Lincoln City Council hears three requests from Building and Safety Office:
McDonalds Drive-thru, Fast track demolition, and street-side parking of trailers

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[June 30, 2016]  LINCOLN - On Tuesday evening, the Lincoln City Council met for their Committee of the Whole. During that meeting, they were asked by Building and Safety Officer John Lebegue to add three items to the next voting agenda.

McDonalds drive thru area

Lebegue presented a concept drawing of the new McDonalds that will be built at the corner of Woodlawn Road and Lincoln Parkway. The plan includes the demolition of the former Tropics Restaurant and AT&T store that are there currently.

Lebegue pointed out the drive-thru area for the restaurant and told the council that the city always has to approve a special use permit for drive-thru construction, so this is not an extraordinary request.

He pointed out that the drive-thru design meets and exceeds all the requirements. Specifically, the path of the drive-thru must not interfere with street traffic. He said the requirement was that the drive-thru has enough off-street driveway for a minimum of five cars to be waiting in line at once. He said the plan before the city had much more driveway space than needed.

The City Plan Commission reviewed the plans for the drive-thru last week and recommended approval.

Looking at the drawing, Michelle Bauer asked to clarify that the city was only approving the drive-thru area, not the entry area marked on the plan coming in from Woodlawn. Lebegue said that was correct.

Bauer also said that she had concerns and issues with the thought of an entrance on Woodlawn. Jonie Tibbs wondered where the Woodlawn entrance would be compared to the buildings that are there currently. Lebegue said it was in the vicinity of Jake’s Furniture store. But, he said he didn’t know that the Illinois Department of Transportation would even approve that portion of the site plan, in fact, he highly doubted that they would.

He said that his guess was that IDOT would require that the restaurant utilizes Hickox Drive, and enter north of the restaurant, where patrons now enter for the current McDonalds. He said he could see a right-turn only exit only for Woodlawn, that it would be unsafe for there to be lane crossings for east and west traffic in that area.

He shared that the site plan has not yet been submitted to IDOT, so those decisions are still pending.

Fast Track demolition projects

The city recently approved two fast track demolition projects for the fiscal year ending April 30th, 2016. Tuesday evening, Lebegue recommended two more demolition projects that will spend the budget appropriation for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2017.

1402 N. Kickapoo - Lebegue presented photos of a property at 1402 North Kickapoo in Lincoln. Lebegue said this location was a former business and residence that is abandoned and causing life safety issues in the community.

He noted that the building is overgrown and is currently a nesting place for wild animals. He said there is also a lot of trash there, and it appears that some people are using the site as a personal dump.

Lebegue said he had received quotes on the project from Harold Goodman and Moody Excavation. Goodman had quoted the project that includes two buildings at approximately $18,000. Moody’s quote was for $7,500.

Lebegue explained the difference in the cost, saying that Moody’s is going to absorb a large portion of the cost because he is a member of this community, and he wants to help the city get this place cleaned up.

Lebegue concluded that there are safety concerns and health concerns at this property and also that getting the buildings taken down will add value to the rest of the community. It was also noted that the property is zoned commercial, and having the derelict building gone could open that parcel to new commercial development.

For geographical reference; this property is at the intersection of North Kickapoo and Denver Avenue, on the east side of the road, just north of Lincoln Land Communications.

512 North Monroe - Lebegue said this was another property that has to go. He noted that the owner of the property has been ordered multiple times to clean it up and has even spent time in jail after defying court orders to that effect. Therefore, it is time for the city to take the matter into its own hands.

He said the property is falling down. The roof is caving in on the back side, and in the past there has been a great accumulation of trash behind the house. He noted that the owner uses the back for storage of junk, but has recently removed some of the accumulation.

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Lebegue showed a photo of the back side of the property illustrating that the roof has large holes in it and is falling off at the back edge. He said again, the property is housing vermin and wild animals, and poses health and safety concerns for the community.

Lebegue noted that the property stands out in the community because of its poor condition, and said taking action would increase the value of properties in the community.

Lebegue said estimates from Goodman and Moody had been received. Goodman quoted $4,300 for the demolition, and Moody quoted $4,800.

Lebegue concluded asking the council to approve the demolition projects next week and grant the jobs to Moody for 1402 N. Kickapoo and to Goodman for 512 North Monroe.

Geographically, this property is located south of Woodlawn Road between 13th Street and Short Eleventh Street.

Street side parking for trailers

Once again, Lebegue is asking the council to reconsider their position on allowing trailers, boats, campers and such to park along the streets of Lincoln. Tuesday night, he said that he was bringing back an issue that was hashed out in 2012 with little progress.

At that time, new rules were written for street side parking, which failed to pass with the sitting council. Those rules were quite complicated and addressed not only street side parking, but also parking of campers and trailers in driveways and the lawn areas in front of and behind respective homes. As a result of the complexity of the new rules, and the council’s inability to reach an agreement on what was fair and acceptable, a motion made in 2012 to pass the new rules failed and the topic was dropped.

Lebegue said the current ordinance permits anyone to park anything on the street for a 72-hour period. But, he said the problem is that as the rule is written, anyone who does do this, can simply keep track of the hours, and go out and move the parked item a few inches and the clock restarts. Therefore, he said, the current ordinance is unenforceable.

Lebegue said that this practice makes for some very complicated situations for the city street department. He noted instances such as the heavy snows a few winters ago, saying that the city plows had to navigate around parked trailers and other items, creating large piles of snow that took long periods of time to eliminate.

Lebegue is asking the council to make a small change in the language of the current ordinance. He said he wanted the ordinance to give anyone permission to park in front of their property for 72 hours; and the allowance stops there. This would mean that moving a trailer or vehicle a few inches would not re-start the clock, and after a 72 hour period had passed, the city ordinance could be enforced.

Alderwoman Jonie Tibbs asked if the change would affect all trailers, regardless of their use.

Lebegue said it would.

Tibbs commented then on those who use trailers in their business for loading and unloading for freight.

Lebegue said that his office would “work with” those types of scenarios. He added that often, those who do use trailers for their business would contact his office and advise him of what they will be doing and for how long.

Tibbs asked if the trailers could be parked in personal driveways. Lebegue said yes and no. In the portion of the driveway that extends from the front of the home to the street, trailers may not be parked. However, if a driveway passes the house so that the trailer can be pulled in and parked beside the house, but behind the front of the house, that is acceptable.

Bauer said, using her street as an example, that there are cases when there is no side of the house or back alleyway parking at all. She said this rule would make it difficult for homeowners in that situation. Lebegue said he was aware of that, and named a few streets where off street parking within the city’s rules would be impossible. Bauer said she just wanted to be cautious in the decisions the council makes.

Jeff Hoinacki noted that this was a big issue in 2012 that garnered a lot of public input, mostly opposing the plan. He said he would like to delay the vote on this item, put an explanation on the city website, and ask for public opinion.

The council agreed. The city will post information regarding the proposed ordinance changes on its website and seek public input. Aldermen will then revisit the topic at the July 26th Committee of the Whole meeting. It should be decided then whether or not to place a motion on the voting agenda for the first week in August.

Due to the Fourth of July holiday, the next voting session of the Lincoln City Council will be moved to July 5th.

The Committee of the Whole meeting for July 12th was canceled by Mayor Marty Neitzel.

[Nila Smith]



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