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Zoning and mowing topics at city council meeting

GLENWOOD CITY — City zoning and lawn mowing were topics at the City Council meeting Monday evening.

First was a presentation by Kevin Oium of Cedar Corporation who presented the council with several documents and maps regarding the city zoning ordinances. He had been asked by the council last month to research the background on the zoning after a discussion had followed on a request to allow a small engine repair business in the eight hundred block of Third Street. The council had looked over the current zoning map and concluded that there were errors in the map.

Oium presented data dating back to 1998 and calling those records a “zoning on land use”. He pointed out three or four areas in the city that had been discussed as needing to be changed, but no action was ever taken after those discussions. He said that in 1999 the old map was repealed and a new map was created which was undated in 2003 and 2005. But the Marvin Booth property on the north side of town was never changed.

This discussion came about as Jay Lovgren had requested that he be allowed to start a small engine repair business on his property along Third Street. After much discussion, Mayor John Larson asked Oium if he could put a cost estimate together to re-do the zoning map. “If we do a re-zone, it will not affect a lot of parcels,” the mayor stated.

In the meantime, City Attorney Jim Krave presented the council with a plan, which would allow Lovgren to operate his business in a R-2 district. Krave noted that a notice would have to be published and the Plan Commission would need to act, and then forward the recommendation to the council for action.

The council hoped that this all could be accomplish in time for action at next month’s meeting. But in the meantime, council member Kan Peterson apologized to Lovgren for the long delay, since he applied back in March to operate his business. Peterson told him to do what he had do.

As for grass mowing, Steve Booth appeared before the council saying that he mows the lawn for St. John’s Catholic Church and has mowed it every week. But the area around the west parking lot and the hill on the backside is only mowed when need, about every other week.

Apparently the church got a notice of an ordinance violation because the grass in that area was over the eight inches allowed by city rule. City Clerk/Treasurer Sharon Rosenow said that she attempted to contact church officials twice but was unable to make connect by phone. Booth pointed out several other areas in the city with comparable grassy areas. “Is it a lawn or not?”

Booth noted that the area in question was to be mowed by him on Saturday, but the city had it mowed on Friday. Booth indicated, “they did a poor job of mowing, it looks worse now than it did before the mowing”. After talking about the matter for some time, the mayor put the matter into committee for further discussion. He told Booth that the Committee of the Whole would take up the matter at their June 22 meeting and invited him to attend.

In other city council matters, Mayor Larson reported that he reviewed the budget of the Ambulance service and informed the council that it has received some $33,333.00 in revenues in the first five months of the year. “That’s right on budget,” he said. An outside firm, called Life Quest does the billing and collection. The mayor said they were to get five to seven percent for doing the billing and collection. “It looks like they are taking 23 percent”, he complained. However, he noted that they get more on collecting old accounts. He told the council that he would talk to the ambulance administrators about the matter. But the mayor noted that when the city engaged the firm, ambulance billing collections went way up, compared to when city hall was doing the billing.

The mayor also addressed the Wastewater Treatment facility Compliance Maintenance Annual Report, by saying that the report was filed and the report got an A on all categories except on finances. We got an “F”. He noted that the system is losing money and there is a need to raise the rates. The mayor referred to a recent report done by Cedar Corporation that listed the rates for many communities in Northwestern Wisconsin. “We did not have the lowest rate in the report, but we were the second lowest.” He questioned the members of the council if they wanted to raise the rates now and then again a year from now or wait until the work planned is completed.

The mayor appointed council members Ben DeGross, Ken Peterson, Terry Klinger and Crystal Booth along with local citizens Tom Stack, Craig Anderson and Steve Luepke to the Plan Commission and John Logghe, Dave Frieburg and Brian Cress as alternates.

The council approved Julie Anderson and Barb Stohr for membership on the Library board.

During her report to the council, Clerk/Treasurer Sharon Rosenow indicated that the city’s polling place had an inspection during a recent election for handicapped accessibility. She noted that the city had to follow a 27-page manual to make sure the polling place was accessible. She said the only thing that came out of the report was that the city needs to place a sign on the front door of the Community Center indicating that the entrance was handicapped accessible.

Council member Nancy Hover gave the Library report and said that the Library will be celebrating is 115th birthday on Monday, June 22 with cake and lemonade served between 5:30 and 7:30 and guests can enjoy local history stories read by authors of the Glenwood Historical Society’s book.

And, finally, the council rejected on a 4-2 vote a motion by Ken Peterson, which was seconded by Ben DeGross to appoint the law firm of Bakke Norman as the city attorney.