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Council approves agreement, final plat for new subdivison

A subdivision agreement  with developer Erik Petersen and the final plat for Petersen Subdivision No. 2 were approved unanimously by the Powell City Council Monday night.

As part of the agreement, the city will annex 29.95 acres in Township 55 North, Range 99 West, in the sixth prime meridian, as well as the south 989 feet of Tract A of Lot 62 in the subdivision. The land, located in southeast Powell bordered by Jones Street, Adams Street and Panther Boulevard, will be zoned Limited Industrial.

The Planning and Zoning Commission had recommended approval.

Petersen said there are several possible uses for the land, including business development, an apartment complex or houses.

Sidewalks will not be immediately required but must be installed before people move onto any lot. The sidewalks must be continuous, with no breaks between improved and unimproved lots.

Once 50 percent of the lots bordering Adams Street are improved or developed, sidewalks must be completed in blocks 2 and 3 of the subdivision.

All street cuts for the installation of utilities will be kept to a minimum width of 10 feet with a four-inch thick patch and cement-treated backfill to repair the street. The city will have the right of final approval on the work. Mandating 10-foot-wide cuts will keep the street smoother once it is patched, according to city staffers.

Councilman Josh Shorb, who sits on the Planning and Zoning Commission, once again expressed his concern about the street cuts. Shorb said with other street issues facing the city, perhaps the utilities could go through  an alley.

“I don’t think I’m in favor of cutting those streets up,” he said.

Public Services Manager Gary Butts said there would still be the same number of street cuts if the utilities went through the alley. If that happens, they would actually be on a busier section of Adams Street, Butts said.

After hearing the discussion, Shorb said his concerns were addressed.

Under the agreement, Petersen also will provide weed and pest control and post a fiscal guarantee of $50,000.

City Engineer Sean Christensen said Petersen “won’t give any money to the city for parks” as part of the agreement.

“The park requirement, which is common, has already been taken care of upon annexation,” Christensen said in an email. “Per code, the park requirement is taken care of during the annexation process. In this case, Target Powell Valley paid the city cash in lieu of land for the park requirement.”

That amounted to 10 percent of the raw land value, he said. The exact figure was unavailable.

In other agenda items:

• The council also discussed the franchise fee it charges Montana-Dakota Utilities.

The city has been charging a 3-percent fee since 2001. All area residents pay 1 percent, but city residents pay an additional 2 percent. The money is passed through MDU and sent to government entities.

It generates about $55,000 for the city, according to City Administrator Zane Logan. The council talked about raising the fee, since other utilities are assessed a 5-percent fee, but tabled that discussion.

A 25-year agreement was passed in 1996. Hillman, a former MDU employee, said when that nears expiration, MDU will send representatives to the meeting. None were present Monday night.

• Logan said he and other city staffers are working on a fee study to see if building, demolition and street cut fees, as well as other city assessments, should be increased. They have not been raised in some time, he said.

• Two weeks after cardboard recycling dominated a council meeting, the issue was brought up again, albeit briefly.

Rural Powell resident Ed Wenzel, who discussed the issue with the council two weeks ago, had it placed on the agenda for Monday night’s meeting.

Mayor Don Hillman said he felt the issue had been thoroughly discussed for 45 minutes at the Sept. 3 meeting, so he said unless there was something new to address, Wenzel could have two minutes.

“Mr. Butts and the council did a darn good job explaining what it was,” Hillman said, in explaining why he was limiting Wenzel’s time. “The numbers are what the numbers are, the agreement is what it is.”

He said the issue will be revisited in the spring.

Wenzel said the city spent about $43,000 on picking up the cardboard, and brought in $18,000. It might be worthwhile to explore other options, he said. But Wenzel said he could tell the council was not going to make any changes at this time, so he ended his presentation and sat down.

• Logan said tests done on electric poles in the city recently revealed at least two dozen that need to be replaced.

The city needs to remove the poles before they are brought down in a storm or fall apart, he said. It turns out that poles closest to the Garland irrigation canal are the most in need of replacement.

“It’s a proactive thing,” Logan said.

New poles cost between $3,000 to $5,000, he said. It’s best to buy them in bulk to get a better price, so Powell may team up with Garland to purchase a supply.

• The council went into a closed-door executive session involving potential litigation. City Attorney Sandra Kitchen said there was a need to discuss a possible legal matter that could involve the city.

The session lasted less than five minutes and Councilman John Wetzel did not participate. No information on it was available.

• The Wyoming Municipal Power Association held a dinner at the Lamplighter Wednesday and a board meeting in Council Chambers at 9 a.m. today (Thursday).

• Hillman issued a proclamation dubbing Monday, Sept. 23 as “Family Day.”

The proclamation urges “all citizens to recognize and participate in its observance” by having dinner with their families on that day to help kids avoid problems such as drinking, smoking and using drugs.

A 15-year survey completed by the National Center on Addiction and Substance abuse found that families that eat dinner together are less likely to have children who engage in such risky behavior, according to the council agenda.

Gov. Matt Mead made a similar statewide declaration.

• Hillman also proclaimed the week of Sept.17-23 as Constitution Week in Powell to honor the 226th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution, which became law in 1787.

The council moved to support both proclamations.

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