YUTAN – Now that the new fiscal year is well underway, the Yutan City Council discussed upcoming capital projects when they met last week.

At the Oct. 15 meeting, City Administrator Cole Bockelmann said the four projects were included in the 2019-2020 budget and will cost an estimated $873,000. Bockelmann said following the council’s direction, he will begin the process of financing the projects through bonds.

Once the bond process is started, the city will begin the engineering for the projects, Bocklemann added.

“We’d like to get these projects going and done,” said Mayor Darin Egr.

The first project listed is paving First and Poplar streets and upgrading the water main there. Bockelmann said they are adding the water main upgrade to this project because it makes sense to do the project before the streets are paved. The estimate for the paving is $153,000 and the water main estimate is $50,000.

The second project is overlaying Cedar Drive, which would cost approximately $170,000. Utilities Superintendent Eric Wilke recommended adding speed bumps or dips during the project, to reduce speeders.

“People are trucking through there,” he said.

The most expensive of the four projects is a water main upgrade on Fourth Street from Poplar Street to Hillside Avenue. The estimated cost is $350,000.

Council Member Matt Thompson called the Fourth Street water main upgrade and the Cedar Street overlay the “main priority” for the council.

The fourth project is a continuing one to install electronic water meters in every residence. Bockelmann said about 125 homes have already been completed, but there are approximately 400 left to do. The cost is an estimated $150,000.

Wilke said they began installing the new meters about four years ago, but it takes a long time to do because they must work around residents’ schedules, plus they are limited by the number of employees available to work on the project.

The council also heard discussion between residents of a rural subdivision north of Yutan regarding a proposed zoning change.

Ordinance 751 to amend the zoning of lots 1 to 15 in Sunset Acres, Hansen’s Subdivision and lots 1 and 2 in Witte’s Subdivision from R-1 (low-density residential) to RS (residential subdivision) was approved by the council on the first reading. The ordinance is not passed until three readings have been approved, unless the council votes to waive all three readings.

Each lot being rezoned is three acres or larger. Bockelmann said the area to be rezoned is similar to areas already zoned residential subdivision within the city’s extra territorial jurisdiction. The city can zone within one mile of the city limits, according to state law.

“It was in our best interest, I felt like, to rezone that,” he said. “It’s not a perfect fit, but I definitely think it’s a step in the right direction.”

In a memorandum included in the packet given to council members before the meeting, Bockelmann said the rezoning also fits with the city’s future zoning plans.

Dane and Megan Jorgensen, residents of Sunset Acres, were present to speak in favor of the zoning change during the public hearing. Dane Jorgensen requested a variance to build a pole barn larger than 1,200 square foot last year, but was denied because of zoning. He came to the city administrator and city engineer recently to discuss a possible zoning change to residential subdivision, which would allow for accessory buildings up to 3,600 square feet.

In a letter to the city council, Jorgensen said the zoning change was “not for my interest, but for everyone out here as the current zoning wasn’t very fitting for the type of residences here.”

A handful of residents from the area in question expressed concerns with the plan. Scott Brown and John Dunn asked the council to keep the zoning as it is currently.

Brown said he worried about enforcement and the Yutan Planning Commission’s use of the word “flexible” when describing residential subdivision zoning and Dunn had concerns about the city’s ability to enforce zoning.

Although not directly connected to the zoning ordinance, Brown and Dunn were also focused on the pond Jorgensen has on his six-acre lot. They claim they have had more water on their property since Jorgensen dug the pond.

Bockelmann said the city’s attorney recommended the council not get involved in the pond issue.

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