A proposed ordinance regarding dogs and cats was not approved at the Public Safety & Welfare Committee meeting earlier this evening. This ordinance change called for a three-foot high fence to be erected in the yard when the dog or cat was being kept, or for the owner to be present. The vote was unanimous. This ordinance proposal was also pulled from the Common Council’s agenda last Wednesday by the sponsor, Alderperson Scott Gordon.
Kenosha police chief John Morrissey spoke as a citizen and in his official capacity as police chief as well. As a citizen, he said that he didn’t understand what problem the ordinance was trying to fix. The ordinance basically says that a person’s dog or cat can’t be tied up in the front yard unless the dog or cat is with the owner. He stated that his own home abuts an alley. He sees problems with this ordinance as a citizen and a taxpayer, and he urged the committee to deny it.
At Monday night’s Public Safety & Welfare Committee meeting, a proposed ordinance to repeal and recreate a subsection of the code of general ordinances was discussed to allow for exceptions to certain parking restrictions. This had to do with public utility vehicles.
The ordinance change has to do with the parking of certain motor vehicles and equipment prohibited on the exterior of any residential property and on any public street, highway, alley, thoroughfare or right-of-way in any residential zoning district of the city.
Even though the alderperson of the district (8th district, Kevin Mathewson) requested stop signs be placed at three intersections, the Public Safety & Welfare Committee approved yield signs. This was approved unanimously at the meeting yesterday.
The intersections in question are:
- 35th Avenue and 70th Street;
- 36th Avenue and 70th Street; and
- 38th Avenue and 70th Street.
At tonight’s Common Council meeting, an agenda item included a resolution sponsored by Alderperson Patrick Juliana and co-sponsored by Alderpersons Michael Orth, Jan Michalski, Curt Wilson, Tod Ohnstad, Scott Gordon, Eric Haugaard, Jesse Downing, and Rocco LaMacchia to urge the governor to approve the casino proposed for the city of Kenosha. The resolution was approved by a vote of 12 to 2.
Alderpersons Kevin Mathewson and David Bogdala voted against the resolution. Mathewson said that he didn’t feel that a “nasty letter should be sent to the governor.” Bogdala said that he voted against it because his constituents are opposed to the casino at Dairyland.
The principal of Bullen Middle School, Kim Fischer, spoke at the Public Safety and Welfare Committee meeting yesterday, regarding the children street-crossing situation at the school, which is located at 2804 – 39th Avenue. Mike Lemens, director of public works, said that the situation was reviewed at great length. “If people followed the state law, there would be no problem. People driving and not obeying the law is the problem. Pedestrians have the right of way. School zones are 15 mph. We tried everything to modify the behavior. Where enforcement efforts are made, compliance comes about often.”
Fischer expressed her frustration several times. “Kids have gotten hurt. I’m almost six feet tall. That’s a 35 mph zone. That’s not the speed limit at any other middle school. It’s 15 mph. I am out there standing in the street every morning and every afternoon, and sometimes I get nervous. I need my kids to be safe. I don’t want to see another child hit.”
At the Kenosha Common Council Committee of the Whole meeting held earlier tonight, one of the motions that was approved was to include $25,873 in the Transit budget to provide hourly bus service for all of the Saturday routes. This motion was made by Alderperson Tod Ohnstad. The reason he gave was that it helps the elderly, the handicapped, and those less fortunate in the community. “This is a ‘trial balloon,'” he said. “It will again be reviewed to possibly continue funding in the future.” At least three citizens had spoken during the public hearing in favor of this service restoration.
Alderperson David Bogdala asked Mayor Keith Bosman if he was in support of this ‘trial balloon,’ and the mayor replied that he had no position on it. Alderperson Michael Orth noted that revenue miles were down from last year, but that ridership was up. Demand was more now than it was a year ago.
The roll call vote was 16 to 1, with Bogdala being the sole dissenting voter.
The Washington Road railroad bridge was discussed at the Public Safety & Welfare Committee meeting yesterday afternoon. Mike Lemens, director of public works, said that this issue is of great concern to at least two alderpersons and the citizens of their districts. Those two alderpersons, whose districts abut the bridge, were present at the meeting.
This issue was discussed at a prior meeting about two months ago. Click here to read that article: Two Public Safety Issues. Lemens said that additional signs were installed, and the railroad promised to fix the fascia and other repairs, but these have not been completed yet. The most recent completion date they’ve provided is December 12th.
At last night’s Common Council meeting, the conditional use permit for a new public safety communication tower to be located at 6210 – 60th Street (Kenosha County/Nash Park), was approved by a roll call vote of 14 to 2 (Alderpersons Jesse Downing and David Bogdala voted against).
