Council hears requests to vacate land, apply for $60,000 grant

Evanston Senior Planner DuWayne Jacobsen points to property on City View Drive that a developer has requested be vacated. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — The Evanston City Council addressed everything from liquor licenses and possessing drug paraphernalia, to vacating land and applying for a $60,000 grant on Tuesday, March 3.

The meeting started with what’s become an annual Crime Stoppers drawing. Mayor Kent Williams pulled the names from a box for three prizes. Winner of the first prize of $500 was Susan Lester; second prize of $300 went to Riggen Moon; and third prize of $200 was won by Rhett Groll. 

The Crime Stoppers Board holds a 50/50 raffle to raise money to use for rewards for people who report crimes. Raffle tickets were sold for $10 each and the revenues are split with half going to the Crime Stopper reward bank and half to the winners drawn. When a person calls in to report a crime or gives evidence regarding a crime, if that report is substantiated and an arrest is made, the board decides how much of a reward to give the person reporting the crime.

Following the drawing, a public hearing was held to solicit public comment regarding the application for a restaurant liquor license for GMRG ACA 1, LLC, dba: Pizza Hut #035951, located at 134 Yellow Creek Rd.

City Attorney Dennis Boal said the application had been reviewed by the State Liquor Commission and the application process had been completed and approved. When no comments were received from the public, Boal closed the public hearing and moved to the motion to approve the license.

Stephen Fowler, area coach for Pizza Hut, addressed the motion, which was to approve the liquor license for Pizza Hut. He explained that the local Pizza Hut was under a new owner and the old license had run out, so they were reapplying for the license now. The council unanimously approved Fowler’s request.

Under the consent agenda, The Arts Inc. asked the council to grant two limited malt beverage permits. One permit is for the Celtic Festival at the Roundhouse and Railyards complex on Friday, March 20, from 2 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 22, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. The second permit is for the Celtic Festival at the Strand Theater on Saturday, March 21, from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The city council approved both permits.

A request from the Evanston Liquor Dealers Association requested extended hours in 2020 for the following dates: St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 14; the fire department’s annual Demolition Derby, Saturday, Sept. 12; Halloween, Saturday, Oct. 31; and New Year’s Eve, Thursday, Dec. 31. The request was granted.

Evanston Police Chief Jon Kirby addressed the third and final reading of three ordinances to update the language in order to better reflect state statute. The three ordinances include changes to punishment concerning interfering with a police officer, possessing drug paraphernalia and reckless driving.

“As I said at the work session and at the previous council meetings,” Kirby said, “the city prosecutor has been going through our ordinances and is asking they be updated to reflect the language of the state statutes.”

All three of the ordinances were approved, which will allow prosecutors to seek both fines and jail time for any of the three offenses.

Next Kirby addressed three ordinances that were on the agenda for a second reading to update the language for similar reasons. Those included assault and battery, vehicular hit and run and and a change to allow a defendant in Municipal Court to pay off a fine through incarceration. Those three ordinances were also unanimously approved.  They will come before the council for a third and final reading at the next regular meeting.

Evanston Senior Planner DuWayne Jacobsen answered questions regarding the next two ordinances brought before the council for a second reading. Both are requests from Bart Hutchinson to rezone property from low density residential-developing to rural residential. The two properties are in the Pioneer Subdivision with addresses of 57 City View Dr. and 59 City View Dr.

Jacobsen said that a public hearing about the requests had been held on Feb. 3, and a notice of the hearing had been published in the newspaper; notices were mailed to affected landowners and now the Planning and Zoning Commission recommends approval of zone change. He added that the zone change purpose will be to align the lot lines.

“Changing Lot 2 to rural residential will allow Hutchinson to use an already existing barn on the property, and the lot is surrounded by rural residential,” Jacobsen said.

Both requests were approved on second reading. They will be brought to the next regular meeting of the Council for a third and final reading.

Under new business, the council heard five resolutions. Jacobsen discussed the first three, which all had to do with the city vacating land. One resolution would vacate a portion of the Ranch at Evanston Phase 1 Subdivision, blocks 1-14.

“The owner is looking to create a minor subdivision in this area with larger lots,” Jacobsen said.

Another resolution would vacate a portion of the Twin Ridge Subdivision No. 4, Phase 4, including lots 104-108, lots 112-122, all of Kelly Circle and all of Mary Lou Avenue.

“This subdivision was dedicated back in the ’80s and the owner is proposing to develop a portion of it with larger lots and reconfiguring the streets,” Jacobsen said.

The third would vacate a portion of the Twin Ridge Subdivision No. 4, Phase 5, an area north of Twin Ridge. Jacobsen said the developer wants to vacate the area in its entirety and is currently in the process of a subdivision review. The council unanimously approved all three resolutions.

Evanston Director of Engineering and Planning Dean Barker approached the council requesting authorization to apply for a Technical Assistance (TAG) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for pipeline safety, engineering or other scientific analysis of pipeline safety.

Barker explained that this is a $60,000 federal grant that requires no match and would provide for improved hardware and equipment, training and support services. The grant would provide funding for a study and analysis of the hazardous pipelines coming into the city and would prepare a public awareness document. Barker said the GPS unit they would use is accurate within a couple of inches in locating lines. The council approved his request.

Evanston Community Development Director Rocco O’Neil addressed the council concerning the final resolution on the agenda, a request for the city’s permission to execute an agreement with Golden Shovel Agency out of Minnesota to provide an economic development website to help the city and the Uinta County Economic Development Commission in their efforts to expand the economy.

“Golden Shovel is the company I gave a presentation on at your work session several weeks ago,” O’Neill said. “Both the city and the UCEDC have agreed that a website designated specifically for economic development will be a valuable tool to diversify the economy and increase employment within the community. I am just asking for your permission to follow up on this.”

His request was approved unanimously.

Eric Pasenelli with The Arts Inc. then came forward to the podium to thank the council and the mayor for their support of the Celtic Festival.

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