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Wayne White
| Managing Editor

LYNDON—For the second time in two weeks, the Lyndon City Council voted to increase the size of the city. But for now, the town is growing in area, not population.

With the annexation of a 67-acre Rockin Z subdivision at the northeast corner of town during the Feb. 1 council meeting, the council and developer Steve Zerr are hoping that potential homeowners will fill approximately 60 residential lots and increase the town’s population.

In January, the council approved annexation of six-acre Tiger Ridge on the northwest side of town at the request of its developers Shane and Randy Kirkpatrick. Tiger Ridge offers sites for 10 homes.

Zerr told the council he had been working on a proposal regarding the city’s procedures for developing property, but was not ready to present it. Saying the city and developers must work together, and that the plat for the proposed development was to be reviewed by the Lyndon Planning and Zoning Commission Feb. 3, Zerr asked to speak about possible project inspections and street construction.

“I absolutely believe we are forming a strategic team here,” Zerr said.

He noted that Rockin Z would eventually connect to the city’s water and sewer systems, and suggested the city provide an inspector for the project, in addition to his engineer.

“Should we be looking at some kind of consulting from some outside third party that helps us to make sure we don’t hook a brand new system on something that’s not right to begin with?” he asked, pointing out the city’s history of sewer and water line problems.

“I’m asking the city to consider having some type of consulting that makes sure we’re not hooking a Cadillac system up to a Chevrolet or even a Model T,” he said.

He said the new developments would increase the load on the city’s water and sewer systems and the city should be prepared for it.

“I’m not coming here to ask the city to expend a bunch of money,” he said. “But it’s something that I want you to consider as we go along … making enhancements so that whatever we end up with is an entire quality product for all of the community.”

City attorney Pat Walsh told Zerr that after he first proposed the development two years ago, the city had consulted with an engineer to determine the ability of the infrastructure to support the additional load.

“If memory serves me, our engineer did say it had the capacity to do that as designed,” Walsh said. “As far as piping, I think he gave us an unofficial blessing that the city can absorb that.”

Lyndon City Council Member Doug Watson said the city retains an engineering firm that could conduct inspections as needed.

“We could possibly contact them if the city wants to have a professional engineering firm when you’re putting in sewer lines or water lines,” Watson said, “or if you have an inspection you’d like to have the city also witness.”

In regard to street construction, Zerr said he had studied the city’s subdivision regulations.

“The guidelines put forth are not as detailed as they should be,” Zerr said.

He explained that as the property is developed, the sequence of infrastructure construction could affect the final condition of the streets.

“As we build these new roads … the sewer lines run down the center of the road,” Zerr said. “Well if we go in and build a new road, built to best standards … at some point in time we’ll cut 60 ditches into brand new road and could wind up with a big pothole that has to be backfilled.”

He noted his concern was any city requirement that streets had to be paved before the underground infrastructure was completed.

“There are certain things the city can do to help with some of this future development without encumbrance of anybody or additional expenditure,” Zerr said. “One thing the city has the option of allowing is time.”

He requested the city “allow us to get a good established road base built before we put some type of cover on that.”

Walsh said that after his own discussions with planning and zoning commission members, he believed they would recommend a time schedule that would allow the construction before requiring streets to be paved.

“I suggest you talk to them ... because they’re receptive for the reasons you name,” Walsh said. “They’re somewhat open to the idea of saying [pavement] doesn’t have to be done for two or three years, or tying it to (the number of) lots sold. The council would also probably be receptive to that specific issue.”

Walsh noted the city would eventually take over maintenance of the roads and would also want them to be of good quality.

“The city doesn’t want those headaches either,” Walsh said.

Zerr said he wished to continue discussions with the council to develop a “consensus idea” regarding the construction schedule.

He said he didn’t want to “get into some arbitrary situation that says ‘you will’ or ‘you shall.’ That’s not going to be workable solution and only intensify and create additional problems as we go on down the line.”

Zerr said the construction would be staged block by block in the subdivision, and buyers’ wishes for lots in the proposed retail area could call for flexibility in the construction procedures and scheduling.

Lyndon City Council Member Brandon Smith told Zerr the council would likely offer little resistance to the project.

“We’re pretty open minded, in my opinion anyway,” Smith said. “Anytime you need a concession or leeway or something met, we should be able to help you out most of the time on that.”

In other business, the council:

• tabled discussion of contracting for development of a city Web site.

• after meeting with Stephanie Watson, Osage County economic development director, voted to participate in National Get Outdoors Day June 12. Noting the success of last year’s geocaching event, it was decided to host another.

• waived water, sewer and trash collection fees for Lyndon’s Carnegie Library and also agreed to donate $1,500 to the library.