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Claflin City Council gives ‘thumbs-up’ to new uses
claflin city offices 2018.JPG
Claflin city offices

 CLAFLIN — The Claflin City Council once again took up discussion concerning a section of the city’s zoning ordinance pertaining to uses for lots located in a residential district within the city when it met Monday night, June 10, according to the unofficial minutes provided to the Great Bend Tribune by City Clerk Patricia Schmidt. 

The discussion resulted in the adoption of Ordinance No. 19-0610 of Section 16-302 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Claflin.  Council members Dustin Daniels, Doug Hubbard, Nathaniel Florian and Casey Hubbard were in favor, and Dan Michaelis opposed. 

The ordinance allows for a number of uses, including one or more family dwellings, churches, schools, parks, playgrounds, farming and truck gardening, hospitals, clinics, sanitariums, philanthropic or eleeemosynary (charity) institutions, nurseries and greenhouses not involving the conduct of retail business, and a variety of accessory buildings including sheds, garages, or other buildings not used for business purposes provided they do not exceed 50 percent of the buildable space on a lot. 

The amendment stems from a request submitted by resident Tim Garth at the April zoning board meeting for a zoning variance for the construction of a garage located on an empty lot across the alley from his home. He requested permission to build a 50x60x16-foot garage that he indicated would match the style of his house, and he would make improvements to the sidewalks on the lot. 

Steve Hickel was a member of the zoning board at the time the request was made. As a nearby property owner, he was opposed to the request, and cited the zoning regulations that noted a garage cannot be built without a residential structure on the lot first. After further discussion, Hickel was joined by Paul Hindman in opposition to the request, while Richard Tennant was in favor. The request was denied the Zoning Board. 

Garth appealed the decision, and it was an agenda item at the May city council meeting. Claflin Mayor Mike Urban agreed with Hickel and Hindman that a variance would be in violation of the ordinance, and was against the request for that reason. But Dorian Hickel asked City Attorney Bob Suelter to clarify the ordinance. The council wasn’t ready to make a motion to vote on the request, and asked for time do more research before making a decision. 

The decision at the June 10 meeting still allowed for neighbors to have some input when a request for a building permit is made. According to the second section of the ordinance:

“The resident property owners of the block or, if there be none, then the resident property owners of the adjoining blocks have the right to appeal to the board of zoning appeals to prevent the erection of any obnoxious structure.”

Hickel steps down from zoning board

At the May city council meeting, Steve Hickel was appointed the city’s building inspector. As such, he would be a contract employee and would be paid $15 an hour. According to the unofficial minutes of the June 10 meeting, Hickel resigned from the zoning board, citing his appointment to Building Inspector as the reason. 

Urban appointed Don Steinert to the zoning board. Michaelis moved to approve the appointment, and Daniels seconded with all in favor. 

Here’s what happened at the Claflin City Council meeting on Monday, June 10, according to the minutes of City Clerk Patricia Schmidt:

• Received department head reports which included the following: 

- The Police Department reports the police pickup had $1,843.00 worth of repairs; firearms qualifications occurred on Saturday, along with measurements taken for new bullet-proof vests; - Public Officer Vaughan provided an update on the Disque house, the Hill house and other properties in the process of making needed repairs. 

- Signed a contract for the city’s water filtration system.

- Accepted a $10,000 grant from the Gary Poore Memorial for equipment at the city park was accepted, with money earmarked for a pool slide and diving board.

- Requested a bid from Little Giant Fittings for a new fence at the park tennis court.

- Approved alterations to the water tank estimated to cost $6,500. A four-inch line will be bored into the tank to replace water line in the future. 

- Heard a request from Building Inspector Steve Hickel for notices be posted to inform residents of the need to purchase building permits for various projects. 

• Two executive sessions were called for the purpose of discussing non-elected personnel. No mention was made about what the discussions pertained to. The first was for 15 minutes, with no action taken. The second was for 10 minutes, with no action taken.

• Adopted an ordinance approving new uses for lots located n a residential district within the city. 

• Appointed Don Steinert to the zoning board.

• Heard a zoning report that included information on two requests, one for 306 Park Street, and one for 601 Albro Street. 

• Approved the purchase of a 60-inch Country Clipper lawn mower in the amount of $1,800 to be paid from the Water, Sewer and General Funds. The old mower will be used for parts. 

• Determined by consensus that Richard Hays will sign off on building permits.