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Hamilton City Council notes


At its November 1 meeting the Hamilton City Council received step-by-step guidance in the subdivision review process from City Attorney Karen Mahar as members examined their motion for conditional approval of the Osburn subdivision along New York Avenue and clarified certain matters that Mahar found too vague or unclear in the original wording.

One condition was eliminated from the list of conditions for approval. That was a condition requiring the developer to share in the cost of improvements to the intersection “if” the developer decided to use an access from 10th Street. However, since the developer had no intention of using any other access than the one planned off of New York Avenue, it was agreed to remove that condition from the approval. This deletion was opposed by Councilor Hendrickson, but was approved on a 5 to 1 vote.

Another condition requiring the developer to install street lighting along New York Avenue was also discussed. The developer expressed a preference for simply being required to join a lighting district if one should be formed in the neighborhood. Mayor Jerry Steele took particular exception. He called lighting districts expensive to form and pointed out that they may or may not happen. He pointed to one subdivision created almost 20 years ago with no lighting requirements and noted it still has no lighting today.

Councilor Joe Petrusaitis disagreed and thought requiring them to join any future lighting district was fair. He noted lots of places in town and in the neighborhood had no lighting. Most of the council agreed with the Mayor.

Councilor Al Mitchell said, “We have required a sidewalk along New York Avenue, it would be nice to have lighting for the people who walk down it.” The council voted 5 to 1 to require the lighting with Petrusaitis casting the no vote.

After some discussion it was also agreed not to require any parkland dedication or any cash in lieu of parkland dedication since no such thing is required for a minor subdivision in the city’s regulations.

Following a public hearing the council unanimously adopted on first reading an ordinance approving a zoning change request by Ernest and Myrna Buchholz. The ordinance changes the zoning classification on the 1.04 acre property located at 5541 N. Daly Avenue from B1, Local Business District to CM, Commercial Manufacturing District.

Following the recommendation of Police Chief Ryan Oster, the council unanimously approved the appointment of Don Niemeir as Probationary Police Officer. Oster noted that Niemeir had graduated from the law enforcement officer accreditation program in California. As a result, he said, he would be submitting a petition to waive the requirement that he attend the state’s Law Enforcement Academy, although Neimier will be required to attend Montana Legal Equivalency training. Oster also noted that Neimier’s brother Jim is already a member of the Hamilton Police force. He said there was no conflict in the arrangement so long as neither of the brothers are ever put in a position of supervising the other.

The council also approved spending up to $36,500 on a new Cascade System for filling the Fire Department’s breathing apparatus. The current apparatus was scheduled for replacement next year but was failing ahead of schedule.

The council also approved a collective bargaining agreement with LIUNA 1686. The agreement includes retaining five clerk positions and providing appropriate clothing for workers. The agreement provides for about a 3 percent increase in wages which will be implemented as a 48 cent per hour increase for each employee.

The council also authorized the mayor to sign:

– a $15,000 TSEP planning grant application.

– a contract with HDR Engineering to prepare a grant application for connecting Well #5 to the City’s Well Farm.

– a contract with HDR Engineering to update a preliminary engineering report and prepare grant applications for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Phase II project.

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