William Anderson spoke during the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting and during the public hearing for this item. He said that he is not against the antenna, only the driveway. He suggested a new location, but it’s already been installed. He wanted to know how the work could already have started when it wasn’t ok’d yet by the Common Council. “I thought people were supposed to be heard,” he said. “With moving the tower closer to the airport, making it taller, creating longer runways, more planes, more traffic. All of these things make it not safe. The public is not involved. It’s disappointing,” said Anderson. “Rules and regulations are made to be followed. It doesn’t seem that they were followed here.”
The Public Safety & Welfare Committee met on Monday night to discuss items referred to them, and to review the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the Department of Community Development and Inspections.
The committee unanimously approved the first amendment to the agreement for professional services emergency medical service user fee billing services by and between the city and EMS Medical Billing Associates, LLC. Carol Stancato, the city’s finance director, stated that the city is going to begin using a new collection agency, which will help expand collections to the state’s Tax Refund Interception Program (TRIP). This is an added feature that should bring in more revenue. Eric Keifer from EMS Medical Billing said that there is $3 million ready to go to the TRIP program for the upcoming tax season. He expects that 10 to 12% of that amount will be collected. This is the amount that has accumulated since 2003. Every year will not have this large of an amount. Standard collections are approximately $800,000/year, with approximately $37,000 being collected. He said that he hopes to increase that to from $50,000 to $55,000/year. Alderperson Michael Orth wanted to know if this was included in this year’s budget, and Stancato said that it was partially included. She stated that she will go back and review it.
At tonight’s Public Safety & Welfare Committee meeting, the following city of Kenosha 2013 budgets were vetted: Department of Community Development and Inspections, Police Department, Fire Department, and Health Department.
Frank Pacetti, the city administrator, made an introductory comment saying, “There has been no reduction in any of the services. What has been added is a half-position in the Community Development and Inspections Department, reducing outside services.” Jeff LaBahn, the city’s director of that department, spoke further on that added position. It is a permanent part-time inspector to improve customer service responsiveness and to secure a financial advantage.
On Thursday, October 25th, Alderperson of the 2nd district, Chris Schwartz, will host a public safety meeting at the Boys & Girls Club, located at 1330 – 52nd Street, in Kenosha. It will start at 6:30 pm. The meeting will target Frank Elementary School and the Columbus Park area, but all are welcome.
The focus will be on neighborhood safety and non-owner-occupied properties. However, residents are encouraged to speak on any issue, concern, or idea.
The Kenosha Crime Prevention officers and a Kenosha Police Department representative will address issues and concerns.
Don’t take candy from strangers! Oh, except on Halloween, of course.
Are we confusing our children? Not if we take the time to communicate with them and explain why, one day every year, there is an exception to this safety rule.
Candy is but one area of concern to keep Halloween a safe and fun holiday for our children.
At last night’s Public Safety & Welfare meeting, the staff request for a speed limit change from 40 mph to 35 mph within the city of Kenosha’s jurisdiction at 18th Street and 39th Avenue was approved unanimously for a 90-day trial. The issue will now go before the Common Council at its next meeting on September 17th.
Mike Lemens, director/city engineer, spoke on the issue. This was being recommended to avoid the cost of additional pavement, approximately $60,000 worth, according to Lemens. The two additional poles required cost $150 each. Lemens stated that he did not think that the Highway Commission, nor the County Executive, nor the County Supervisor would object to the speed limit change.
At tonight’s Public Safety & Welfare Committee meeting, the issue of a permanent crossing guard assigned to the corner of 19th Avenue and 56th Street was discussed. Heather Connolly, principal of Frank Elementary School, 1816 – 57th Street, was in attendance and spoke at the meeting. “There are 40 to 50 kids crossing at that corner,” she said. The crossing guard also crosses a few kids at 18th Avenue, but “she can’t keep count at 19th Avenue,” Connolly said.
Police Chief John Morrissey said that the problem is not the kids crossing, but the parents who are stopping mid-block and letting their kids out of the car and telling them to cross the street. “Officer Friendly, Dennis Walsh, was there. A newsletter was sent out to parents. A safety patrol child was also stationed there to help,” said Connolly. “The safety patrol child directs the kids to cross at 19th Avenue. Cars are also rolling through the stop signs,” she said. Connolly said that no parking on 56th Street between 18th and 19th Avenues would help.
At this afternoon’s Airport Commission meeting, a zoning ordinance change relating to communication towers was approved unanimously. City development coordinator Brian Wilke gave some introductory comments about the item, and then Ray Arbet, public works director for Kenosha County, also spoke. On August 9th, the City Plan Commission gave their approval as well. See the related article: City Plan Commission Approves Ordinance Change on Towers. The Common Council will have to give its final approval.
The zoning ordinance currently regulates height and setbacks for communication towers via the conditional use permit process. Generally speaking, communication (cellular) towers can vary from 100 feet to 150 feet in height. Radio/television/relay towers can be constructed up to 300 feet in height.
