City council notes: August 19, 2019

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Spencer City Council Chambers sign

The Spencer City Council discussed the following topics at its meeting on Monday, August 19.

City council election papers now available

Spencer residents interested in running for mayor or one of three city council seats up on the November 5 ballot can file nomination papers as of Monday, August 26.

Offices on the ballot are mayor (two-year term), city council Ward 2 (four-year term), city council Ward 3, city council Ward 4 (four-year term) and at-large city council (four-year term). There is also a four-year hospital board of trustees seat up for election.

Papers are available at the city clerk’s office. The deadline to file papers with that office is September 19 at 5 p.m.

A minimum of 25 signatures from eligible voters are required to get on the ballot. If running for a ward council position, then those signatures must be of eligible voters who live in the ward.

The person running for a ward seat must also live in that ward.

Public hearing set for zero lot line development code change

Spencer city officials are hoping a proposed amendment change will create more interest in development of duplexes, triplexes, condos and townhouses.

At its meeting last week, the Spencer City Council set a public hearing September 3 for an amendment to city code regarding zero lot line development.

“When we talk about zero lot line, it’s a shared, common building wall,” Planning Director Steve Hallgren said. “So, when you have a duplex, there’s that shared wall between each half of the duplex. The lot line for that property literally follows that shared common building wall down that line and splits the lot.”

Hallgren explained that this code amendment would allow owners and developers to market the properties as the part of the building and the land underneath as for sale.

The amendment was recommended by the planning and zoning commission.

Hearing set for code change allowing microbreweries in central business zoning district

The council also set a public hearing for September 3 for a code amendment that would make microbreweries a permitted use in the central business district.

That zoning district includes the downtown area of Spencer.

Changes to wastewater service charges approved

The council voted 7-0 to approve a second filing and then voted forgo a third filing for an amendment to wastewater service charges.

The amendment now goes into affect right away rather than following a normal third filing.

“It should save the citizens some money,” Mayor Kevin Robinson said. “It’s a rounding issue that we’re fixing on this.”

Wastewater treatment plant improvement engineering services approved

The council approved an agreement with McClure to complete preliminary designs for the second phase of wastewater treatment plan improvements.

The improvements are identified in the city’s capital improvement plan for the current fiscal year. The construction budget for the project is $1,816,660 with engineering costs of $183,340, setting the total project budget at $2 million.

Bonds will be issued to cover the costs.

McClure representative Michael Washburn told the council the work is needed.

“Most of the plant that’s out there today was constructed in the mid-1970s, so it’s well over 40 years old,” Washburn said. “There’s pieces of equipment that are beyond their useful life that need to be replaced. We kind of laid out how the city could do that over an extended period of time.”

The city had hired McClure in 2014 to put together a long-range plan for the treatment facility. Washburn said that plan focused on three priorities:

  1. Maintain capacity so the city can recruit new businesses.
  2. Meet new water quality regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency.
  3. Keep the plant viable.

The first phase of the project was completed in 2017.

The council voted 7-0 to approve the vote.

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