Progress continues along Lincoln Avenue with the rezoning of two parcels by the City Council at Monday nights meeting.
The City of Fennimore Common Council kicked off the meeting by accepting the recommendation on the rezoning of two separate parcels on the North side of town. The parcels are tucked between Bender’s Foods and Bard Materials. The home next to Bard Materials will be now zoned residential and the empty parcel will be zoned Highway Commercial.
“The potential developer got everything figured out for the size of the pond and everything worked out,” Mayor Ryan Boebel said,noting that the potential developer would be adding a storm retention pond included in the potential development. Some discussion of roads between the potential development and Bender’s Foods was also had.
The Council was also visited by Kurt Muchow from Vierbicher regarding Blight Determination of the newly amended Tax Increment District (TID) Number 6.
Muchow shared that they have been conducting a property condition investigation over the last couple of weeks. Another representative from Vierbicher came to the city and “photographed and made visual observation and combined with information from the DNR to see if the properties met the definition of blighted.”
Muchow explained to the council that the term ‘blighted’ goes past “the traditional idea of blighted being a rundown building.”
“There are a lot of factors that go into what is defined as blighted,” Muchow shared.
Their findings concluded that a “vast majority we feel is blighted and sufficient documentation exists to support this.”
As part of the process for the TID amendment, letters will be sent to property owners explaining that their property is blighted.
“Telling property owners that their property is blighted can raise a lot of questions,” Muchow noted. “It can be an uncomfortable process.”
Muchow clarified that to have a property be blighted and included in the TID is “not a disadvantage.”
“This could make them eligible for TIF assistance in the future or a plus to potential sellers to be in the TID,” Muchow said.
“As part of your services do you have a letter format explaining that this ruling is not all bad,” questioned Alder Pete Adam.
Muchow agreed to provide some type of letter to property owners as requested. Mayor Boebel also noted he would put the notice on the Mayor’s and City’s Facebook page when it became available.
“We’ve done this before, but not recently at this scale,” Mayor Boebel noted of the blight findings.
“Blight is one of those words that sounds worse than it is,” Adam noted.
“It’s all part of progress,” Boebel concluded.
“We’re still the City on the Move!” Alder Jonah Roth quipped.
While Muchow was available at the meeting the council also approved funding not to exceed $3,000 to have Vierbicher assist the city on a grant that “will allow us to improve our infrastructure but also create a safe path to part of the city to get to the ball diamonds.”
Discussion was had by the council regarding a citizens request regarding a damaged sidewalk as well.
A citizen who resides on 10th street asked Mayor Boebel to inspect a damaged sidewalk.
“My best estimate is the sidewalk was about 60 years old,” Mayor Boebel told the council. “It is a inch-and-a-half thick and some of the cracks were dusty and probably broken for sometime.”
Boebel told the council that the resident had a bid from a private contractor to repair the sidewalk to the cost of $450.
“I asked them what they were looking for, and they told me that ‘they paid taxes like everyone else’ and they wanted it repaired. I told them I’d bring it to the council.”
Mayor Boebel explained to the council that a tree had fallen on the residents garage and when a heavy piece of equipment used to extract the tree drove over the old side walk, it was destroyed.
“The resident wanted it all paid for by the city, but said they’d be happy with half,” Mayor Boebel said. “I’m a plumber, I’m not a concrete guy, I didn’t carbon date it, but the cracks were dusty, the damage looked old.”
After some discussion about cost effectiveness of the operation, the council decided to have the city repair the sidewalk if they are available and it is cost effective, however, if it is not, the private contractors can complete the job.
In other council news:
•Parcel 226-00147-0010, 725 Lincoln Avenue was referred to the Planning Commission for rezoning.
•Bradley Brunette was hired as a ‘Casual and Contract Police Officer.’
•The council discussed creating an ordinance for handling adjustments to utility bills.
•The council heard from the Tree Board regarding ordinance for trimming.
•When reconvened to open session, the council approved offering the DPW position to candidate number three, to be revealed at the next council meeting.