Public safety concerns will be addressed during a public meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 22nd, at the Lincoln Park Oribiletti Building. It is being co-sponsored by Alderpersons Kevin Mathewson, Steve Bostrom, and Jan Michalski.
The deputy chief of police, Daniel Miskinis, will be in attendance to answer questions from the public. All residents of the 3rd, 8th, and 12th districts are encouraged to attend, but ALL residents are welcome.
Two discussion items were on tonight’s Public Safety & Welfare Committee meeting agenda. The first had to do with the crosswalks at Bullen Middle School, 2804 – 39th Avenue. Kim Fischer, principal of the school, was present and spoke on behalf of the school’s concern over speeding traffic north of the school now that 39th Avenue has been opened.
There was an accident there about six weeks ago, according to Kenosha police deputy captain Daniel Miskinis. Alderperson Anthony Kennedy brought this issue to the agenda based on the good work this committee did last year with Lance Middle School. Chairman Rocco LaMacchia recalled the pedestrian warning signs that were placed in the middle of 80th Street, which helped slow down the traffic going through that area.
According to Ray Forgianni, president of Kenosha Common Markets, Harbor Market had an extremely successful opening day outdoors this past Saturday. They estimated that over 6,000 people were in attendance. “In fact,” he says, “it was too successful.” He spoke during the citizens comments portion of Monday night’s Common Council meeting.
“Traffic congestion with pedestrians was the problem. Cars couldn’t travel down 56th Street,” he said. “With the Harbor Market expanding across 55th Street to the Place de Douai, pedestrians continuously blocked 56th Street.”
At the Public Safety & Welfare Committee meeting held earlier this evening, the committee acted upon the following items:
- The aldermanic request for a 4-way stop sign at 39th Avenue and 18th Street was approved unanimously. Mike Lemens, public works director, stated that this item was deferred from the April 30th meeting, and that staff recommended a 90-day trial. To read the previous article on this topic, click here: New 4-Way Stop Sign at 39th Avenue and 18th Street Deferred for 2 Weeks.
Alderperson G. John Ruffolo was not present at either meeting. Lemens also stated that the complete traffic analysis study “would be done in due time.” Frank Pacetti, city administrator, stated, “It’s important to remember that Mr. Lemens is correct. Whatever is decided by the traffic study will be supported. But, I don’t believe that a traffic light will be warranted. At a minimum, they will need a stop sign, regardless of the study’s findings. We will have to see how the stop sign affects 39th Avenue and 47th Street. We will encourage the County to look at that intersection as well.”
Kenosha’s Public Safety & Welfare Committee met on Monday night with two new members, Alderpersons Chris Schwartz (2nd district), and Kevin Mathewson (8th district). Following is a summary of the meeting:
- Alderperson G. John Ruffolo’s request for a four-way stop sign at 39th Avenue and 18th Street was deferred for two weeks. See separate article on this topic: Stop Sign.
On the agenda at last night’s Public Safety & Welfare Committee meeting was the aldermanic request for a new four-way stop sign to be installed on a 90-day trial basis at the intersection of 39th Avenue and 18th Street. This was not approved at last night’s meeting, but was deferred for two weeks.
Clement Abomgwa, assistant city engineer, stated that the city has received complaints from residents about speeding on 18th Street. On April 2, 2012, Kenosha County agreed to an intergovernmental agreement with the city to transfer the intersection’s control to the city. It now requires a four-way stop sign. Abomgwa also stated that Public Works has hired a consultant to fully study the intersection.
A reception was held after the three city meetings last night for Alderpersons Ray Misner and Anthony Nudo, who will not be continuing on the committees any longer due to the fact that they lost their seats in their respective districts in the election last week. Misner is the chairman of the Licensing & Permit Committee, a member of the Storm Water Utility, the Technology, and Public Works Committees, and also a member of the Board of Water Commissioners. Nudo is the chairman of the Storm Water Utility Committee, vice chairman of the Board of Water Commissioners, and a member of the Licensing & Permit and Public Works Committees.
Both were presented with placques, bricks, and goodie bags. A reception with food and drinks was served after the conclusion of the special Board of Water Commissioners meeting.
At Monday afternoon’s Public Safety & Welfare Committee meeting, the Neighborhood Improvement Program for 2012 was discussed. Jeff LaBahn, director of community development and inspections, explained that this was one of the most important activities of the department. “This is an annual systematic targeted program,” he stated.
LaBahn further explained, “We have four property maintenance inspectors. They would be reviewing the exterior of buildings in the community. There are four areas in this year’s program, which include 870 properties. Some of the areas are first-time areas, and some we are revisiting.”
