CITY OF HIAWATHA
CITY COMMISSION MINUTES
MONDAY, JUNE 4, 2007
at 5:35 P.M.
HIAWATHA CITY HALL
723 OREGON ST.
1. Pledge of Allegiance/ Call to Order
The Hiawatha City Commission met in regular session on Monday, June 4, 2007, at 5:35 p.m. at City Hall with Mayor Gernon, Commissioner Denton, and Commissioner Sheeran present. Commissioner Shamburg arrived at 6:02 p.m. Commissioner Collins was absent.
2. Approval of the Minutes of the May 29, 2007, City Commission meeting.
Commissioner Sheeran made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Denton, to approve the minutes of the May 29, 2007, City Commission meeting as presented. Motion carried. 2 ayes. 1 abstain. Mayor Gernon abstained.
3. CONSENT AGENDA
a. Appropriation Ordinance #1122 in the amount of $27,484.50.
b. Approve payment to State Treasurer for Series B, 2006 Post Lantern Streetlight Bond in the amount of $70,000.00 for Principal and $39,448.13 for Interest, a total payment of $109,448.13.
c. Approve payment to Torgeson Electric for May Post Lantern Streetlight Construction of $172,845.00.
Commissioner Denton made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Sheeran, to approve the Consent Agenda as presented. Motion carried. 3 ayes.
a. Poppy Day June 15, 2007 Proclamation.
Mayor Gernon read and signed the Proclamation for Poppy Day, June 15, 2007.
b. Jerry Lindstrom, White Cloud Grain, approached the Commission concerning their water bill which was higher than normal and indicated that the company had used over 13,000 gallons, about ten times the normal usage. He said that they could not possibly have used that much water. The City had verified the meter reading and found it to be correct. The meter dial did not indicate any leaks. Their contention was that the meter was faulty.
Mayor Gernon asked Rick Koenig, Water Superintendent, for his input on the matter.
Koenig said that he checked the meter and then he had pulled the meter and tested it. The meter failed, but actually failed on the slow side. He retested it to be sure. He said that he was puzzled by the results. He then called the distributor for the meters, who said that they did not normally have a problem with them.
Commissioner Sheeran asked Mr. Lindstrom if there was an outside hydrant that could have had an unauthorized use.
Mr. Lindstrom said that he checked the water flow and figured it would have taken about 15 hours to run that much extra water through, so didn’t think that anyone would have spent that much time out there doing that.
Mr. Lindstrom said that since the meter tested slow, it obviously was not working correctly.
Mayor Gernon asked Lindstrom if they were asking for abatement on their bill, and said that he could not see where the City was at fault.
Donna Thonen spoke up and said that they had the same thing happen at the Ag Museum, the cause of which was a toilet running and ran about 14,000 gallons had run through, so it could happen from a leak.
Mayor Gernon said that there was no evidence that the problem was on the City side, other than the fact that the City may have been undercharging them. He said that the City does have a policy on abatement. He said that a toilet running can cause a lot of water usage. Mr. Lindstrom said that they had tested the toilets and did not see any indication that they leaked.
Commissioner Sheeran asked Koenig if he was sure that they have a good meter in there now, said that the City needs to try to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Koenig said that they had installed a new meter.
Mayor Gernon said that they could not go against what they had set as water policy without some hard proof that there was a problem on the City side.
Commissioner Denton pointed out that the meter readings done on the 18th and the 21st were using the original meter, and did not indicate a bigger usage. She said that it seemed to only be [higher usage] during the time frame before the last meeting. She said that toilets will do that.
Commissioner Sheeran said that the City should make a commitment to White Cloud Grain to make sure that they would watch it closely.
Mr. Lindstrom said that they would try to check their meter as well.
Mayor Gernon asked Koenig to check more frequently for the next month or so to be sure that the meter is working properly. He said that they do value White Cloud Grain, that they are a good employer in the City, but in this particular case, without proof that there was something that caused the City to overcharge them for their water, he felt it was equally plausible that there was a leak.
No abatement was given.
5. Review Goodman property situation at 107 Shawnee.
Administrator Ladner said that this had been brought before the Commission on May 26. The Goodman’s indicated at that time that they were working with their bank to get a loan to make the repairs, and would return this week. She said that the Goodman’s were present at tonight’s meeting.
Mrs. Goodman reported that the bank would not help them at this time. Since they still owed money on the house, she thought that it would be easier to get the money to fix the house up so that they could continue making rent money off of it to make the bank payments with.
