway and the alley  from 4 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 26. The Imperial Volunteer Fire Dept., will be holding a free barbecue that night as part of their annual Fun Day events.
A replat of Coop-owned property at the corner of 3rd and Broadway was approved, where an old station sits. Coop Manager Doug Ohlson said they asked to have it replatted for a possible sale of a portion of that property.