Local resident pleads with city council for a ban on texting while driving
During public comments at the regular meeting of the city council on Sept. 20, local resident Fred Zak addressed the city council for the fourth time and pleaded with them to pass an ordinance banning cell phone use while driving.
Zak said he had been seriously ill and apologized for not having prepared more information but said that one statistic he found online stated that 6,660 people admitted to texting while driving.
“There is only 49 days left till election,” Zak said to the council. “It is time to start moving forward on this issue. I see people driving while texting and using their cell phones every day on 6th Street. Someone is going to get hurt.”
Again, Mayor Williams thanked Zak for coming and expressing his concerns. He said the council is still discussing the situation but haven’t made any decisions as to a solution yet.
At the start of the meeting, the council approved the parade route permit for the Evanston High School Student council for the annual homecoming parade to be held on Friday, Sept. 23, at 1:00 p.m. The parade route was set to start at Davis Middle School and commence down 10th Street to parade on Main Street.
An agreement with Hazen and Sawyer to provide the engineering services for the Evanston water treatment plant powdered activated carbon improvement project for the filter system to guarantee clean water was presented by Gordon Robinson and approved by the council.
Director of Engineering and Planning Dean Barker presented the next two resolutions. The first was an agreement with Crest,LLC to provide design and construction management services for the Overthrust Ball Fields Field 1 improvement project.
Barker said, “It is important that we make sure the design is correct on this project. We received two very close bids and Crest LLC provided a firm bid to provide 20 hours per week construction management.”
Mayor Williams asked if anyone present wanted to speak to the council regarding the resolution.
Matt Morrow, president of Evanston Outlaws Baseball, then addressed the council, “We will be hands-on with the contractors and answer any question they may have as we are familiar with the baseball field regulations. This project when completed will be a real benefit to the kids, to Evanston and to the economy.”
The council approved the agreement with Crest, LLC for the design and construction management services for the Overthrust Ball Field project.
Barker then addressed the next resolution regarding change order #2 and change order #3 for the Avalon International Aluminum, LLC site preparation and utility package project.
“Change order #2 has to do with the fact that we upgraded the building,” Barker said. “Change order #3 has to do with the need for seeding the slope; however, I didn’t realize that that this is actually included in Change order #2. This change will cost an additional $6,000. We are preparing the area for a 8” water line which is only $1,000 more than a 6” inch line and will be substantially better. We would like to move forward on this project as soon as the change order has been approved.”
The Council then amended the resolution to eliminate the need for change order #3 and voted to approve the resolution with the amendment for Change order #2 for the Avalon International Aluminum LLC site preparation and utility package project.
EPD Chief Mike Vranish addressed the next 6 resolutions which were all contracts/agreements for grant funding.
The first two agreements involved contracts with the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of the Police to provide funds for the police department to conduct alcohol compliance inspections and tobacco compliance inspections.
“These two programs have been successful and I believe have helped to reduce underage alcohol and tobacco consumption,” Vranish said.
The Council approved the two contracts with the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of the Police.
Vranish asked the Council to consider all of the remaining four resolutions in one vote as they all had to do with agreements with the Highway Safety Program of the Wyoming Department of Transportation to receive grant funds. The funds will provide for the purchase of radar equipment and car video cameras for the Evanston Police Department. They will also provide funding for occupant protection (seat belt enforcement) and impaired driving enforcement (which includes the use of cell phones while driving).
All six of the requests made by Chief Vranish were approved by the council.
Last to address the council was DuWayne Jacobsen, senior planner, asking the council to amend Section 24-105 of Chapter 23, Zoning of the city code to allow more than one kitchen in a dwelling unit.
“Planning and zoning held a public hearing on this matter and have recommended its approval,” Jacobsen said. “The original ordinance was vague and needed clarification and specific definition for a kitchen.”
Jacobsen said there had been a demonstrated need to allow more than one kitchen in a dwelling unit and at the same time not to increase the density of residential neighborhoods.
The new ordinance defines dwelling unit as: “One or more rooms in a dwelling or portion thereof, used and designed and intended to be used for occupancy by one family or a group living together as a single unit as described in Section 24-17 of the Evanston City Code, including permanent provisions for living, cooking, eating, sleeping and sanitation.”
The definition of kitchen is as follows: “That portion of a dwelling unit devoted to the cooking or preparation of food for the purpose of consumption by residents of a dwelling unit. The term includes a ‘kitchenette,’ ‘wet bar’ or any area equipped with items such as a counter-top hot plate, counter-top grill, or microwave oven, together with an under-counter refrigerator and sink. ‘Full kitchen facilities’ indicates the presence of complete cooking facilities (i.e., stove, oven or microwave oven, refrigerator, and sink). The presence within any food preparation area of a ventilation hood, gas stub, 220-volt electrical outlet or wiring, or any combination thereof, shall be considered a ‘full kitchen facility.’”
After a brief discussion of possible concerns, the council approved Ordinance 22 – 04 on first reading. It will be presented for two more readings before final approval.