Tuesday, Aug. 5


City grapples with 'what's fair
for one...' issue   
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[AUG. 5, 2003]  The Lincoln City Council, acting as the Public Vehicle Licensing Board, heard the request from Brian and Malisa Rankin for the issuance of a new taxicab license. The Rankins want to take over the current Lincoln cab company, Safe Ride, from its present owner, who is leaving the business. The public hearing was held to determine if the city has a public need and necessity for an additional taxi service, or in this case, since it is the lone taxi service in the city, for a taxi service at all. 

While reviewing the current plans for the business transfer, the council cited two procedures that the new owners will need to modify to be operating legally within the city ordinances. 

It was only recently that another family business came before the council to appeal a city ordinance violation charge. City Attorney Bill Bates recalled that that issue became somewhat heated. That business was denied their appeal, and this business is a similar situation.

The Rankins were asked where they plan to operate their taxi business from, specifically where the business phone is located and where the vehicles are parked.

Malisa said that they have a land-based phone set up to ring in at their home but that the calls are automatically relayed to their cell phones for answering. 

The Rankins also said that the vehicles will be parked in their garage and parking area in back of their home at night until 6 a.m., when drivers pick them up. The vehicles do not return again until end of day.

The city ordinance states that people cannot operate a business in a residential area. Part of defining what constitutes running a business, Bates explained, is, “If you have your vehicles at your home, you are operating out of your home.”

Bates determined that the relay phone system was marginal but probably acceptable. It falls in a gray area. But the vehicles would definitely need to be parked somewhere else during the night, as the Rankins live in a residential area.

The Rankins said they preferred parking at their home so that they could watch the vehicles better. They have had some theft of radios in the past. But they will look for a business area that may be secure enough and allow them to park the vehicles overnight.

A “yes” vote that the service the business provides is needed in the city was unanimous from the six council members present. This included Marty Neitzel, Benny Huskins, Patrick Madigan, Joani Tibbs, Buzz Buzby and Derrick Crane.

The council moved to issue the license, pointing out that that the business is subject to all details in compliance with the city ordinances.

In other business the council addressed the request from Lincoln District 27's contractors for the closing of Kankakee Street from Broadway to the alley behind the current junior high building site and to close one-third of North Broadway Street between Kankakee and Ottawa streets.

Councilman Buzz Busby read the requirements for the proposed traffic plan:

1. A sidewalk closure on the north and south side of Broadway Street from Ottawa to Kankakee Street.

2. A sidewalk closure on the east side of Ottawa Street from Broadway Street to the alley.

3. A sidewalk closure on the west side of Kankakee Street from Broadway Street to the alley.

4. An alley closure from Kankakee Street to Ottawa Street.

5. A lane closure on the west side of Kankakee Street from Broadway to the alley.


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6. A lane closure on Ottawa Street from the alley to Broadway Street.

7. The removal and replacement of three existing trees on Broadway Street. The trees will be removed to the city nursery for storage and future replanting.

8. The removal of two trees at Ottawa Street and Broadway Street.

9. Parking signs within the construction limits on Broadway Street will be removed or covered.

10. The proposed closure date will be from Sept. 1, 2003, through July 21, 2004.

Busby moved that the city council approve the S.M. Wilson construction company's request. The request was approved unanimously with the understanding that a certificate of insurance be provided.

The council approved a request to close Main Street from 5 to 9:45 p.m. on Aug. 23. The request was presented by Steve Vinyard for the purpose of having a fireworks display behind the old Carnival Video store.

A request was also approved to remove a sidewalk at 311 Second St. submitted by John Carter. The sidewalk would be removed at the city's expense, but a new sidewalk would not be put in.

The city council voted to give Lincoln Police Chief Richard Montcalm and City Attorney Bill Bates permission to approach the union representing the city's police officers to see if they would enter into discussion about changing to nine-hour work shifts.

Councilman Derrick Crane showed the council a replica of the plaque that will be presented to qualifying Lincoln historic homes or buildings. Crane said the plaque and the criteria for having a historical home would be available at City Hall for people to see. People interested in qualifying must meet two of the four criteria in order to be eligible. The cost of the plaque for those who qualify is $75. Mayor Beth Davis said she hoped there would be an interest in having a historic home designation, since Lincoln is trying to establish and preserve its history.

Mayor Davis reported to the council that a $500,000 grant has been tentatively approved. U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood was instrumental in helping the city receive this grant, which has to be formally approved by the U.S. Senate before it is finalized.

The grant appears to be the result of a trip made to Washington, D.C., by a newly formed city legislative task force.

Mayor Davis formally appointed a legislative and grant writing committee at last night's meeting. She said she hopes that they will be able to pursue more grants annually.

The new committee consists of Ward 1 Alderman Benny Huskins, Ward 2 Alderman Verl Prather, Ward 3 Alderman David Armburst, Ward 4 Alderman Buzz Busby and Ward 5 Alderman Derrick Crane. Crane was asked to chair the committee and take charge of grant writing.

[Don Todd,  Jan Youngquist]

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