An ordinance that would give the Quincy Preservation Commission up to 90 days to review the proposed demolition of a structure in a historic district was approved by the City Council Monday night, but not before it was slightly amended.
Alderman Paul Havermale, R-3, motioned that the fines for demolishing a home in a district be doubled, instead of quadrupled or quintupled in some cases like the Preservation Commission recommended and was included in the original ordinance.
Under the approved ordinance, someone demolishing a structure within a historic district without a permit would be fined $1,000 instead of the previous $500. A second violation would result in a $1,600 fine, and each additional violation would garner a $2,000 fine. The maximum penalty would be $4,000.
He also asked that the phrase "up to" be added before the 90 days to reassure property owners that every request for a demolition would not be delayed that long.
Aldermen approved the two amendments and the ordinance by a 12-1 vote, with Alderman Dave Bauer, D-2, casting the lone no vote. Alderman Steve Duesterhaus, D-2, was absent.
Bauer said he believed that the 90 days was too long for many property owners who wanted to move forward on projects.
"It will cut into construction time if a person has to wait 90 days as to 35," he said. "That is not always the best thing."
Chuck Bevelheimer, director of planning and development, said it would only be an option of the commission.
"The Preservation Commission would like to have the option if they do feel there needs to be a public hearing to have enough time to schedule one and actually conduct one and report back to council," he said.
Asked by Alderman Mike Rein, R-5, how many demolitions a year would be delayed the full 90 days, Bevelheimer said maybe one.
The ordinance was last updated in 2005 when the delay period was increased from 15 days to 35 to allow for a meeting of the Preservation Commission.
Havermale said the increase would allow the commission to work with the property owner to see what can be salvaged.
In the end, the property owner still maintains the right to demolish their building when the period expires.
The council also received notice from Utilities Director David Kent that the city hired Rees Construction to make the emergency repairs at 25th and Hampshire. A water main break early Friday morning also caused the collapse of a sewer manhole and transition coupling. When the city receives an invoice from Rees, a formal resolution will be submitted to the council for to approve the payment.
After the meeting, Kent said the water line and the sewer lines have been repaired. The site still needs to be filled in for traffic. City Engineer Jeff Steinkamp said the intersection could be open by the end of the week.
The meeting started off on a somber note with Quincy Mayor John Spring asking for a moment of silence for Ron Sparks, who died Thursday. Sparks served as assistant director of Transit Operations until he retired in 2003 and was a former First Ward alderman and Adams County Board member.
Spring also asked for a moment of silence be given for U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, who suffered a stroke over the weekend and underwent surgery at Northwestern Memorial in Chicago.
The City Council also:
º Heard that the city took in $713,504 from sales tax in October 2011, a decrease of 1 percent. The city also received $721,875 from the home rule sales tax in October 2011, a decrease of 0.7 percent. Spring said the city has seen a "good sales tax report again."
º Approved the lone quote of $7,424 from R.L. Hoener for the inspection of four underground storage tanks at Quincy Regional Airport.
º Approved an ordinance to add stop signs at the intersection of 38th Street and Stone Crest.
º Concurred with the Traffic Commission to remove parking along the east side of 25th Street, starting at a point 120 feet north of Broadway and extending 52 feet north.