The North Platte City Council approved a zoning change on second reading Tuesday to allow a crematorium to be located on the east edge of the city, off Philip Ave.Councilman Andrew Lee asked Zoning Administrator Judy Clark if she’d had any complaints. Clark said she had one inquiry, and gave the person who inquired all the information the council was provided.
Councilman Jim Nisley said he’d had two complaints and said he’d also shared that information. He asked Clark to clarify -- the issue before the council is the zoning change, not the crematorium per se.
“Before the crematorium could be completed, it would still need a city building permit and meet other requirements, is that right?” Nisley asked.
Clark said yes.
Mayor Dwight Livingston said anyone who wanted to address the council could do so, even though the required public hearing was held last week. No one stepped forward.
The council unanimously approved the zoning change, 6-0. Jim Carman and Glenn Petersen were absent.
One more reading is required before the change is final. It will be read again when the council meets again in two weeks.
The land, which is in the southeast corner of Philip and Bicentennial, is currently zoned agricultural. That would change to light industrial, conforming to businesses in the city’s industrial park, which lies directly west of the site.
The crematorium would be inside a properly maintained, eye-appealing 40 x 40 foot building, applicant Troy Douglas has said.
In other action, the council unanimously extended an agreement for pigeon control with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but not before they asked for more information.
Lee wanted more information about the effectiveness of the program. Hawks said such information is available from the USDA public information office, and he could ask them to come before the council.
Councilman Martin Steinbeck moved to require a semi-annual report as a condition of the contract, and the council approved unanimously.
The cost to the city is $7,500 a year.
During the discussion, City Administrator Jim Hawks said pigeon control is good for the city, so much so that two businesses urged him to extend the contract, even offering to pick up some of the costs. Lee said he’d heard a complaint that a pigeon slowly died on a downtown sidewalk, as though poisoned. Hawks said poison is not being used. The pigeons are trapped instead.
The council not only authorized a grant request for the public transit department, but authorized the purchase of two 12-passenger buses with wheelchair lifts. They did so unanimously, without comment.
The annual cost of the transit system operation is about $870,000, of which the city pays $157,000. The rest is paid with federal and state funds.
The cost of the two new buses will be $120,000, of which the city will pay $12,000. The rest is paid with federal and state funds. The oldest bus in the fleet, a 2003 with 209,000 miles, will be sold, according to council documents.
In other business, the council:
• Approved the appointment of Brock Wurl to the Quality Growth Fund Advisory Committee, replacing Ty Lucas.
• Approved the appointment of Andrea Cuddy to the Lihrary Advlsory Board, replacing Kendall Burns, who resigned. Cuddy’s term runs to 2020.