A presentation of the proposed on-premise sign ordinance was given by Brian Wilke from the Community Development & Inspections Department at tonight’s Public Safety & Welfare Committee meeting. The on-premise sign ordinances which are in place in Greenfield and Brookfield were the basis for drafting Kenosha’s ordinance. Staff was looking for input from the Committee. Wilke stated that this is a work in progress. Below is a summary of the presentation:
Permits will be required for most new signs. Non-conforming signs may be repaired or altered, but they must be made to conform if they are damaged or removed. Alderperson Michael Orth suggested including a definition of the word “damaged,” and Chairman Jesse Downing suggested including a definition of the word “altered.” A change in ownership, tenancy, or conditional use requires the sign to come in to compliance with the ordinance. Paula Blise, zoning coordinator, stated that that is not how the ordinance reads today.
The Public Safety & Welfare Committee met last night. Agenda items included:
- The aldermanic request for a “No Parking Sign” at 35th Avenue north of 60th Street was approved for a trial period of ninety days. Alderperson Anthony Nudo placed the request. Norma Carlson, a citizen who lived in the area for more than thirty years, spoke at the public hearing. “Most of the time, parking is satisfactory. Four years ago, it changed. The Kenosha Steam Baths is there, and they needed parking. Budget Rent-a-Car is another business on the corner. There was no parking right at the corner. Now, there is two-hour parking on both sides of the street.”
Ted Batwinski spoke at last night’s Public Safety & Welfare Committee meeting about the traffic problems in front of Tremper High School. He is a resident since 1983, and he organized a petition of his neighbors who live from 27th Avenue to 30th Avenue asking that the speed limit be lowered to 25 mph in order to help slow traffic in front of Vernon Elementary School and Tremper High School. “Kids cross everywhere. Mailboxes have been hit by cars going around other cars. The police department has clocked cars going 85 mph down that street. The stop light at 26th Avenue only works for one hour in the morning, and one hour in the afternoon. The other times it is a flashing yellow light. People go through it because they’re not used to it being a regular traffic light,” said Batwinski. “People will still be doing 10 over; 35 mph is fast enough. We’ll need six signs to be changed lowering the speed limit from 30 to 25.”
- The proposed ordinance to repeal and recreate a section of the Code of General Ordinances for the city regarding temporary closing of a city street was unanimously approved. Alderperson Theodore Ruffalo commented that this revision cleans up existing language. It clarifies what civic event uses can close a city street. Alderperson Michael Orth named a few examples: marathons, Food, Folks & Spokes, Jazz Fest, Tall Ships, Blooming Days, Taste of Wisconsin, etc.
- The proposed ordinance to repeal and recreate a subsection of the Zoning Ordinance for the city regarding delinquent special assessments was deferred for two weeks. Ed Antaramian, city attorney, was present to explain. “Real estate taxes are not ultimately ours (the city’s) to keep. We settle with the County every year. They buy the real estate roll. Therefore, we can’t withhold permits because these are not ours to collect. Re-inspection fees are ours to collect, and these can be used as a basis for withholding permits.” The reason for the deferral was because Orth was concerned about there being a loophole for tax payers.
- A resident request to remove the one-hour parking in front of 6517/6519 – 5th Avenue was approved unanimously. Staff recommended a ninety-day trial.
- Chiappetta Shoes’ request for six banners in the public right-of-way was approved by a vote of 4 to 1 (Alderperson Anthony Kennedy was opposed). The agreement reached with Chiappetta Shoes was to approve the request, with the condition that, if and when the sign ordinance is ever re-written, that the store owner will have to comply with the ordinance, even if it means that the banners would be illegal. Fred Chiappetta agreed. The committee hoped that this would give a “nudge” to the City Attorney’s Office to get going on the re-write of this ordinance which has been in process for four years now.
- During the Citizen’s Comments portion of the meeting, Al Mammon urged the Council to use natural gas for the city buses. Natural gas costs $1.28/gallon. “Sixty percent of the budget is fuel costs,” he said. He also thanked the Council for retaining two people in the 2012 budget. Lou Rugani spoke in favor of the streetcars.
- The following were approved: Sixteen operator’s (bartender’s) licenses; one transfer of agent status of beer and/or liquor licenses; two special Class “B” beer and/or special “Class B” wine licenses; and one taxi driver license. These were all of the applications per list on file in the Office of the City Clerk.
At tonight’s Public Safety & Welfare (PS & W) Committee meeting, the last agenda item up for discussion was the proposed resolution to reorganize certain operations of the city with respect to the Departments of City Development and Neighborhood Services and Inspections (NSI) and to subsequently create the Department of Community Development and Inspections. This item was deferred from two prior PS & W meetings (those held on October 25th and October 10th). Click here to review reports from these prior meetings: “Temporary Structures Will Need to Apply for a Permit” and “Paula Blise, Zoning Coordinator, Addresses Public Safety & Welfare Committee.” The committee did not go into closed session, as was its option pursuant to State statute.