The Peculiar Board of Aldermen held two public hearings Monday, June 3, at the Peculiar City Hall. The first publicly heard topic concerned the fence regulations for the city. Cliff McDonald, City staff member for the Planning and Zoning commission, presented the changes. Chapters 400 and 500 of the Zoning Regulations for the City are “redundant” according to McDonald, and the changes will just put the regulations all in one place. Some of the fence regulations for the City include a six foot limit on fence heights on the sides and rear of a property and a 42-inch limit on the front. There were no public comments.
The second aspect of the public hearing portion of the meeting regarded the application for rezoning of 21712 N. Main Street from C-1, General Business District, to I-1, Light Industrial District, as submitted by Noble Refrigeration, Inc. The area of land, located just west of I-49 between 217th and 218th Streets, is largely zoned as Light Industrial already, except for the plot of land owned by Noble Refrigeration. Previously the Planning and Zoning commission unanimously passed the application, and it is up to the Aldermen to proceed.
Alderman Bob Fines brought up the issue of future growth for the city and how that would affect the traffic flow around the property. Fines expressed his belief that new businesses should “help out” with the condition of Main Street as its state worsens. Fines said the road is “already a mess” and that more traffic will make it worse.
Alderman Veronica Ray stated that any time a vacant lot is filled by a business it is a positive move for the city and that this business will not bring heavy traffic to the area.
During the time for public comments, Sherry Noble, who co-owns Noble Refrigeration with her husband Rob, explained that the company employs eleven people, and none of them come to the office except for Mondays to turn in their time. The company plans on building an office on the land in the next one to two years.
Jerry Kerr, who has owned land at 217th and Main Street for twenty years, also spoke. He said he was “very much in favor” of the company’s presence on the property. “Basically, I’m tired of mowing it and picking up trash,” Kerr continued. However, he also expressed that new businesses need to help improve the road and “pay their fair share.”
In the business portion of the meeting, the Aldermen voted in favor of an ordinance authorizing the City to enter into a lease purchase transaction. The proceeds will be used to pay the costs of refinancing an outstanding lease obligation of the city. The Board also approved a temporary liquor license for the Peculiar Band Boosters Tractor Pull on June 13.
For topics of discussion, the Aldermen were introduced to the Tree City U.S.A. program which gives participating cities national recognition for preserving trees. Nathan Musteen presented the program to the Board, and all seemed in favor.
Sidewalk improvements for the City were also discussed. A possible solution presented was for residents to pay for the full amount of a sidewalk replacement on their property, with the City regulating and organizing the process. Another option that was brought up considered a 50-50 process, as Peculiar has offered before, where the resident pays for 50% of the construction for a new sidewalk and the City pays the other 50%.
A statute presented by Nick Jacobs, if passed, would serve as a guide for sidewalk repair. The Aldermen still need to discuss details of the process.
Finally, Nick Jacobs also presented the idea of the Board of Aldermen going paperless in its operations. Digital tablets in place of paper would save on City expenses, though the exact figure was not available.
In the closing remarks, Jacobs and Brad Ratcliff stated that the City of Peculiar’s new website will be up and running within the next two weeks. The site will be much easier to navigate and allow residents to communicate with City officials more efficiently.
The next Board of Aldermen meeting is set for Monday, June 17.