By Joseph Lekarczyk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.
The Town of Lyons Board of Trustees (BOT) gave the idea of “boots” for repeat parking violators the boot at Monday night’s meeting. But don’t start toe tapping with glee just yet all you scofflaws, the “tow” option is definitely still in play.
Lyons Substation Supervisor Sgt. Nick Goldberger got the meeting started with a report of an “aggressive deer.” It seems a Lyons couple and their dog were held at bay in their garage recently by a deer that tried to maul their pet through the fence (breaking off both antlers in the wire mesh!), and then made aggressive moves toward them when they
tried to protect their pet. The Division of Wildlife was called to drug the animal, but when that proved not to be possible, the animal was put down. So far, tests have proven negative for rabies and the results for wasting disease are forthcoming, according to Goldberger.
A second reading and public hearing drew no response from the public, and the Board quickly passed the ordinance to regulate the cultivation of non commercial or “recreational marijuana” in a similar manner to the local regulations for “medical marijuana.” Basically the ordinance says that six plants per adult (over the age of twenty-one) are allowed, but with a cap of twelve plants per residence. No outdoor growing will be allowed, but “secured” growing in out buildings (sheds, garages, barns, etc.) would be legal. If residents live in a multi-family unit (apartments, condos, etc.), permission must be granted from all residents, and renters must receive permission from their landlord.
A first reading of an ordinance that would allow “use by right” as opposed to “conditional use” for bed and breakfast establishments in estate zones got much more play. It turns out there are only two such estate zoned parcels in Lyons; one owned by Jim and Kathy Carroll, and the other by Craig Ferguson. Both landowners were present, but since it was a first reading no public comment was taken (a point that Mayor Julie Van Domelen had to make clear to Ferguson). At issue seemed to be a “recommendation” by the Planning and Community Development Commission (PCDC) on which Ferguson is a sitting member. Apparently at the PCDC last meeting, a quorum (four members) was barely met, and then two members left the meeting after a bit of acrimony, putting the “validity” of said recommendation into question. Town Attorney Tim Cox opined that since there was no quorum, no action (or even a recommendation) could be taken. But, since most of the Trustees didn’t seem to agree with the recommendation (concerning traffic impacts through residential zones), and since the BOT did have a quorum, Trustee Kirk Udovich made a motion to approve B&Bs as a use by right, with a few provisos (six bedrooms, manager/owner living on premise), Trustee Sandy Banta agreed, and said she was in full support and would like to see more in-fill and in town lodging, and she added, “We need more B&Bs, not less.” Banta suggested that the Board might consider allowing residents in all zones to rent out a bedroom or two as guest accommodations if they so desired and have off street parking A second was made, and passed in a seven to zero vote.
The first reading of an ordinance giving the Town the authority to impound or immobilize (tow or boot) vehicles with multiple unpaid parking offences led to a lively discussion. Van Domelen spoke from personal experience of the “inconvenience” of towing versus booting (apparently she had a lot of experience while living in Washington D.C.) Several other Trustees admitted that they too had had some close encounters of the third kind with boots and tow trucks. While no one, particularly Trustee Dan Greenberg, had much sympathy for “repeat scofflaws” all seemed concerned with the projected “image” of cars on Main and High Streets with boots on them. Greenberg also expressed safety concerns for the Community Service Officers who would be calling in for the boots or tows. Trustee Connie Sullivan was concerned about the procedure for who would pay for the tow up front if the offending car was on private property (i.e. a driveway or business parking lot), and all seemed to be concerned about the availability of Town Staff to remedy the towed or booted vehicle on weekends. In the end, the boot option didn’t seem to garner much traction, and Staff was instructed to get more information about the questions that were raised, and the item was unanimously approved and there will be a second reading and public hearing at the April 1, BOT meeting.
The consent agenda, consisting of the March 4 BOT meeting minutes and the March accounts payable was approved in short order, and without any discussion. Town Engineer Jim Blankenship gave the Board an overview (literally) and update on the East Main Streetscape project (Stone Canyon Drive to Third Avenue). The planning and engineering have to be 95% completed before the discussions for purchase of right-of-ways can get underway, and then, according to Blankenship, it will take at least three months to finish the project.
The Mayor couldn’t get a firm timeline for when things will begin to get off the drawing board, but if everything goes smoothly (what are the chances?) and there are no hiccups, and the right-of-ways are obtained by October of 2013, the light at Stone Canyon might be started by January of 2014. Otherwise, this thing could be still under construction in 2015.
A resolution adopting a schedule of rates for customer-owned generation of electricity (net metering or selling power back to the grid) was approved after a short discussion. The rate will be pegged to the wholesale price for electricity, which will be revisited and calculated on an annual basis. The Board also wants to recalculate the base rate users pay, to make it more accurately reflect the true cost actually of providing electricity to the consumer.
The drafting of an ordinance concerning options for the approval processes for a wastewater plant and other future public projects was discussed, and Staff was instructed to put something together for future perusal. Trustee and Staff reports were given, and the Mayor then called for adjournment.