Monday, August 04, 2008
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City briefs: Council closes the month of July with various discussions

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[August 04, 2008]  With Mayor Pro-tem Marty Neitzel at the helm, Alderman Verl Prather absent and Alderman Benny Huskins now retired, the eight remaining aldermen carried on business as usual in the Lincoln City Hall council chambers on Tuesday evening. They discussed a number of matters, including some that could come to a vote on Monday.

CivicFifth Street traffic

Traffic on Fifth Street has been an increasing frustration for motorists waiting to cross at intersections during peak times in the day. It is becoming a motorist hazard that could be alleviated by traffic signals.

The intersection of Fifth Street and College Street has been identified as a key location for a signal. Lincoln's streets chairman, Dave Armbrust, said that at the request of the city an Illinois Department of Transportation study was performed at that intersection, and the results have just returned.

A traffic count determined that a traffic signal is not warranted at this time. The IDOT report did say that they expect that as the city grows, this will be needed within five years. IDOT has added it to the city's improvement program.


Animal control

Sanitation chairman Melody Anderson said that she had met with representatives of the Humane Society of Logan County and with the state director of prison ministries, "just to explore the possibilities of animal control in Lincoln/Logan County." She said there was nothing to report yet, but that she would keep the council posted.

Zoning request

Sometime in its past an area of Lincoln had an unusual zoning applied to it that occasionally creates an issue. Such is the case at 1501 N. Sangamon St. Owners of the property are requesting that the zoning be changed from I-2 (heavy industrial) to I-1 (light industrial). A major difference in the two zoning designations is that if an I-2 is destroyed, it cannot be reconstructed. This can create a drawback if trying to sell a property.

The current request, from Home Sales Inc., of Deerfield, Fla., passed the Lincoln Planning Commission unanimously on July 17. It has been put on Monday's council agenda for a vote.


The Art of Wine

Main Street Lincoln has petitioned for street closing downtown in order to once again host the Art of Wine during the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival this year. Last year the tent had over 4,000 visitors.

Eight Illinois vineyards will be featured, and there will be evening entertainment.

Hours would be:

  • Saturday, Aug. 23, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.

  • Sunday, Aug. 24, 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

Citizen's observations

A citizen came before the council with a couple of concerns. James Reynolds said that he and his wife are enjoying living in Lincoln, but that he had a few concerns for the city to consider.

Reynolds noticed several intersections in town that had obstructions to viewing traffic. He suggested that these could lead to accidents that could be prevented, and also the city might be held liable if the situations were not dealt with.

Computer Repair

The viewing obstruction at a couple of the intersections involved trees, and city streets superintendent Tracy Jackson has responded already, he said.

A remaining concern is at the intersection at Pekin and Logan streets, where the view of traffic is blocked by a partial retaining wall. Reynolds wondered what could be done before there would be a serious accident.

City engineer Mark Mathon said that Logan Street is a state route. As such, the city does not have jurisdiction over it. He said that on Wednesday he would look into the possibilities of what might be done.

Alderman Buzz Busby thanked Reynolds for his observations. "We appreciate it," he said. "Extra eyes in town are particularly appreciated."

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Health Care


Reynolds is retired and works out at the Lincoln Park District's Recreation Center. In his next comments, he first said, "I think, by and large, the fire department is doing an excellent job."

But, he noted that he often sees firemen out at the Rec to exercise while they are on duty, and they leave their trucks running while they work out.

He had several concerns about this practice. He questioned if it might put them too far out of range to respond as quickly if called out; if leaving the trucks running was a poor use of fuel; and if the firemen shouldn't be expected to keep up their fitness during off-duty time.

Fire chairman Jonie Tibbs responded by saying that the fire station is just two miles away; the Lincoln Park District offers the department a reduced rate so firemen can stay fit; the state of Illinois requires them to stay fit; they are always ready to go; and it costs less for the trucks to idle than to start up. "Like it or not, our firemen are probably the best of the best around," she said.

She recalled a recent incident where their performance was outstanding. Fire Chief Kent Hulett and two firemen were present at the circus when threatening weather required moving the crowd to safe places. They did a great job.

A man's heart stopped during that event, but he was revived by the firemen, and "this man is living today," Tibbs said.

She would not support changing their fitness routine. "I am not going to gripe or groan" about the firemen going out to the Rec to stay fit for us, she said.

As she finished, Alderman Buzz Busby intoned, "Hear, hear!"

Policy change eliminates sewer cleaning of non-city property

A request from Mr. Short was made to the city regarding jet sewers at a state government location on Lincoln's south side. The matter was tabled at last week's voting session until it could be discussed further.


Alderman Buzz Busby noted that the city just spent $200,000 upgrading the south plant lift station. The state contributed $0.

City attorney Bill Bates reminded the council that the city's policy is not to pump private sewers, as there could be damage to the private line and the city could be held liable for that.

Busby added that it could also lead to the city's equipment being damaged.

Sewer manager Dave Kitzmiller observed that the city did help them out three years ago, but that the city's policy has changed since then.

No, no new signs

A request to the council for a sign permit was discussed. Zion Lutheran School would like to replace an old sign on their building.

A school representative first requested a sign permit from the city's building codes office, which was denied by code enforcement officer Lester Last. Last was following protocol since the city issued a moratorium on all sign permits while the ordinance is being rewritten.


Bates reminded the council that no new permits could be issued until the new ordinance is put into place. It was stated when the moratorium was put in place that the ordinance could possibly be done by Aug. 15. Bates confirmed this week that he expects it to be ready next month.

The moratorium was issued when it was noticed that some unfitting-to-surroundings and distractingly large billboards were going up inside city limits. The past billboards and signs ordinances were interlinked. There would be some separation between them in the new ordinance.


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