Paving of lawn park areas
The Public Works Committee continues to hear numerous requests from citizens to pave lawn park areas. On Monday’s agenda, there were three such requests. The first came from Dan and Frank Esposito for their properties located at 1021 and 1024 – 60th Street, the second came from the First Congregational Church, 5934 Eighth Avenue, and the third came from Karl Davis, 2418 – 26th Avenue.
Frank Esposito appeared in person on the behalf of his son, Dan, and himself. Frank owns Jewell Motors, and his son owns the chiropractor’s office directly across the street. Mike Lemens, director of public works, said that concrete is usually allowed for a reason. Esposito said that concrete was needed for the chiropractic office because patients park on the street, and they need an easy, safe access.
Alderperson G. John Ruffolo asked about aggregate, which is what Esposito wants to use. He asked Lemens if it was higher maintenance, and whose responsibility it was to maintain it. Lemens said that it was higher maintenance. It usually requires yearly sealing. The property owner is responsible for the incremental cost. If colored concrete is used, it always creates problems because the colors can’t be match exactly. Lemens stated that he is more partial to a stamped concrete pattern or brick pavers.
Alderperson Scott Gordon asked Esposito if he was moving cars over the sidewalk, and Esposito said that he was. Alderperson Patrick Juliana said that he was inclined to allow the paving. “There is no customer parking lot. They have four parking spots there. We’ve got two businesses open year round, two businesses without parking, two businesses with fronts, since 1965. It’s never changed.” The issue came up of the number of approaches a business is allowed, and that is one per street.
Chairman Eric Haugaard said that it is unlawful to drive over a curb in the city of Kenosha. Esposito said, “Then I’ll be out of business. I can’t put cars in any other way.” Esposito then said that he wanted to use the entire length of the drive for an approach, but Haugaard said no.
Juliana said that this was a unique situation, and that the committee must decide it based on its own merits. “Driving over curbs is illegal today, but he’s been utilizing it since day one,” he said. Juliana asked that Esposito come back to the committee on the type of material he wants to use. Juliana said that he doesn’t like it 100%, but it’s the best option that the owner has. Alderperson Jan Michalski agreed.
Lemens suggested the use of pavers. He said that there were similar businesses and surroundings on Roosevelt Road that used pavers. He said that the city has some in stock, and it would be up to the property owner to do the installation. Juliana made a motion to approved pending the applicant bringing forth the material they were going to use. The motion passed 3 to 2, with Ruffolo abstaining from the vote.
The request from the First Congregational Church was approved unanimously, as well as the request from Davis.
At the end of the meeting,a discussion about the city’s general policy took place. Lou Rugani, a citizen, spoke. He stated that he is against lawn park paving requests. “In my experience,” he said, “it’s just laziness. It’s the lawn mower storage, and they don’t want to mow. The best excuse I ever heard was ‘lawn will never grow here.’ When the parkways are paved, the expansion strips become nothing but weed farms. Nothing makes the city look worse,” he said.
Lemens said that, twelve years ago, this issue was intensely discussed. “There was not one consensus to do one thing or another. Enforcement is the issue. There was some discussion to let the committee approve, and if so, what material would be accepted. There would be some administrative authority to waive requests.”
Ruffolo agreed. “It’s never an easy answer. We control the areas that are paved. Even with pavers, there are weeds all over. The less joints, the better. It looks bad even in the downtown area. Maybe we should charge a fee for an appeal to the committee of $100 or so to discourage those coming before the committee. We’ve heard poor excuses and legitimate reasons. It’s just becoming a sea of concrete,” he said.
Michalski said that he’d like to give the Public Works Department more latitude. “The first issue we heard tonight is a good example of what we’re trying to avoid, all of these exceptions. The requests can come before us, appeal to us as a committee by the Public Works Department, but with no charge.” Ruffolo said that the reason he suggested a fee was to cover the staff time review and the taking of pictures.
Gordon moved to defer the issue for 60 days, after the budget season is over.