When it comes to helping Vienna grow in all areas of development including more businesses, industry and jobs, more housing and infrastructure, and more people, the members of the Vienna City Council …
When it comes to helping Vienna grow in all areas of development including more businesses, industry and jobs, more housing and infrastructure, and more people, the members of the Vienna City Council said they are willing to discuss all of these opportunities when they come up.
At the council’s September October meeting, North Ward Alderman Tyler (TC) James said he wanted to “check the council’s pulse” on the issue of more development in Vienna. There was a “little meeting” of community leaders he had the opportunity to attend. He wanted to see if there are sites that can be developed for housing, for example, and the city’s willingness to help expand water and sewer to these sites. If extending water and sewer services is too expensive, it might hold back private development in Vienna. But, if the city is willing to help pay for it or do the work, it might help create more opportunities for persons wanting to invest in the city. The sewer expansion may include a lift station, James said.
Utilities Superintendent Shon Westart said when an individual who lives off of Parkway wanted city services, the individual paid for the engineering and the city did the work. When Don Kelley needed a lift station, he paid for it himself and the city replaced it because the city has a permit on it.
James said each expansion would have to be evaluated for its own merits. He understands the council might not approve paying $20,000 in infrastructure expansion for one house; but what about paying $10,000 for 10 houses? “In my mind it would be worth it,” he said.
South Ward Alderwoman Brenda Davis said, “Yes, we are willing to discuss it.” She and the council members want to open up opportunities for development in Vienna. In the past they’ve been okay with voluntary annexation.
Westart said the city can’t annex land if it does not provide water and sewer services and septic tanks are not allowed in the city limits. All the work has to be engineered if they are putting in new lines or extending lines. This is a requirement by DNR, Westart told the council.
If the private landowner runs a line to the city line, the city puts a tap on it and a meter, then its called a tap.
He said the Kelley lift station is cheap and easy to maintain. If the city provides money to do the work, it has to be engineered. Westart commented, “It’s either grow, or die.”
James said the council is willing to work with people who come in. Westart said he thinks its best if they let someone else do the work so that it’s just a tap and doesn’t require engineering. They will work with a developer as best they can. James said the city may pay or little bit or not at all, depending on the project.
Davis said if the marijuana cultivator/manufacturer is awarded a license, there will be new jobs and the need more housing. James said if they get, it will take off on its own.
In a related subject, James asked about the city’s position on replacing sidewalks. He wanted to know if the city provides any assistance to private property owners with tearing out old sidewalks or paying for concrete for new sidewalks. Westart said when Shirley’s Furniture and JR’s Hardware replaced the sidewalk in front of their business on Coffey Street, the city didn’t do anything. James said the city pays for concrete when they did curb and guttering and Westart said they stopped doing that because it was so spotty. Westart said he is “not a concrete guy at all”. Davis said they have to be very careful because once the city says it will do something, they are putting themselves and the city in a spot and then everybody will want it.
James said he knows in the past the city paid for concrete for curb and guttering. There are people talking about city expansion right now but he does not know what it will come to. Davis said she understands why the city might want to provide curb and guttering for expansion, as it would be similar to a tax abatement. James said, “Vienna needs housing.”
Police Chief Shannon Thompson said there are land boundaries in the city. “We’ve just about used all of our ground up,” he said. James said they are open to annexing more. There are people who want to live around here, James said, and when a property comes upon for sale, it sells fast. He said he just wanted to “throw it out there” and if there are others with a good ideas, they should bring it to the council. Davis said she thinks the council is willing to see what the city’s finances and city employees can do.
Westart said Reichel Construction can do concrete easy and in one day. The city can prepare the ground, basically leveling it out, but it is hard to find good ground because there are so many rocks in the soil in Vienna.