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Town council discusses zoning issues

By Elisabeth Dodd, Staff Writer

Town Council met on Monday, Dec. 3 where members looked at construction bids and discussed a long-standing zoning dispute.

Council received two bids to repair the warped facade of the firehouse due to water damage. They were opened for the first time to be quickly reviewed. The council will vote between the two options at the next meeting once everyone is present and has had time to thoroughly look everything over.

The first bid was from Durham Construction, which was $10,845 for materials and labor. This quote was based on given specs, although they did not come in person to assess the damage themselves. The second bid was from RE2 Construction for $10,850, making both quotes surprisingly comparable in price.

“I don't know if we've ever had bids come in that close together,” said Keith Bias amid chuckles “Must be an accurate price.”

After tabling the bids, the council heard from Howard Curry who wanted to discuss a property-line issue between his business and an alley and private residence. The main issue is the trash that has piled up on this property despite town ordinances and several warnings to keep the property picked up.

“There's an issue of the debris. Clearly, when I look at our ordinance put in place back there, I think anyone could see it's not complying with the ordinance. Another violation was sent out. I know what you're saying, it's a vicious cycle,” said Bias. “It looked like it was cleaned up fairly well and within a week it is as bad as it was again.”

Once a warning is sent out, the offender gets 10 days to clean up and prove they are making progress to avoid a fine as a restorative, rather than punitive approach.

“Our job isn't to fine people; it's to change behavior” clarified Melissa Shepler.

As for the zoning issues, the council will discuss it in-depth during the next meeting with both Curry and the private citizen present, and with copies of the map in front of everyone to consider. As for the debris, a letter acknowledging the improvement of the cleanliness of the property has been sent out with specific suggestions for what else has to be done. In the future, the council is considering an escalation of fines or an amendment to the ordinance to better deal with repeat offenders.

After passing Resolution 2018-10, meeting dates will continue to be on the first and third Monday of the month at 6 p.m. in the courthouse for 2019.