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Preliminary Plan approved for Countryside Subdivision; Restrictions eased for local businesses

By Kelli BUltena

Lennox Council has been busy. At the end of last week, the Council held a work session with the Lennox Park and Rec Board on Thursday, May 7 and held a Special Meeting on May 9.

During the May 9 Special Meeting, council held the second Reading of Ordinance 610. This ordinance relaxes current restrictions due to the COVID-19 virus to 50% of capacity for most buildings.

The Council also approved the 2020 Park and Rec Plan, which states the pool will open June 1 and ball practices can start in June as well. See page 18 for the complete Park and Rec article.

During the Monday, May 11 regular city council meeting, council approved the consent agenda, which included the minutes of previous meetings, claims as presented and reports for the City Administrator, City Engineer and the Finance Report.

City Administrator Nathan Vander Plaats stated in regards to the COVID-19 Pandemic, “In terms of financial impact, it appears at this point that Lennox will be relatively well protected from the economic impacts on sales tax revenues. I still anticipate seeing significant reduced revenue in the 3rd penny fund, and anticipate that we will see an increase in delinquent property tax payments for the foreseeable future. However, the impacts from these changes are not expected to be substantial. Once our payments for sales taxes due in April are received, we will be prepared to report more on local impact. In the event that the pandemic lasts longer than expected or eventually hits us harder than expected, the Finance Committee reviewed a draft revised budget for 2020 at their meeting on April 27. We will be prepared to implement that budget when and if the time should come.”

Under the finance report, Finance Officer Denise Hanson stated, “The moving of funds from Valley Exchange Bank (VEB) to Great Western Bank (GWB), went well for the most part in April. All the investments are now at VEB and our checking and MM at GWB are almost complete. I will need to move the last of the money from VEB checking to GWB checking in the month of May. I am waiting for a few checks to clear from VEB yet. Remote deposit has been put in place and working very well the last few weeks.”

Within the Engineer’s Report, City Engineer Mitch Mergen stated that Winter Contracting resumed their work on phase 2 of the Central Basin project on April 27th. Utility construction is underway on Cedar, Juniper and 3rd Street. Restoration and topsoil work is complete on Elm and 4th Street. Over the next several weeks, Winter Contracting will continue underground work. Stockwell staff is coordinating with adjacent landowners and residents along the project. A public meeting was not held due to COVID-19.

Construction for Central Basin Project Phase 3 is expected to begin June 1. Stockwell staff are coordinating with residents and adjacent landowners as needed. A change order to remove a portion of the project is being drafted and will be presented at the next council meeting for consideration.

Mergen also noted that Stockwell staff is assisting the City’s maintenance team in public works duties. Maintenance protocols are being developed for the main lift station to plan for mechanical failures or events of high inundation. Facilities are being inventoried to provide recommendations on operations.

Under new business Council awarded the bid for Sanitary Sewer Cleaning and Televising to Pipe Detectives from Jamestown, ND for the low bid amount of $104,761.12.

Council also approved the pay application to Winter Contracting LLC for the Central Basin Improvements project - Phase 2. The amount approved was $99,470.21.

Council also approved the Preliminary Plan for the Countryside Subdivision by a motion of 5 to 1. With Council member Greg Poppenga voting against. He brought up concern about tax payer money being used for the Street coming from Juniper to Boynton. He noted that when he brought it up at Planning and Zoning according to the Lennox City Administrator Nathan Vander Plaats there should be money in the TIF to pay for that. He also brought up the wetlands mitigation would be taken care of by the developer.

City Engineer Mitch Mergen went through the plans.

It was noted that the current City of Lennox standards will be implemented into the project, however there was a modification of the R-2 zone side yard setbacks of 5 feet. A modification of the Agricultural zone of no requirements for lot and yard. All agricultural areas will be dedicated to the City of Lennox. These modifications will be worked out by the City of Lennox and the developer per an Ordinance Amendment.

It is expected the city will take over ownership of all streets, sewers, water mains, and public space included in this plan unless otherwise noted. Areas of green space are dedicated to the city for recreational use.

At this time a sump pump system is not planned with this development.

The developer is working with the adjacent property owner to receive permission to construct Milwaukee Ave. to connect with Highway 17.

The developer will provide all roads to be local roads with 66’ of right of way and 35’ width back of curb to back of curb. The developer proposes the typical section of 4” asphalt on 6” base course.

The City of Lennox will evaluate the capacity of the downstream sanitary sewer system; if improvements to the system are required that is the City’s responsibility.

The developer/owner of the project is Nielson Construction, LLC. Kelly Nielson was in attendance Monday night to answer any questions from the council.

Council member Brock Rops asked about lot price and when people could purchase a lot.

It’s too early to tell on the lot prices right now answered Nielson. He said ideally he would have asphalt out this year, and said then it’s open for the public.

Next on the agenda Council addressed the remaining Manufactured Home Park license updates following recent inspections on the remaining two parks.

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