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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Council Takes No Action On Property Detachment

Issue Date: February 8, 2017

In a somewhat confusing action at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7, Peshtigo City Council seems to have sent a group of residents seeking to have their properties detached from the city back to the drawing boards. The Judiciary Committee at its meeting on Jan. 24 had recommended disapproval of a possible ordinance to have the property detached and assigned to the Town of Peshtigo instead. Petitioners Michael Bayer, Louise Bayer, Eugene Frank, Sentinel Structures Inc., and Brian Olsen have argued that their properties were cut off from the city when the Hwy. 41 bypass went through and say they and the city would be better served by having them become part of the adjacent Town of Peshtigo.

At Tuesday night's Council meeting Judiciary Committee Chair Mary Lock proposed a motion to approve the petition, subject to several conditions, which included: all owners of the requested area are in agreement with the a written consent; must get a legal survey of all the properties involved, and the Bayer property has to satisfy the written abatement of nuisance dated 8/1/16 by the city building inspector.

Lock commented the Town of Peshtigo probably also would not accept the Bayer property without the cleanup the motion would have required. She said there is one property owner whose name was not on the detachment petition and would need to be included.

Lock's motion was seconded by Trustee Brigitte Schmidt, but was never approved. Before the vote was called Trustee Tom Gryzwa asked how they would verify that the requirements were met, and what the procedure then would be for the detachment once they were met. That led to discussion and teh resulting non decision.The petitioners were tol to complete the work in Lock's proposed motion and return to Council. Lock withdrew hr motion to approve conditionally, and Schmidt withdrew her second.

The meeting documents included a letter from Tygravge Rhude, Corporate Secretary of Sentinel Structures, objecting to the way the Judiciary Committee had handled their request and asking the Council to consider the five property owners involved and cited city services they will most likely never receive from the city because of their location. "The city has a barrier hindering its prospects for expansion east of the highway and the property owners will in all likelihood never receive the services the city should provide to its residents, he wrote.

Rhude said in his letter, and later when he addressed the Council, that he believes the highway created a situation in which both the city and the property owners have been harmed. He said Sentinel Structures bought the land for possible future expansion which they cannot ever do there now because it is on the wrong side of the highway.

Louise Bayer told the Council she could do so much more with her property if it were detached, "maybe I could sell it." She said she has been trying to do that for 25 years.

Mayor Cathi Malke asked her what would change if they were in the town rather than the city, and Bayer said the town has more lenient rules, and for example she could keep her animals.

Others who addressed the council on the detachment issue were John Bayer, on behalf of his mother and all the others who wanted to detach, and Mike Bayer, who said he would like to build a garage on property he owns across the road from his house, but which the city would probably never allow on a lot by itself.

Discussion when the issue came to a vote was that the owners should fulfill the requirements and then come back, but no formal action appeared to have taken place.

At the start of the meeting there was a public hearing on a new set of fees for building permits, etc. No one spoke for or against the ordinance revision and later in the meeting it was adopted without discussion or dissent. Gryzwa, who chairs the Finance committee, said after the meeting that most of the fees had been far below those charged in similar size communities, and they were raised to bring them more in line with actual costs.

Malke reported it is time for the city to redo its 10-year comprehensive plan and she had successfully applied to Bay Lakes Regional Planning Commission for technical assistance. That request was approved, she said, and the city will be getting 40 hours of free assistance. Vote authorizing her to accept this assistance was unanimous.

The meeting included approval of the TOP Dog park lease of city owned land in the Town of Peshtigo for a dog park. The dog park will occupy only a portion of the property, and Jerry Hansen, president of the Dog Park group, had asked the city to post no hunting signs in the vicinity of the park. Malke said the city always posted no hunting during deer season, but agreed with Lock that the request should go to the Judiciary Committee to see if they can do that, because the request would also involve no hunting during small game season.

At the request of city resident Rebecca Kobus , Peshtigo became the first city in America to designate Monday, March 6 as World Lymphedema Day. Kobus is a founder of the Wisconsin chapter of the group hoping to raise awareness of the disease and encourage research.

Malke was proud and pleased to report that the city will be receiving the gift of a free AED machine for City Hall from the Spies Family's "Save A Heart" mission.

Malke said she had been seeking funds to get an AED when "I received the best phone call a city can have," and it was from the Spies Family of Menominee offering to make the dream come true.

Malke, a very active member of the area rescue squad, said having an AED nearby, along with someone trained to use it, can be life life saving. Delay in cases of cardiac arrest means death.

Brian Spies told the Council that on Sept. 21, 2015, when he was 31 years old, he experienced cardiac arrest while watching a youth football game at Spies Field in Menominee. His life was saved because there was an AED handy.

Malke said Irene Mayou "has graciously agreed to teach anyone in Peshtigo to use the AED," and will also teach the emergency CPR that needs to be used on a cardiac arrest victim until the machine arrives. Anyone wanting to take the class should contact Malke.

Parks and Recreation Director Dave Zahn reported the ice skating party sponsored by Peshtigo Chamber of Commerce will be held from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11 on the rink at Harper Park.


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841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
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