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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Historic designation sought for center city neighborhood

Monday, November 22, 2010

An early car in Monett, looking north up Fourth Street.
The Monett City Council heard a proposal for the creation of a historic district at its November city council meeting.

Nadine Bowman, who has advocated stronger property maintenance enforcement codes in the center city, asked council members to consider establishing a historic district from Broadway to Cleveland and 10th Street to Lincoln.

Bowman said her primary concern was to preserve historic homes in the district. According to Bowman, many homes have already been destroyed through conversion from single family houses into apartments. She wanted regulations to stop single family homes from being turned into apartments and an ordinance stipulating that any apartment buildings sold had to be turned back into single family dwellings.

"I want no effect on home-based businesses," Bowman said. "A lot of places with businesses keep their homes up better."

Bowman added there were other historic homes beyond the district she thought equally worthy of protection.

She viewed her proposal as a starting point, one supported by the Monett Historical Society. Other towns had ordinances that could serve as guidelines.

Mayor Jim Orr said he welcomed further discussion on Bowman's ideas.

Council action

Council members approved retaining James E. Mello, a partner in the St. Louis legal firm of Armstrong Teasdale, as an expert witness in the ongoing litigation with Barry and Lawrence counties over the city's tax increment financing (TIF) program. Mello has served as special TIF and bond counsel for the city of St. Louis and has worked as city administration officer for three towns.

Paperwork filed by the city in the TIF litigation indicated Mello would offer testimony on the custom and practice of applying the state's TIF Act, how the law has operated generally and the public policy behind the law. City Administrator Dennis Pyle said the city paid a retainer of $3,500 for Mello's services.

Council members moved $40,000 from a reserve fund for unexpected expenses during the year. Funds would cover the cost of buying a new excavator for the cemetery for around $29,000 and upgrading the new animal control vehicle for around $11,000.

A $25,000 budget for making repairs to the Greenways Trail had not been used as well. At Pyle's recommendation, funds were moved to the street department for use on sidewalks. Pyle said funds could cover the arrangement made with the Monett R-1 School District for the city's help on replacing sidewalks around Central Park Elementary that connected to the Greenways Trail.

The school district had also asked for the city's help in replacing the sidewalk on the west side of the middle school. Under the deal, the school provides the materials and the city covers the labor costs. Pyle said the middle school work will proceed in the near future.

Ordinance action

No public comments were offered on the proposed ordinance banning the parking of buses, commercial trucks, trailers, tractor-trailers and road machinery on residential streets. Orr said the change clarified previous city laws. Passage was scheduled for the next monthly meeting on Dec. 19.

Final approval was given to three proposed ordinances. Council members voted to raise the license bond for plumbers, a new code section on license violations by plumbers that will be determined by the building inspector, and to expand offenses that can be taken to municipal court for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Bills totaling $1,858,035.23 were paid. Payments included: $938,802 in wholesale electricity purchased from Empire District Electric; $300,000 in supplies for the water system expansion from Water Products; $176,000 for excavation work by Ed Laubinger Excavating in upgrading the west lift station; and $100,000 to Insituform for lining city sewers.

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