Bremen Town Council Meeting 07/28/14by Amy Wenger on July 30, 2014
Somewhere, it is written that in facing problems, taking that first step is always the most difficult. And so in dealing with two troublesome properties in very prominent locales around town, members of the Bremen Town Council are lacing up their shoes to move forward and give those issues due closure. The most rational approaches in dealing with the former Clark station and the Leman/Lebermuth building were discussed during the council's Monday evening session.
Director of Operations Trend Weldy informed the council that the current owners of the onetime essential oil production facility, located directly across from the police station on South Center Street, have offered to donate the building to the town. The brick and concrete structure was formerly operated by the William Leman Company, and more recently, by the Lebermuth Company.
Weldy said that an abbreviated assessment of the building, which was conducted by John Pfeiffer, yielded an opinion that the building should simply be demolished. Pfeiffer told Weldy that such an endeavor would likely cost somewhere in the $60-70,000 range. Weldy also noted that accepting such a donation means that whatever environmental concerns are revealed, if any, the town would be responsible for any necessary removal and cleaning. Taking on the task of ensuring that there are no hazardous materials being stored on the property is part of what is termed "Phase 1."
Weldy did mention that a preliminary pass throughout the building did not indicate that any environmental troubles were brewing, and that a few storage drums discovered in the basement appeared to be empty. However, the building is in a significant state of deterioration, he said, with a number of leaks observed in the roofing and several sections where walls were crumbling or leaning. The floor, which has a solid concrete base, seems to be in decent condition, Weldy added.
The council gave Weldy permission to continue seeking additional quotes for the cost of razing the structure, and will learn the outcome at a future session. Those facts and figures will give the council needed direction on how to pursue the best course of action.
The other problematic site, or sight, as it were, is the old Clark station at the intersection of West Plymouth Street and Bowen Avenue, having stood vacant and decrepit for a period of several years. Town Attorney Anthony Wagner offered his recommendation that a Phase 1 overview should also be executed for that property, as it seems a near certainty that there will be extensive environmental matters to be dealt with, given the history of the former businesses that once flourished there. Once that has taken place, the council will likely choose to have the property condemned.
Once Phase 1 has occurred, another option outlined by Wagner would be to cultivate a fair market price for the corner lot, then "flip it," in a potential sale to a suitable buyer. This theory led to a bit of discussion by the council as to what type of business has a realistic chance of opening there, as the lot is quite small yet situated in a very desirable location. The prevalent line of thinking was that another service station might be the best pursuit, if a worthwhile offer should come forward.
More attention is expected to be given to the subject during future council meetings.
Ordinance 8-2014 Is In The Books.
In other topics, the council passed Ordinance 8-2014 on its third and final reading, which details park stipulations and rules pertaining to its usage. It was made definitive that motorized vehicles will not be permitted to travel along paths designated for non-motorized use, such as walking, biking, skateboarding, blading, and other similar modes of transportation.
A couple of clarifications were requested with regards to the sections addressing the removal of vegetation and the use of portable grills. In the ordinance, there is terminology informing park patrons that they are not allowed to remove any form of vegetation, living or dead, from the park premises. Councilman Heath Thornton wondered if that meant guests would not be able to pick wild berries, mushrooms, or anything else of the like.
Town Attorney Anthony Wagner said that the ordinance as written was more designed to curtail the damage that might result from folks overzealously collecting those items, and not necessarily outlawing the practice itself, noting that it might seem a bit ludicrous to have the police department issuing $25 fines for berry picking. On a related tangent, Wagner explained that the grilling rule is that there should be no open flames or campfires on park property. If a family reunion or some other group gathering brought a small grill for conscientious use at a social function on park grounds, that would be acceptable, Wagner said.
New Permit Costs for Non-Local Sales Vendors?
Another subject that will assuredly be up for consideration at a later date is the issuance of permits for door-to-door solicitation, Weldy said. At present, the town of Bremen charges a $3 fee for a permit that allows an unlimited number of door-to-door salesmen to canvas the community. The permit grants the group permission to return an unlimited number of occasions for a period of one year.
Weldy said that the council should consider increasing that fee, as several cities and towns in this vicinity currently charge as much as $25 per individual to give clearance to solicit homes. Weldy is also hoping to see a publicity campaign enacted to inform citizens of their rights in dealing with unwanted sales practices, which is a feature that will appear in a future edition of The People's Paper.
The next session of the Bremen Town Council is scheduled for Monday, August 11 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will take place in the council chambers of the Bremen Town Hall, and the public is invited to attend.