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Council Discuss Butcher Shop Possibility

The Lennox City Council met Monday, February 21 in Lennox City Hall to review agenda items brought before them.

The City of Lennox was asked to allow parking for a new restaurant at the City’s swimming pool parking lot.

“The parking is at a premium at the former Senior Center, which will now be converted into a restaurant, they have asked us to make available the City swimming pool parking lot as needed for overflow parking,” City Administrator, Nate Vander Plaats said.

The restaurant owners feel that overflow would generally be needed for the noon meal and after 5:30 p.m. and feels these are generally times when the parking lot is not at full capacity.

“The lease was drafted by the City Attorney and I would recommend a motion to approve,” Vander Plaats said.

Council members questioned how many of the parking lot spaces would be used for restaurant use.

“I wouldn’t suspect they would be using much of it, and there is no clear designation on the parking lot,” Vander Plaats said. Motion approved.

Vander Plaats filled the board in on a prospect approaching the City of Lennox about the possibility of locating a butcher shop in the community.

“One of our primary challenges is land and providing utilities on that land. We have also placed an emphasis on redevelopment of the Central Business District and creating new opportunities that draw residents and visitors to Main Street,” he said.

Current ordinances are not clear on whether such use would be allowable in the City’s two commercial districts.

“The issue at hand is that the only mention of ‘slaughter’ in the zoning ordinances is in the Heavy Industrial District. My assumption is that this is applicable for large, industrial operations such as a Smithfield type operation. We obviously would not want that use in a commercial district, but a small operation with a retail store is an attractive option,” Vander Plaats said.

The challenges the City will face in finding a location for a butcher shop would include unloading of livestock, wastewater, storage and removal of byproducts and vehicle traffic, including truck traffic. The matter was discussed by the Lennox Planning Commission at their January meeting and they recommend moving forward with this agreement. The board agreed to table the motion to further determine language and waste removal for the facility.

The Lennox School District is exploring options to improve and expand tennis facilities for the High School Tennis Team located at Westerman Park.

“While there is no immediate rush on the part of the City of Lennox to improve this space, the school district is interested in making improvements to this facility or moving forward with a separate facility in the near future,” Vander Plaats said.

The School District is asking the board to consider an intergovernmental agreement and formalize a plan to work to improve the existing facilities at Westerman Park.

“This agreement dedicates $100,000 from the School District, with the rest due from the City. The challenge here for us is both in funding and timing. The School District wishing to move forward soon, we would need significant funding to make this happen,” VanderPlaats said.

Vander Plaats is concerned with how quickly the City could secure the grant revenue requested and thinks the City is better served in this case by having the School District move on their own. The board agreed to table the motion to do further research in surrounding towns on agreements they have made.

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