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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo OKs Zone Change For Charapata Seed Sales

Following a public hearing that preceded its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, July 5, Peshtigo City Council unanimously approved a zoning change that allows Kris Charapata to expand his Charapata Seed Sales business at 731 French Street, which is the former Hwy. 41 through the city.

At the 6:30 p.m. public hearing, neighboring property owners Robert and Judy Falash opposed the rezoning request. Their property on 780 Thompson Street adjoins the Charapata property on the back side. The rezoned portion of Charapata's property is directly behind "The Store" gas station, Subway Shop and Convenience Store on French Street.

At the public hearing, Falash argued that changing the property that borders his from residential to commercial devalues his residential property, and that a fence there is not adequate to block noise and keep the area beautiful.

Mayor Cathi Malke asked if there had been an agreement at the Plan Commission meeting to raise the fence. Charapata said they had discussed it, but there was no agreement. He said the zoning change will make his property commercial all the way across. The rezoning was requested for an L-shaped portion behind the current fertilizer and seed sales operation that has been in business for about four years.

Charapata said his business "is pretty quiet." In response to questions from Alderman Debbie Sievert he said he receives shipments of merchandise and delivers to farms who order it. He said he needs to expand. "I would like to stay in Peshtigo," he said, but added if he cannot get room to expand where he is he may need to look at other options, which could include moving.

LeRoy Spitzmacher said he works for Carriveau, and declared, "We don't work at night, and he keeps a clean place."

Malke said the city had received a letter from Jerry Koronkiewicz, owner of "The Office," a bar that adjoins the Charapata property, stating that he had no problem with the rezone request.

Later, at the council meeting vote in favor of rezoning the back portion of Charapata's property as requested was unanimous.

Other unanimous action by the full Council included approval of an ordinance ending the city's Tax Incremental Funding (TIF) District as required by law. Malke reported that the final TID annual report had been reviewed and approved by the Joint Review Board at it meeting on Tuesday, June 27, and the TID had been very successful for the city. In a TID, property taxes collected on improvements made possible by the TID are used to pay for streets, utilities and other development costs until the TID ends, after which they add to the city's general property values.

Malke thanked whoever had put flags all along Business 41 (French Street), the main thoroughfare through the city. She also thanked Cheryl Panski who volunteered to take care of the hanging planters at Riverfront park for the summer. "It's wonderful that she's willing to do that for the community," Malke declared.

Council approved an Emergency Medical Services agreement with Little River Fire Department, authorized Public Works Director George Cowell to advertise for a Fall/Seasonal employee for the Public Works Department, and approved Michael Chapman and Tanner Lemery for city firefighter positions. Cowell was authorized to post internally for someone to fill the recycle attendant position and then if needed advertise for someone from the outside to work for $10 an hour in that position.

Council okayed bartender licenses for Nicholas Stansfield and Abigail Sue Meeks, pending police department approval, on recommendation of Trustee Jillian Schutte, who chairs the License and Police Committee.

Malke advised the Council that the packet included a letter from Marinette County regarding foreclosure of tax liens. Some of the properties involved are located in the city.

Parks and Recreation Director Dave Zahn reported he had laid 300 feet of "black silk" fabric along the shoreline in Riverfront Park to try to keep the geese out, "and it has been mostly effective." He added that he is continuing to work on solution "that isn't quite as obvious."

He said his crew is about two thirds done with the weeding in the park, and now has received a boost from New Life Church in the form of an offer to work on weed removal and other grounds work in the park. Zahn also thanked the Department of Public Works for work they had done to remove sand from the neighborhood playground known as "Picker Park" and replace it with top soil that is not burr-infested.

Zahn said it looks like this will be another great year for Badger Park Campground, where numbers are again up. He mentioned a letter from a camper complimenting the park and the city in general.

Public Works Director George Cowell reported cleanup after the June 11 storm was "a significant undertaking." Their chipper with two people was out for two full weeks disposing of fallen trees and limbs, and city crew had to take down a number of trees damaged by the storm.

There also had been some significant power outages, and a failure of electronic variable speed drives at lift stations. For a time two of the three lift station pumps were out. "We were on pins and needles for a time," he declared, adding that had things gone differently BPM would have had to shut down for a time or sewage would have gotten into the river, "which is a pretty serious violation."

He said Menominee, Mich. had been prepared to loan Peshtigo a large spare pump if it had become necessary.

Letters have been sent to residents reminding them they can no longer use 50-gallon drums for garbage containers, and also urging more effective recycling efforts. He said the property owners had two weeks to replace their barrels with 30-gallon trash cans.

Council approved borrowing $122,000 at the best rate possible and spending $73,740 from the Capital Improvement Fund to purchase a 2015 demo Vacall Street Sweeper for the Public Works Department. They also okayed spending an additional $1,620 from the Capital Improvement Fund for additional accessories for the police department's Toughbooks, assign $704 from donations to buy tables for the park, and allow the fire department to spend $2,919.45 from a DNR firefighting grant.

Fire Chief Steve Anderson reported Chris Rohde had done good work for the department in application for the grant a year ago. "We got the maximum amount we could get," he commented. Malke thanked Rohde for his good work.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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