No sign of the controversy surrounding Gabe Carroll’s campaign penetrated the council chambers during his first meeting as mayor. Carroll was sworn in Nov.14 by city clerk Lisa Williamson. Iowa code 63.8 directed that Carroll be installed in office within 10 days of the date the Union County Board of Supervisors certified the election results, which was completed Nov. 13, due to the fact that outgoing mayor Steven Wintermute was appointed by the council to fulfill the remainder of Gary Lybarger’s term after Lybarger’s resignation.
In new business, the council approved a request by Jesse Giza to gravel and use a portion of the easement along Highway 34 near Commerce Road to use as parking. Rich Madison commented that Giza should make an attempt to declutter the area as it is the one of the first views seen as people enter Creston. Giza responded that they are working on that issue.
Ground floor apartments
The council discussed setting a time frame for Jesse Harris to abate the first floor apartment on 121 W. Montgomery St. that was denied renewal at the last city council meeting.
“I hate to see someone forced out of the place where they are living, especially since we are not in an immediate hurry to open up more store fronts,” Carroll said. “We just want that to be the use in the future.”
The tenant’s current lease expires in June, but Carroll said the council did not have to use that date for abatement. The tenant could be allowed to sign a new lease.
Rich Madison renewed his concern that the council not take specific action on the matter of ground floor apartments until the uptown assessment is received. He moved that the council table the issue until a committee can be formed to study the recommendations from the assessment and make a decision on how to deal with all of the first floor apartments in Uptown Creston. The motion passed unanimously.
Two mile zoning
Taylor introduced a discussion to extend the city’s extra-territorial zoning to include two miles from the city limits rather than the current one mile in order to prevent the placement of wind turbines within the zoned area. The city zoning ordinances would then apply to the area. Current structures and agricultural buildings would not be affected.
“We all know that the wind turbines are coming closer to Creston every day,” Taylor said. “If you are interested in trying to push that out, there are ways to go up to a two mile limit.”
The council would need to add two positions each to the planning and zoning commission and the board of adjustment to allow county representatives to sit on the boards, Taylor said. Those representatives would have a vote in all of the boards’ business, not just the areas outside the city limits.
Rich Madison stated this would not annex additional area to the city of Creston.
Madison moved to table the discussion for one month in order to study the proposal.
The council accepted a recommendation from the Creston Planning and Zoning Board to approved a request by Andrew Lewandowski to build a garage on property at 202 N. Cedar St.
During the planning and zoning meeting, board member Jesse Bolinger questioned why Lewandowski was making a second request to build the garage. Public Works Director Kevin Kruse responded that the first request was for a primary building. However, because the primary building has not been built, Lewandowski needed a conditional use permit in order to build. The resolution passed with Joe Williamson, Trudy LaRosee and Jerry White voting for it and Bolinger voting against.
In the council meeting, Madison questioned the appearance of the request on both the board of adjustment and planning and zoning. Kruse stated the board of adjustment denied Lewandowski’s request for reduced setbacks of 7 feet in the rear yard and 3 feet in the side yard, and the planning and zoning commission approved the project at the regular setbacks of 15 and 30 feet.
In other business:
• the council adopted consent items of claims, renewal of That Bar’s liquor license and reappointment of Rick Foster to the planning and zoning commission.
• the loan agreement between the City of Creston and the Iowa Finance Authority was renewed with a 1.75% decrease in the interest rate.
• Olivia Patton of Veenstra & Kimm said the change order for the Waste Water Treatment Plant Improvement Project is due to the expanded scope of the project and weather delays. The council approved the change order and extension.
• the contract for the 2020 through 2022 city audits was awarded to Martens & Company, which has conducted the audits previously for the city.
• Carroll requested that the council members fill out a survey for Southern Iowa Council of Governments, review the uptown assessment, and consider attending a municipal leadership academy if they had not already attended.