“I’m taking notes,” said one audience member. Another called out “If any of you guys plan on speaking you’ve got to sign in.”
That was the atmosphere the evening of July 12 in Centralia City Hall’s conference chambers.
At least 22 people were at the July 12 meeting of the Centralia Planning and Zoning Commission.
The topic was the latest step in Darren Adams’ quest to break ground on his North Pointe subdivision, to be located off Hickman Street on Centralia’s north side.
When it was finally over, P&Z unanimously passed the sketch plat with a list of conditions.
But it took a discussion to get there. Don Bormann, who said he was retained by residents of the area surrounding the proposed subdivision spoke after P&Z Chair Susan Aleshire limited speakers’ presentations to two minutes.
He told the commissioners it was their job to reject sketch plats which did not meet city code. Bormann alleged Adams’ sketch plat did not meet code. That he said had to do with the stated access road, North Hickman Street, and the road that would be alleged to provide access, North Allen Street. “It would be disingenuous to suggest the access to this is a narrow, barely-paved driveway… I have spoken with the original engineer. He tried to get the developer to change the plat, but he was turned down.”
He also brought up concerns regarding easement for city sewage for the proposed development, width of right of ways, concerns regarding city fire code, as well as the allegation that Adams should provide a traffic study. “His intention is to wear you down until you give him what you want.”
He gave a copy of his speech to the commissioners to be entered into official record.
Bormann asked and 10 members of the audience introduced themselves, as residents of the area adjacent to the proposed development.
At least two, Linda Johnessee and Stan Fadler, spoke and said they thought the proposed development did not meet fire code, and echoed the question regarding what would be done with the rest of the proposed development.
The engineer Adams retained, Jay Gebhart, attempted to clarify the situation and refute some of Bormann’s allegations. The access proposal was the same as an accepted practice used in Columbia, he said. He said he had done nothing in violation of any fire code.
He also said the plan was to develop only the proposed 27 lots: “until such time as neighboring lots were developed to support further growth… I understand who personal this can be, people protecting the most valuable thing they own, their home… I find it strange there is even a discussion regarding the professionalism of this. I am trying to follow city code… and mitigate the impacts to his neighbors while meeting all the code.” He also stressed they were discussing a preliminary plat and there would be further refinements to the plan or plat.
That included building Hickman Street up to code, within the proposed development, he said.
In response Johanessee’s question, he said they were following International Fire Code. “Let’s not confuse primary access with fire access. They are two different animals.”
Bormann’s full speech is available at www.firesideguard.com
Adams called Bormann’s assertions regarding his previous engineer a “bald-faced lie.”
Ultimately Bormann asked the commission to follow city code.
Adams said Hickman Street would eventually be used more than Allen Street for access and egress from the development.
City attorney Cydney Mayfield, said Adams would eventually provide proof of all rights of way regarding Hickman within his property, prior before the final plat could be approved. Those proofs were not necessary to pass the sketch plat, she said in response to Centralia Mayor Chris Cox’ questions. She said further approval could be conditional upon Adams meeting specified city-stipulated conditions.
In related business, the commissioners discussed vacating North Hickman Street and voted deny vacating that portion of the street.
City Administrator Heather Russell later supplied the Centralia Fireside Guard with a list of conditions that must be met for the sketch plat to be turned into a development.
The names of the adjacent landowners needs to be added to the plat.
- The developer is responsible for getting the designated right-of-way from adjacent landowners to complete Hickman Street.
- Because no ½ streets are allowed per City Code, so the developer must provide a full street plan for Hickman with a 60’ right-of-way.
- The Developer must provide a 20’ easement from the north end of Amberwood Dr. for the storm sewer detention basin per City Code.
- The Developer will be responsible for upgrading Hickman Street from Fairgrounds road to the subdivision entrance.
- The length of the cul-de-sac cannot be longer than 800 feet.
- The well off the end of Allen street must be abandoned and sealed off; this also requires a permit from DNR.
- All construction traffic shall only use Hickman Street and will not use Allen Street.
- The developer shall address the concerns of the wear and tear of Hickman Street due to the construction vehicles.
Susan Aleshire, P&Z chair, said she thought the meeting had “captured all the concerns,” relative to making a decision on the subdivision.
In other business, they unanimously approved rezoning requests for the Clint and Andréa Dubes property. Both were rezoned to M-1 industrial.
The next P&Z meeting will be 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, August 3.
Next the Public Works and Public Utilities committee met.
They heard from Stan Cooper, who lives on Orchard Street. He said the creek that ran behind his home was overflowing and causing water to flood beneath his garage good and into his home. He offered to provide video and asked why a nearby culvert could not be widened, thus preventing the creek from overflowing into his and other peoples’ homes.
Public works director Mike Forsee suggested there were downstream creek obstructions which may have caused it. “This is not the first time this has happened,” Cooper said. “It happened to previous owners… I was up all night trying to keep it out of the house and away from the drywall. What happens next time if I am not there… That water was not designed to handle that type of water flow… Whose dime is it to fund the repairs?”
Forsee said there is a plan to address the issue. “But we cannot control nature.” He apologized for the city not previously addressing the issue.
Linda Bormann wanted to know if the city had the authority to make the Stanton family trim their fence row on Columbia Street, which she said obstructed drivers’ vision.
More water than we dealt with than in a long time,” Street Department head Phil Hoffman said regarding Street department work. He said he sympathized with Cooper’s concerns and in recent weeks he and his department had seen streets submerged which they had never seen submerged before.
Speaking from the audience, P&Z member Dale Hughes asked when there would be more storm sewers installed to improve drainage on the south side of Centralia. “Instead of those drainage ditches that are always overflowing.”
Forsee said the city was discussing the situation with an engineer as well as exploring grants to fund the project.
Regarding the water department, Matt Rusch said the department was currently doing “normal operations stuff.”
Then the Public Safety and General Government Committee met.
Aldermen Landy Magley and Robert Hudson asked why they have not been receiving he email summaries from the radar trailer’s monitoring of traffic.