Council discusses facelift for building

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

The building housing New Prague Pets will be getting a facelift, but first an agreement on property lines has to be worked out with the city.

At its Monday meeting, Renee Christianson, New Prague city planner, informed the New Prague City Council that Bob and Mary Lien recently purchased the building, at 105 East Main Street. The couple is in the process of renovating the structure. They plan to create an apartment unit upstairs, which likely hasn't been occupied for decades.

As part of their plan, they are working on the windows. It's been found that a building code requirement will affect four windows on the east side of the building. The code states the structure has to be set back three feet from the property line, it meets that on the north side, but not the south. The Liens would like to work out a variance or an agreement with the city, or they would have to board up the windows.

New Prague City Administrator Jerry Bohnsack said the city can't grant a variance from building codes.

Councilmember Rob Babione asked what the rationale was for the three-foot setback.

Christianson said that it has to do with providing an escape route in case of fire. The city owns the property to the east of the building, which contains a small park area in the front and a few parking spaces in the back. City staff supports the possibility of transferring a part of the area to the Liens to give them a three-foot setback.

The council unanimously approved that city staff negotiate an agreement with the Liens.

Variance approved

The council unanimously approved a property setback variance for an attached garage proposed by Clinton Stocker.

With the variance, the addition would line up with the current garage and home. The structure and neighboring homes were built before the city instituted its current zoning regulations. While the addition could be built to meet the setback requirements it would not have lined up with the rest of the structure.

Christianson updated the council about the monument sign for East Town Plaza. The sign meets the city's requirements for size, height, location and was in the original drawings, but Gordon Carlson, a resident who lives near the sign, had concerns about the light from it at night and that it could impact the value of his property.

City staff will be measuring the light from the sign to see if meets ordinance requirements.

Other business

- Christianson told the council that for the city to be able to realign Sixth Street NW with Seventh Street the city will have to annex some land north of Sixth Street. Randy Kubes owns the land and has no issues with the annexation. The city still needs to talk to representatives of Helena Township.

- The council unanimously approved an agreement with Bolton & Menk, Inc., to design the city's new Wastewater Treatment Plant. The cost for the design is approximately $1.1 million.

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