Mrs. Goodman questioned why the windows and doors needed to be replaced right now, why they were unsafe.
Malcolm Grier, Code Enforcement Officer, said that the windows did not fit the openings, so were allowing air passage, and that the back door does not seal. He said that they would have to go by the Municipal Code to fix it up.
Mayor Gernon said that this house had been a problem with the City since 2002, and that after four weeks of negotiations this time, nothing had been done.
Mrs. Goodman said that she had someone to work on the house, but didn’t know when he was going to start.
Mayor Gernon told them that he was worried about the safety of the house. He said that from the City’s perspective, it was going to take a lot of money to fix it up.
Commissioner Sheeran asked if the Goodman’s could contact the repairman and get a date that he could start. He told them that as a council, they needed a time line, and that it doesn’t make any sense to continue it if they can’t get it lined up for the repairs.
Grier said that his main concern was not only the caved-in wall in the basement, but the interior support wall, and that there are other issues involved that do not meet City code.
Commissioner Denton asked the Goodman’s if they had insurance. Mrs. Goodman said that they did but that flooding is not covered.
Mayor Gernon told them that they need to make a decision. He told them that he thinks they are looking at a large sum of money to fix it up.
Mrs. Goodman said that they had a bid from Louis Scates for the basement.
Mayor Gernon said that he doesn’t want the house looking like that two years from now. He asked them if they had the funding to do the work.
Mrs. Goodman said that they knew it would cost about $3000 to tear it down, but then they would have an empty lot and nothing to rent out to finish paying off the house. They still owe money on the house at the bank.
Grier told them that it could cost $16,000 to $18,000 to fix just the basement wall.
Mayor Gernon asked them if they understood that fixing up the house meant that it would need to be fixed up to code. He told them that the Commission would want to see actual cost estimates for the repairs and proof that financing was available to fix it. He asked for a Memorandum of Understanding from them prepared by the City Attorney that it will get done soon, or not at all. He said that he didn’t think that the property was worth the money to fix it up. He reminded them that the property had been condemned.
The Goodman’s said that they were willing to take the steps to fix the house.
The matter was tabled until next week.
6. Review Garland property situation at 705 Shawnee.
Malcolm Grier, Code Enforcement Officer, said that the City had received a letter from Ms. Garland stating that she was willing to remove the front porch on the house at 705 Shawnee, and had hired a local person to keep the lawn mowed. Ms. Garland asked for 45 days to make the necessary repairs, and indicated that she was going to try again to sell the property. Grier said that he wanted to add to the letter from Mrs. Garland that the foundation also needed to be repaired in a specific area.
The Commission agreed to allow her the 45 days to make repairs.
7. Review Carre property situation at 812 Cherokee.
Administrator Ladner read a letter that had been submitted to her this morning. The letter said that Chapel Oaks Funeral Home had filed a claim on the residence to seek payment for Genevieve Carre’s funeral. The estate is currently in probate. The letter asked the City to delay action to demolish the property as any action taken by the City at this time would only prolong the probate. Until the estate is settled, arrangements have been made to keep the lawn mowed and cleaned up.
Mayor Gernon said that if the property is secured and mowed, that they could wait until the estate is settled.
Malcolm Grier, Code Enforcement Officer, said that someone has been mowing it and that it was easy to secure the property. He said that he had no problems with waiting.
No further action was taken at this time.
8. Hiawatha Chamber Request for Summerfest Planning.
Jerry Gifford, Hiawatha Chamber of Commerce, approached the Commission to ask if downtown streets could be blocked off for Summerfest on Saturday, June 30, 2007. Beth Spicer, Hiawatha Chamber of Commerce secretary, said that they would also like to have an area blocked off for the pet parade and for the bike rodeo. She said that she had contacted the businesses on Seventh Street, and no one had any objections. She asked that on Saturday, the City block off parking all day in the 700 block of Oregon Street, and from Sixth Street to Eighth Street on Oregon from 2:30 p.m. for the Pet Parade until it is over, and block off the 700 block on Oregon from 2:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Ms. Spicer said that the 100 block of South Seventh also needed to be blocked off on Sunday, July 1, 2007, for a Sesquicentennial event from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Commissioner Shamburg made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Denton, to block off the parking on the 700 block of Oregon Street all day on Saturday, June 30, 2007, for Summerfest events; to block Oregon Street from Sixth Street to Eighth Street for the Pet Parade from 2:30 p.m. until the parade is over; to block off the 700 block of Oregon Street from 2:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.; and on Sunday, July 1, 2007, to block of the 100 block of South Seventh for a Sesquicentennial event. Motion carried. 4 ayes.
