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Hamilton recommends denial of plat filing extension deadline

By Michael Howell

Hamilton City Council members met on October 30 as a Committee of the Whole and decided after some discussion to recommend to the City Council that it deny the request to extend the deadline for filing a final plat for the Paddocks Major Subdivision.

In the past only one-year extensions in the timeline for filing a final plat could be granted following preliminary plat approval of a subdivision. But under a new state law, the Council has the discretion to extend the deadline for a number of years at a time. In this case the developer has asked for an extension of three years, until 2016.

Concerns about the narrow width of the roads within the subdivision were discussed as well as the lack of any streetlights or sidewalks in the development. There was also concern expressed about the parkland dedication and whether or not the strip of land being left undeveloped through the center of the property over an existing gas line was actually park land.

“It basically meets zero Public Works standards,” said Public Works Director Keith Smith.

After it was recognized that the council could not change things like the road width after giving preliminary plat approval, the option of denying the extension request was discussed.

Councilor Lynette Helgeland made the motion to send the issue to the council with a recommendation to deny the request. A few councilors suggested that no action be taken by the committee, which would leave the deadline in place and the timeline would expire if the final plat was not filed in time. Then, they reasoned, the council would have the option to make changes in the proposal when it was resubmitted. Helgeland said she thought the issue should be sent to the council “out of respect for the process” since the developer had requested council consideration of the matter.

It was decided to send the issue to the full council for consideration with a recommendation to deny the request. The vote was 4 to 2.

The Committee of the Whole also discussed the plans for a remodel of the Police Department and the City Hall lobby. One phase of the remodel involves a change in the display cases that are in the lobby and a repositioning of the walk-up window serving the Police Department. Police Chief Ryan Oster recommended using barn wood in the remodel to keep with the historical intention of the existing lobby.

Inside the department some walls would be torn out and the locker room moved. The room would be expanded about five feet into the current administration office to provide space for a female officer’s changing room.

Lee Kierig is the architect who designed the remodel.

Other issues to be forwarded to the full council included a resolution closing the town hall at noon on Christmas Eve, and an amendment to the Finance Policy concerning IRS tax compliance procedures that must be passed before re-financing of the City’s bonds can be completed.

The Committee also discussed possibly earmarking the money received from the sale of parkland for the purchase of new park land. Councilor Joe Petrusaitis said with the City taking on debt for its water and sewer projects, with sidewalks in disrepair, it made sense to put the money elsewhere.

“We don’t take care of the park land we’ve got now,” he said. “Why acquire more?”

Mayor Jerry Steele was in agreement, stating that the city had more pressing needs than getting more park land.

It was agreed that the issue should be addressed in the upcoming budget process.

In a discussion about the potential of establishing a Tax Increment Financing District north of the city in what is referred to as the Area III Plan, Special Projects Director Dennis Stranger said that the first thing the council should do is set some clear goals and purposes. He said the council needs to ask itself what it really wants to accomplish and then consider if a TIF District is the right tool. Stranger said that there were a number of options in setting up a TIFD and that without clear purposes and goals it would be hard to determine which type of district might best meet those goals. One councilor noted that the aim of TIFDs was mainly to revitalize downtowns, not start new development, so maybe Area III was not the best place to consider establishing the district. The committee agreed that a work session should be arranged to consider setting some goals and objectives.

Fall Clean-Up Days are scheduled for November 13 through the 15. City crews will be picking up organic yard material and bagged leaves, excluding any dirt, rocks or other trash. Small branches, not to exceed 4 inches in diameter, should be tied in bundles not to exceed 4 feet in length.

Curb pick-ups will occur in different areas of the city on each day. Crews will pick up between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. within the city limits. Beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 13, pickups will occur northwest of Main Street to Highway 93. On Wednesday, Nov. 14, everything southwest of Main to Highway 93 will be picked up and on Thursday, Nov. 15, everything east of Highway 93.

Red tags will be placed on items that are not in compliance. Red tagged items must be sorted so that unacceptable materials are removed. Once this is complete, residents may contact the Public Works Department at 363-6717 and they will return to pick up the yard waste.

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