Lansing City Council sets dates for city-wide cleanup, open burning

by B.J. Tomlinson

The Lansing City Council met Monday night, September 15 in regular session. The Council set Tuesday, October 14 as city-wide cleanup day; open burning will be allowed between October 12 through November 30. Councilman Dick Roeder questioned whether violators of the open burning ordinance would be cited. After discussion, it was agreed that the Lansing Police Department would issue citations.
Julie and Dave Swenson addressed the Council regarding water/sewer billing for 181 Walnut Street. Mayor Brennan stated this property was originally set up as two units but has been corrected to a one unit rate. Swenson had questioned whether he should get a bill since the second lot is not being used. Brennan explained that when a property is connected to the system, the property gets a bill. Swenson also asked the Council about the property at 121 Pearl Street, which he said has had water in the basement for two years and water runs up against the garage doors. Street Superintendent Jerry Aperans said Chris Strub had agreed to correct the problem and that Kurt Marx of Davy Engineering wants to be present to be sure the job is done according to his specifications. The problem, Aperans said, is Strub’s busy schedule. Mayor Brennan instructed Aperans to contact Marx again to coordinate with Strub.
Teresa Severson addressed the Council regarding a real estate transaction issue involving Mark and Deb Dietzenbach who are negotiating to purchase property at 270 Wall Street in order to build a home. The offer is contingent upon the City abandoning three unused streets, Chestnut, Mineral and Otis, which are to be included in the sale. Mayor Brennan said Mineral Street is actually owned by the County and is protected by the Bluffland Protection Ordinance. In addition, engineers have determined there is an underground water flow under Wall Street that caused a bad washout on the roadway. He said that if the Dietzenbachs were to carve into the hillside, there could be a disaster for the City. Severson said she would again talk to the Dietzenbachs. Also discussed was the $5,000 price offered for Otis and Chestnut Streets. Brennan said that figure is too low for property with a river view; in Severson’s opinion the property has no river view. Land valuations were then debated, with Brennan suggesting a formula that has been used in the past: land valuations of the two adjacent properties would be used to determine square footage valuation and then apply that to the property. He said valuation at today’s prices is approximately $3.18 per square foot. Severson said those numbers are “skewed compared to current sales” and she disagrees with Brennan’s estimate. After further discussion, Brennan said he had no problem vacating Chestnut Street “as long as there is a fair price and a fair process.” The Council rejected the proposal to abandon Otis street because it includes a driveway that provides access to an adjacent property. In the end, the Council agreed to negotiate the abandonment of Chestnut Street. Severson suggested an appraiser be hired to submit a professional appraisal of the streets.
Two tree removal bids were reviewed for the North Front Street Project, one for $3,080 from Natural Tree Care and the other from Quality Tree Service for $3,200. Since both providers are local, the lower bid was selected.
In other business, the Council reviewed and approved Resolution #853 to approve the plat of survey for David and Donna Svenson. The Council also reviewed and approved the RY2014 Annual Financial Report and the TIF report. Council members Becky Conway and Dave Darling are still investigating repair/replacement alternatives for City Hall. City Clerk Katie Becker announced the DNR has complimented the City for the design and completion of the new sand shed at the City garage.

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