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Claflin Mayor thumbs down on storage request
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The Claflin City council met Monday evening, Feb. 13. The newly built table constructed by S&H Lumber is completed, giving the revamped council chambers an updated look. - photo by Veronica Coons, Tribune staff

CLAFLIN — Shane Suchy returned to the Claflin City Council Monday night in anticipation of its findings on his December proposal to bring five storage units and place them on the property at 130 NE Ave. and K-4. He didn’t get the answer he was hoping for.

The earlier discussion had been tabled so the city attorney could check zoning codes and ordinances. Mayor Mike Urban also made some phone calls to Steve Morgan and Chance Gomez of K & O Railroad, whom Suchy had mentioned were ready to allow him to lease the space.
After looking into it further, Urban said, K & O doesn’t own the land after all and wouldn’t be able to authorize storage sheds going onto the property. Suchy would have to seek permission from Union Pacific. But that wasn’t the only thing keeping Urban from giving his blessing to the project.

Urban also contacted the manager of the elevator, who was concerned about how the containers would affect harvest season traffic. Parking for trucks is an year round concern for Urban, too. Citing what he called a “gentleman’s agreement” with the elevator, the city cleaned up the lot a few years ago and continues to monitor weeds there in exchange of the elevator allowing the city and its residents to park their rigs when they are home. There is a city ordinance against parking them on the streets where they do considerable damage especially during the summer months.

“You said before if we didn’t mind, you would pursue it,” Urban said. “I would prefer they aren’t put there.”

Turning to the council, members agreed that their hands were tied and they couldn’t give the go ahead if the K & O wasn’t authorized to allow the containers.

Suchy said that the information Urban presented didn’t match what he had been told, and said he would look into it further. Some other options were presented, in hopes he would be able to have some sort of presence along K-4 where he could advertise on his containers, but Urban remained firm on his dislike of the proposal. Not only for the inconvenience to truck drivers, but also because the city would not benefit in any way from the arrangement.

The storage containers would be available to the public to rent as off-site storage, but because they are not fixed in place, the city would not benefit from taxes that could be collected if the storage units were stationary.

Suchy disagreed, stating that all existing storage in the city is full, and that filling that need for residents was ample enough benefit to the city. Another options he suggested included locating his containers on the south side of the railroad tracks, but would require spreading rock and working out an arrangement with a property owner to use the road there. He promised to keep the council apprised of his progress.

Other items of business discussed and actions taken included:
• Approved of the annual Clean Up Week to be held March 11-19.
• Authoriwzed City Superintendent Richard Hayes to get a bid number and use his discretion to bid on a street sweeper offered by the City of Hays on Purple Wave.
• Discussed briefly a proposal by Washington Roofing for the school roof, to be split between the City, the school district and the Claflin Recreation Commission. The discussion was tabled until the March meeting. The discussion concerning the contract concerning the cap on utilities with the school was also tabled until March.
• Heard departmental reports from the Police Chief Gary Vaughan and City Superintendent Richard Hayes.
• With changes to the dates of elections this year, City Clerk Patricia Schmidt reminded councilmembers that the deadline to file for office is noon, June. 1, at the Barton County Courthouse.

The meeting was then adjourned. The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Monday, March 13 at the City of Claflin office.