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The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.
7 p.m. June 22, 2021, Newton City Commission meeting
At Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Commission discussed amending City building permit requirements to add interior demolition work.
Currently, City Code requires a permit for razing a building but not for demolition or moving of interior walls and spaces. This can sometimes lead to structural changes and unsafe conditions inside structures and inadvertent violation of historic preservation requirements. City staff noted a number of reasons to consider adding a demolition permit:
- To improve the safety of those in the structure and reduce potential hazards for them and any public servants that might respond to an emergency call to the location.
- To protect the property owner’s investment – If the construction project does not comply with the code, it could decrease the value of the property.
- To save money – Insurance may not cover work or damages caused by work done without permits. Also, if the owner plans to sell a property and permits were not pulled to assure potential buyers the work was done properly, it could impact the value of the property.
- To help avoid costly construction redo’s – Many people have the muscle power to remove portions of structures but may not have the expertise to determine in advance what problems might follow the removal, requiring a replacement or additional work in the end.
- To ensure property owners are made aware of programs like the Neighborhood Revitalization Program that could offer tax relief and extra funding but must be applied for in advance of any demolition or construction.
- To ensure compliance with historic preservation guidelines and regulations in historic districts and on registered properties.
- To eliminate conflicts between property owners and City staff because of after-the-fact issues due to the lack of a permit.
The change is not intended to make remodeling projects more onerous for the public but to avoid problems before they occur. The Commission directed staff to bring back an ordinance for consideration at a future meeting that adds demolition to the existing building permit requirements.
In other action, the City Commission:
- Approved an agreement with the State Historic Preservation Office for a $5,822 grant to create programming for children focused on local historic places, in coordination with Newton Public Library.
- Awarded a contract for a court-ordered demolition of property at 611 E. Eighth St. to Dave Hennes Excavating for $5,475.
- Heard a request from developer Stan Brodhagen to extend sewer service along Southeast 14th Street from High to Logan to serve future residential or commercial development. Commissioners agreed they would consider financially supporting the extension if a development with sufficient return on investment comes forward.
- Approved the final plat for Prestressed Concrete’s expansion at 2800 Old Highway 81 and zoned the property as I-2 (industrial).
- Approved a request for annexation of property on the north side of East 12th Street, between I-135 and Spencer, south of Old Trail Road, and zoned it as R-1 (single-family residential).
- Received a report on new State law expanding the permissible hours for Sunday liquor sales and agreed to leave Newton’s hours as-is, pending possible feedback from local retailers.
- Authorized the city manager to execute a lease agreement for storage of Police Department vehicles for $1,250 per month, to be shared equally with Harvey County.
- Approved a request from Midway Motors to use picnic tables and trash carts on June 25 for Food Truck Friday.
- Reappointed Greg Hanson to the Historic Preservation Commission.
For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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