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O’Neal pit agreement questioned PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kyle Arnoldy   

Usage rights of the O’Neal pit continue to be debated as the City of Holyoke and Robin Lake Development have yet to reach an arrangement that both sides can agree on.

At the Tuesday, May 6, Holyoke City Council meeting, attorney Russell Sprague (representing RLD) stated that following a mid-April meeting with fellow attorney Kim Killin, City Attorney Al Wall and City Superintendent Mark Brown, RLD felt that the city had taken a stance that purchasing the pit from Rupert O’Neal would be the preferred route to handle drainage for the southeast portion of town.

The statement drew no reaction from council members, and the topic quickly changed to commercial development.

However, members have made no comments at prior meetings indicating that the city would be purchasing the pit. In fact, the city had provided documentation in early April that they felt clearly gave them the right to use the pit for drainage purposes without needing to buy the property.

Last month the City of Holyoke produced an agreement from the 1980s that allowed the city to use the O’Neal pit as a drainage pond. RLD, however, has taken issue with said agreement.

Sprague stated Friday, May 9, that the agreement in place addressed the insurance issues for the pond but does not spell out for what specific purposes the city was to use the pond. A formal easement needs to be put in place, clearly stating the long-term right to use the pit, according to RLD.

Sprague noted that RLD is unclear on the city’s stance, particularly if the city believes it owns the pit or can continue to use it for free. RLD is still open to the sale of the land, but no agreement has taken place.

The city has recently cleared the pit of debris and plans to install the new pump by the end of May.

Sprague also noted that RLD would like a cost estimate to extend utilities from Cobblestone Inn & Suites south to the proposed lot for First Pioneer National Bank. The highway study for the area is also close to being completed.


City ordinances approved

Two ordinances were adopted and another was introduced and approved on first reading at the Tuesday, May 6, Holyoke City Council meeting.

The ordinances pertain to open burns, sign limitations for religious organizations and the operation of low-speed electric vehicles within city limits.

Ordinance No. 2 was adopted and regulates open burning within Holyoke’s city limits. Burning any sweeping, trash, lumber, leaves, straw, papers, grass or other combustible material in any street, alley, yard or lot in Holyoke is now unlawful without a permit.

Those wishing to apply for a permit may do so at the city office. The city superintendent or the chief of police may issue a permit for a $10 fee. The permit will provide the Holyoke Volunteer Fire Department with notification of the time and place of any permitted burning.

Penalties for those who violate the ordinance is a fine up to $300 for each violation. Failure to pay the fine could result in imprisonment.

Ordinance No. 3 was adopted and amends part of the municipal code, exempting churches and other organized religious associations from sign limitations of one square foot per frontage foot of property up to 100 feet and locating signs 30 feet from property lines.

Proposed ordinance No. 4-2014 establishes regulations for the operation of low-speed electric vehicles. No individual will be allowed to operate any electric, motorized or engine-powered golf cart or any other low-speed electric vehicle as defined by Colorado Revised Statues on streets, alleys or highways without a permit.

Applications for permits can be submitted to the Holyoke Police Department. All applicants will receive a written denial or acceptance by the chief of police.

A denial or termination of a permit can be appealed to the city council. An appeal must be made in writing and received within 15 days of the denial or termination. The city council will then schedule a public hearing within 30 days to render a final verdict of approval, denial or termination.

Permits are for one year and cost $25. All applicants must possess a valid driver’s license.

The ordinance prohibits driving low-speed electric vehicles before sunrise or after sunset; usage of cellphones, headphones or other communication or audio devices while driving, except for hearing protection devices when near loud industrial or commercial activity; and driving in excess of 20 miles per hour.

All vehicles must comply with vehicle insurance requirements of the Model Traffic Code for Colorado municipalities. Applicants must obtain and provide evidence of a general liability policy with limits of $150,000 per individual and $600,000 per incident.

Violating the ordinance could result in a fine of no less than $25 and no more than $300 for each offense.

The ordinance is set for final reading and passage at the Tuesday, May 20, city council meeting.


GOCO season returns

With the next Great Outdoors Colorado grant cycle taking place in August, city council members once again discussed ways to improve the city baseball field.

Last year, updates to the playground, bike path, awnings, dugouts and bathrooms were all considered for the grant. This year, council members have decided to go forward with a mini grant application that limits grants to $60,000.

Making the bathrooms ADA-compatible is not an option this cycle as the project carried an estimated price tag of $118,000. Updates to the playground are expected to cost $51,000, continuing the bike path east of the field would be approximately $12,300, awnings for the bleachers are roughly set at $23,700 and bringing the dugouts up to ADA standards would be $6,800.

Council members mulled over the idea of approaching the needs of the fields through multiple mini grants—one in August and one in the next grant cycle in March.

After a brief discussion, council members decided that they will be pursuing funds for the bike path, awnings and dugouts during the August cycle.


Officials report

City Superintendent Mark Brown reported that there had been one power outage since the April 15 meeting. A goose once again was the culprit for the loss of power at the sewer lagoons Friday, April 18.

Holyoke Police Chief Doug Bergstrom reported that from April 10-30, the department handled 104 calls for service, made four arrests, wrote 13 reports, issued one citation and gave out 17 warnings.

Scott Murray noted that the Library Board has some concerns regarding the cleanup of library grounds. The State Historical Society will meet with the Library Board Tuesday, May 20, for a roundtable discussion to review some work that has been done around the property.

Specifically, a tree stump removal needs to be completed, more dirt is needed around the fence, spilled cement around the fence needs cleaned, window wells need cleaned and a broken storm window needs replaced.

The visit will allow other communities interested in Historical Society grants the opportunity to see what the grants can accomplish and to provide information on grant applications. Heginbotham Library recently used grants through the Historical Society for masonry work.


Other business

In other business May 6, the council:

—agreed to hire new lifeguards Issac Brandt, Michalla Drake, Megan Humphreys, Emily Krogmeier, Tara Krueger and Brook Prottsman at $8 an hour.

—approved a travel request for Larry Drake to attend Basic School Resource Officer training in Longmont for a total of $1,001.

—approved a travel request for Doug Bergstrom to attend the Chief Conference in Keystone for a total of $833.

—agreed to a request by the Holyoke Swim Team for use of the swimming pool to host a meet on May 31.

—approved the renewal of the liquor license for KarDale’s Restaurant and Lounge.

—approved a purchase request for floor mat tiles from Dri-Dek for $713.32 for the women’s locker room at the pool.

—approved a travel request for Tillie Fisbeck and Conda McDermed to attend CMCA Nuts & Bolts class in Sterling for a total of $143.

Holyoke Enterprise May 15, 2014