The council recognized Bill Harrington who introduced himself as the president of the Great Prairie City Community Association. He said the group is willing to lend assistance to the Texaco Property Development Committee by way of funding and volunteers.
He also said they would be interested in helping with the signage for the property.
Two volunteers, Marlene Eccles and Melanie DeJong, were offered.
There was discussion of the sign that had been proposed and funded by Chuck Cason. Sandy Murray said Cason's donation of $1,000 was to put up a sign that welcomes people to Prairie City and advertises free parking on the property. Nomad signs was contacted and directed to build the sign, however, it was noted that DeJong had called and told them to also include a reader board which would cost another $1,912.
Cason expressed concern that his check had been cashed some time ago but no sign is yet to be seen. He said he didn't donate the money for a reader board and feels it would detract from the sign. His original intent was for a sign to point out free parking. There was discussion of having the sign maker provide a drawing of what has been posted. The council agreed they would like to see a drawing and agreed to pay $150 for it.
The Texaco Committee has been working on the concept of a sustainable building. After all the "wish lists" from the department heads had been incorporated into a plan, an estimate of $2 to $3 million was determined as the cost for the project. The committee recommended the city concentrate on expansion of the fire department as its first priority and plan the other improvements in stages.
Planning: The recorder gave the mayor a sealed envelope from Cason who had instructed it remain sealed until the meeting. Cason said not to open it now, but to open it after discussion on the fence issue is made. It was noted that this was not the public hearing for the fence issue, only the planning commission's explanation to the council regarding the decision.
Etta Lou Hendricksen addressed the council and Mr. Cason. She apologized to the council for not attending the last meeting and giving them some background on the issue.
She went on to explain the reasons for the decision and referred to a drawing on the chalkboard. She said the commission questioned Cason's right to first remove a fence from city property and then replace it with another one.
She stated that the fence is city property blocking access to what would be 13th Street if it were developed. The city's attorney has advised against allowing the fence to remain and cited liability issues as well as limiting access by fire trucks.
She stated it also denies access to further development of residential (space) lost in the area.
Cason said he had gone to the adjacent property owner and proposed putting in the fence and that she had agreed. It was noted that the property has since sold.
Cason said he hadn't heard anything about the city putting in a street and offered to take it down if they do. He stated that if he takes down the fence the city will not cut the grass or take care of the property and it will be a fire hazard in the summer. He said there is a ditch running down the middle of it, but other residents disagreed. There was also discussion that perhaps this shouldn't have been a planning issue but a trespass issue.
Mayor Jim Hamsher said there are fences across city property all over town, but Hendricksen said she was under the impression they were to address each case as they came up.
The question was raised as to why the council shouldn't support the planning commission's decision.
Hamsher again said there are other fences in violation. Councilman Mike Springer said this one was before them now and asked if he'd like to have them all addressed. Hamsher said no. There was more discussion and concern from citizens about blocking the right-of-way. The council was asked to set a date for the hearing in response to Cason's appeal of the decision.
Cason then stated that he would move the fence back to his property line and see what happens with the weeds and mud from the property being torn up by four wheelers.
Public Works: It was agreed that the shower meters at Depot Park should be adjusted from $1.25 for 10 minutes to $2 for 12 minutes.
There was also discussion of raising rates at the park. The recorder said she would prepare a recommendation and resolution for the next meeting. There was discussion of having to move the cemetery water hookup because the existing line came apart.
Bob Titus asked for direction from the council. He was told to go ahead. Titus said they would begin irrigating at the lagoon site soon, but didn't have any further information on the leaking cell.
It was noted that the cell will have to be drained to inspect it and determine the extent of damage. Titus also said he is going to test the meter at Kircher Corner because the water usage seems unusually low.
Other Business: Hamsher asked the council if they would consider asking the voters for approval to sell the entire industrial site property. The recorder reminded him that the issue would need to be included on the agenda in order for them to make a decision and noted that there are a number of people who may want to comment. It was agreed the issue would be discussed at the next meeting.
The recorder asked if the water committee could take on the task of reviewing and revising the sewer ordinance as it would be easier to work with a smaller group to come up with a draft. It was agreed the water committee would work on it.
Well Drilling: The water committee reported that they are close to having an agreement with John Coombs for lease of the well site. They said Fred Winegar was requesting support in the zoning change of his property on Dixie Creek or the extension of the urban growth boundary.
Springer talked with the county planning department, but didn't think it was optimistic.
Well drillers will also be contacted directly by Joe Hitz. It was determined that drilling could start in May.