OTTUMWA — The first City Council meeting of 2014 took place Tuesday night inside Council Chambers of City Hall.
It was the first meeting for councilmembers Matt Dalbey and Skip Stevens, as well as the first meeting that was overseen by Mayor Tom Lazio. Councilmember Bob Meyers also started his new term after being re-elected.
Dalbey and Stevens were voted on to replace former councilmembers Brian Morgan and Jeremy Weller, while Mayor Lazio defeated former mayor Frank Flanders in the November election.
There was plenty on the agenda for the first meeting of the new year. On the list for consent agenda, public hearings were set for several projects that will affect the city.
The Lagoon Pump Station Improvements Project, Pennsylvania Avenue Reconstruction Project, Hangar Fire Detection System Replacement Project and Contract Three of the 2010 Flood Protection Mitigation Project all have Jan. 21 set as the date for public hearings. The plans, specifications, form of contract and estimated cost for each project will be discussed.
Other recommendations made during the meeting including the adoption of the City of Ottumwa Investment Policy, effective Jan. 1, 2014. It serves as an update to the previous policy, however no significant changes were made to it. The updates made merely make sure the policy meets the compliancy of the state of Iowa.
Perhaps the hottest topic on the agenda was the recommendation to change zoning classification at 335 E. Fourth St. and 215 N. Jefferson St. Currently, the property located there is under the C-1 retail business classification. The owners of the property, however, want to change the classification to C-2 retail business so they can operate a vehicle sale lot on the property. In order for the lot to become a car sales business, the City of Ottumwa has to approve the reclassification from C-1 to C-2.
The reclassification has been met by some resistance from community members who live close to the intersection. According to multiple reports during the public comment portion about the recommendation, the residents do not want to see a car lot on the intersection because it could cause added traffic to one of the busiest intersections in the city. Community members were also concerned about the possibility of the car lot becoming an eye sore on one of the intersections that visitors to the city see most often.