SOLON– The Solon City Council met in regular session Wednesday, July 7, and addressed concerns about recent fireworks incidents around the city, before and during the Fourth of July holiday. Solon resident Lacinda Taplin spoke to the council about fireworks set off in the city and near her home, speaking to the potential loss of property and residents’ safety.
Taplin complained fireworks were set off for 10-days straight before the holiday and continued after.
“Fireworks are dangerous in the hands of professionals who have been trained how do this, they’re more so dangerous in the hands of amateurs,” she said.
Taplin asked the council to reconsider the use of fireworks within city limits.
“It would make the town safer especially this time of year, and would cut down on accidents,” she added. “I just don’t want to see anyone get injured or worse, get killed just because someone decided that firecrackers need to be shot off here.”
Mayor Steve Stange said he received complaints of fireworks, and explained he received reports of some streets being blocked off with large fireworks displays being set off.
“For one, it’s against our ordinance and, two, if we have a medical emergency, we’re going to have problems,” he said. “We are going to have to address these massive shows going on and shutting down our streets. At a minimum we’re going to have to talk about how were going to deal with that from an enforcement standpoint.”
Solon is currently the only city in Johnson County allowing the use of fireworks within city limits.
In other business, public works director Scott Kleppe told the council work on the roadways partially collapsed on East Main, in the Windmill Estate addition, was being finished. He also updated council on the splash pad, saying crews were busy working there and were in the final stages of completion.
Stange and others credited Kleppe for making the splash pad project come together and commended Kleppe on managing the project.
According to Cami Rasmussen, city administrator, “Scott has made a lot of things happen down there that have been really challenging.”
She also thanked Kleppe for finding and working with contractors willing to do the work and getting the equipment needed to get the project done.
“It’s been a pretty impressive feat that he’s been able to accomplish,” she said.
Kleppe also told the council Dixon Engineering is scheduled to do an inspection of the ground storage tank and elevated tank.
“This will be the first time we will utilize a diver so the tanks will not be taken out of operation.”
Businesses affected by the inspection will be notified of any street closures due to the inspection.
Solon Library director Liz King addressed the council and said the library is recognizing long-time employee Sherri Chalupa, who is celebrating 20 years with the Library on July 12.
Council approvals The council approved a motion to accept the partial acquisition agreement with Ahsure Investment for the purchase of right-of-way along Highway 1. The agreement allows for turn lane widening at Main Street and Highway 1. Cost for the project is $65,000.
O’Brien farm rezoningThe council discussed the current rezoning request for the O’Brien farm received from Johnson County Planning and Zoning. The property is currently zoned agricultural and MMS Consultants has requested rezoning it to (R) residential on behalf of Oak Meadows, LLC.
The consensus of the council is to follow the current agreement for the area– where the council would review and provide comment on the rezoning 64 acres located at 4007 Hwy 382 NE and 1587 Polk Avenue NE. It was noted, issues from the county’s review of the request were found, including conflicting language in the current fringe area agreement relating to when the city would provide comment in development of the FA3 area.
Rasmussen explained, the county reached out the her to see if the city wants to review the language of the rezoning request. The fringe area draft sent in February eliminated the FA3 area, and this would be considered under the new agreement FA2, in which the city most definitely wanted to review.
The mayor and council expressed concern about the level of development in the area.
MMS Consultants’ Sandy Steil, who submitted the rezoning request to Johnson County Planning, Development and Sustainability, was on hand for the meeting. Stange asked how many homes would the rezone be for? Steil replied it was for 25 homes.
“You know they’re going to want to hook up to our water. And these people continue to put these developments in with the intent that the city’s going to carry their water problems,” said Stange. “We’re getting to that point, where I have a huge issue with that. We originally talked about 13 homes … I have huge concerns with this. At a minimum it needs to go to planning and zoning.”
Steil said, the group was planning on placing arsenic treatment on site and noted plans are to put in a treatment plant, like the one used in the Lake McBride Estates.
“And you know they’re wanting to come onto our line because they’re having issues with their treatment,” Stange said. “If they’re having problems with the system you want to use in meeting the DNR requirements … Why would that be good for us?”
The council voted to approve a motion sending the rezoning request to Solon Planning and Zoning for review.
East 5th and Hwy 1 reconstructionIn other matters, the council approved an agreement for the reconstruction on East 5th Street and Highway 1 out to the east city limits– converting the existing roadway from a rural section with ditches to curb and gutter with sidewalks and install a storm sewer. Cost of the project is slated at $226,000.
In a special session held June 23, the city council discussed the settlement action related to the Fox Ridge Part 2 Drainage lawsuit. Attorney Mike Pitton reported to council a possible settlement had been reached in the case, pending approval of council’s acceptance of $300,000 from MMS Consultants and release and dismissal of the lawsuit. The council approved 5-0 a motion to accept the settlement.