9. Hiawatha Chamber Emergency Services Appreciation Invitation.
Beth Spicer approached the Commission concerning the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Appreciation Reception at Silver Lake Bank on Monday, June 18, 2007, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. She asked that the Commission set the City Commission meeting on June 18 for one hour later so that everyone may attend.
Commission Sheeran made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Shamburg, to change the meeting time on June 18, 2007, to 6:30 p.m. Motion carried, 4 ayes.
10. Consider approval of Planning Commission recommendation to set the maximum size of accessory structures and the maximum number of accessory structures for properties located within the City limits.
Administrator Ladner told the Commission that the Planning Commission had reviewed properties located within the City limits and is recommending an amendment to the Zoning Regulations placing a limitation on the number of accessory structures to no more than three structures.
The Planning Commission is also recommending an amendment to the Zoning Regulations limiting the total square footage of accessory structures on individual properties to:
For properties less than one acre, 900 square feet or less than 30% of the required rear yard.
For properties from one to two acres, 1200 square feet or less than 30% of the required rear yard.
For properties from two to five acres, 1500 square feet or less than 30% of the required rear yard.
Accessory structures are structures on the property that are secondary to the principal use and include but are not limited to: detached garages, garden/utility sheds, and animal shelters. Car ports are not considered accessory structures.
Dean Tollefson, citizen, asked that the Commission consider a limit of five outbuildings instead of three. He said that he knew of a lot of homes in Hiawatha that already had more than three outbuildings.
Administrator Ladner said that existing properties would not be affected by this. She said that the reason they decided to approach this was that the City has had several requests for people to put up more structures in their yards, and that present regulations do not address this issue.
Donna Thonen, Planning Commission Committee, said that she agreed with the proposal.
Commissioner Sheeran asked if a gazebo and a rock garden would be considered as two of the three structures. Administrator Ladner answered that the gazebo would be; the rock garden would not.
Mayor Gernon said that he assumed that a variance could be applied for.
Commissioner Shamburg said that he felt that this Zoning Regulation was too restrictive, that the property owners should be allowed to put in their yards what they like.
Mayor Gernon asked that the committee look at this again, and asked for one of the Commissioners to meet with the committee. Commissioner Denton offered to meet with them.
No further action was taken.
11. Consider approval of Planning Commission recommendation to set the minimum square footage for new single family homes in areas zoned for single family residential at 960 square feet.
Administrator Ladner said that with the growth of new homes in the Hiawatha area, the Planning Commission is recommending an amendment to the existing Zoning Regulations setting the minimum main floor square footage for newly constructed single family homes in areas zoned for single family residential at 960 square feet.
The decision was influenced by the CDBG Housing Grant applied for by the City in 2006, for which any property with less than 700 square feet was not eligible for help had the City received the grant.
This regulation would not apply to multi-family dwellings such as duplexes and apartment complexes nor would it apply to homes located in R-4 areas.
Commissioner Sheeran asked what R-4 areas were.
Administrator Ladner said that an R-4 area was mobile home parks for manufactured homes.
Mayor Gernon said that he thought there needed to be a regulation setting a minimum size.
Commissioner Sheeran made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Denton, to approve the recommendation by the Planning Commission to amend the City’s Zoning Regulations to set the minimum main floor square footage for newly constructed single family homes in areas zoned for single family residential at 960 square feet. Motion carried. 4 ayes.
12. Lynne Ladner, City Administrator.
Administrator Ladner told the Commission that the Davis Memorial had been selected as one of the 24 finalists for the 8 Wonders of Kansas by the State, and will be voted on via internet to see if it will be named as such. Several hundred different places had been entered. She encouraged everyone to cast their vote on this. Being listed as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas could increase tourism.
13. Mayor Gernon.
Mayor Gernon commented again that it was important that the City address the housing issue, and wanted the Goodman’s to be sure that they understand what they will be required to do.
14. Com. William Collins.
15. Com. Vicki Denton.
Commissioner Denton asked if Administrator Ladner had been able to find out anything on the traffic problem at First and Oregon.
Administrator Ladner said that she had talked to the State about it. They are to send her a copy of the most recent Road Safety Analysis that has been done.
16. Com. Steffen Shamburg
17. Com. John Sheeran.
Commissioner Sheeran made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Denton, to adjourn. Motion carried. 4 ayes. Meeting adjourned at 6:48 p.m.