City council approves early phase of paving project; front yard parking permit process finalized

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Spencer City Council Chambers sign

The Spencer City Council last week approved a preliminary resolution that starts a special assessment process of a significant paving project that includes a stretch of 10th Avenue East.

Brian Schmidt of Kruse, Cate and Nelson PC told the council the project has two parts. Part A is the reconstruction of 10th Avenue East from East Park Street to East Fourth Street. Part B is the reconstruction of West Sixth Street from First Avenue West to Second Avenue West.

The approved resolution sets a public hearing date for April 15. The public hearing will be for review of the plans and specs, form of contract and estimate of cost. The bid letting for the project will be April 12. The council will review the bids on April 15.

Schmidt said the assessments to benefited property is limited to 25 percent of the valuation plus the improvement price.

“Assessments have not gone out,” Schmidt said in response to a question from Robinson about whether he had heard from homeowners affected.

Spencer Community School District owns most of the properties affected along 10th Avenue East.

“They have the majority of the frontage along the project,” Schmidt said of the school district.

Tenth Avenue East was of specific concern to city council members.

“I think we pretty much know why that road’s gone to pot,” Orrison said. “Heavy traffic.”

Council member Ron Hanson said that though the price tag may be steep, the work has to be done.

“I know it’s going to be expensive, but that road has to get done,” Hanson said. “It’s in bad shape.”

The project is included in the FY 2019 Capital Improvement Plan. In addition to assessments, project funds will come from the following: sewer reserve, Spencer Municipal Utilities Reimbursement, storm sewer reserve and street improvement reserve. The city will pre-fund the assessment using capital improvement reserve funds.

Parking permit process approved; fees established

With a third and final filing, the Spencer City Council on Monday approved the permit process for residents wishing to make improvements necessary to continue parking in their front yards.

Residents must now install a surfaced area to legally park in front yards.

In December, the council approved an amendment to city code that restricts front yard parking to surfaced areas and puts limitations on how much of a front yard can be surfaced. That policy goes into effect July 1.

The amendment was first discussed and passed an initial filing in November.

The council on Monday also approved a resolution establishing the permit fee of $10.

Property at 100 East First Street to be demolished

A structure at 100 East First Street may be demolished after the city council voted to approve a resolution authorizing the city to seek a court order.

The City Council at last week’s meeting approved a resolution proposing the demolition of the building, which city staff in a memo stated has deteriorated to the point of being unsafe.

The action allows the city to ask for court authorization of the demolition. The owner of the property will be assessed charges, which if unpaid, could lead to city ownership of the property.

Planning Director Kirby Schmidt said the city has sent several letters to the property owner over the years, the last being in November.

He said the cost of bringing the structure back up to code now exceeds its value.

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