ENM rounds out council, approves PUD amendment

The Elko New Market City Council filled an open seat as it approved Brandon Prasnicki out of three candidates during a Thursday, Jan. 24, meeting. Prasnicki was interviewed along with Robert Brooks and Brad Smith earlier that evening. After the interviews the council discussed the three candidates and the answers they provided. The council’s consensus was that Prasnicki was the best choice. City Administrator Tom Terry said he would contact Prasnicki that night or the morning of Friday, Jan. 25. He is scheduled to be sworn into office on Thursday, Feb. 14. The seat became open when Tony Gabriel, running unopposed, was elected mayor in November. Prasnicki will fill the final two years on the position. During his interview Prasnicki was asked what were things he wanted to see over the next 20 years for the city. He responded that they should make sure the water is healthy, the growth of the community is well managed and new ideas are met with an open mind. He would also like to see a new middle school and high school built in the area so students wouldn’t have to be bused to New Prague. Prasnicki described himself as "analytical" and a "problem solver." He felt he would meld with the personalities on the council. During the council’s discussion of the three candidates, council member Ken Sulich noted the three candidates shared a lot of similarities, including they all had a business background. Mayor Gabriel asked if there was any value to make the decision that night or wait. The consensus of the council was that it would be better to make the decision that night. The council approved a resolution appointing Prasnicki to the council. Firehouse Grille The council approved a Planned Unit Development (PUD) amendment for Firehouse Grille at 7875 Old Town Rd. City Planner Bob Kirmis explained the PUD amendment was for outdoor seating (with liquor). A 911-squarefoot outdoor patio is already located on the east side of the building. The patio includes a fire pit. Kirmis said a public hearing was held at the Planning Commission’s Tuesday, Jan. 15, meeting. One neighbor listed two concerns. One was smoke from the fire pit, which could blow onto her property to the west. Kirmis said the fire pit is regulated by city code. The second was the outdoor liquor service. She suggested such service terminate at midnight. Kirmis noted the city has onlyset limits on outdoor dining activities during special events at Captain Black’s and Leo’s Bar. Both, the new owner of Firehouse Grille, Tom Johnson, and the neighbor, Patty Peterson, were at the January 24 meeting. Peterson said she wasn’t too concerned about noise from the establishment, which Johnson had assured her it would be a family restaurant. She did ask that the sign be changed as it has shined into her house. Firehouse Grille is tentatively scheduled to open April 1. Closed Meeting The council went into a closed meeting to discuss the acquisition of property at 420 St. Joseph St. After reopening the meeting, the council authorized city staff to make an offer on the land. It is adjacent to city property and located across from the former Bergstrom’s Bar. Terry said one value of the property would be to the Public Works Department. It would also allow for the clean up of a long-term vacant property that has been subject to vandalism and maintenance issues.