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City mulls residential water and sewer extension project

Friday, July 17, 2009

Developer says it could trigger more new homes here

The developer of a Cherokee residential subdivision has asked the City to extend its utilities 900 feet to accomodate proposed and future housing development for the South Hyland Addition, which would benefit the City in the future through taxation and additional utility fees charged to the new property owners.

Gary Doherty has asked the Council to extend the water and sewer lines east to the four-lot subdivision in the Doherty Addition in Southeast Cherokee. Currently, that area, along with houses on Linden Street, use rural water and septic tanks for utilities, which the Council approved in 2003.

Doherty has offered to pay for the proposed water line ($16,000) if the City would pay for the sewer line ($34,000).

"We can continue with rural water service and septic tank systems for the lots as it is now at no expense to us, but the City would certainly benefit down the road by putting their own water and sewer in," said Doherty.

One of the four lots in South Hyland Addition has been sold and the property owner is going to build a new house there shortly, said Doherty. It's estimated that a new septic system costs about $8,000 to install, and property owners also would have to pay any rural water connection and user fees. With City utilities, the property owners also would get fire protection that would lower property insurance rates.

City Administrator Don Eikmeier said he was surprised that the 2003 Council ever approved the allowance of rural water and septic systems within City limits. "Everything in the corporate limits should be required to feed off of City utilities," said Eikmeier.

"I just want to do what's best for the City," explained Doherty, who added that the development and building the new house would continue either way the Council decided.

Eikmeier will investigate the City options and the Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday to give Doherty his answer. The issue is on fast track because the new property owner wants to start building his house August 1, said Doherty.

"This one lot and new home could possibly spring more lots sold, especially if there's City sewer and water there," added Doherty. "There's a need for available housing in Cherokee."

In other business, the Council approved the second presentation and waived the third reading of two amended ordinances pertaining to patios and decks, and to rear and side yard structures in residential zones.

The patio and deck amendment is a clarification to assure that they are not built in required yard setbacks. The rear and side yard structures amendment in residential zones reduces requirements from current code in those situations where a new building is proposed on the footprint of an existing building.

The Council also agreed to transfer Cherokee Main Street Banner Funds to the Chamber of Commerce in the amount of $3,716.56.

The fund originated from a fund-raising effort to buy the banners and local businesses contributed to the annual maintenance fee and for their names printed on the banners. The Chamber is discussing replacement of the banners as the existing ones are worn and many can no longer be used.

Since the funds came from businesses and no tax dollars are involved, the City has decided to transfer the money back to the Chamber, which will become guardian of the funds.

A $13,110 bid from Blacktop Services to seal coat Koser Spring Lake and Wescot Park roads was approved by the Council. That item had been budgeted for.

The Council also approved the low bid for the purchase of a new mower for the Parks Department in the amount of $8,581.30 from Frederick Welding of Marcus. The mower is a Husker Model.

During his Administrator's Report, Eikmeier informed the Council that resurfacing work on the River Road in the City limits is under way, with a completion target date of August 1.

The Council had awarded the low bid for resurfacing the River Road in the City limits to Blacktop Service Company in the amount of $233,270. The federal stimulus grant received for the project will pay for $180,000, or 77-percent of the project, with the $53,270 balance to be raised by local funding from local option sales tax revenues designated for street repair.

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