Council studies annexation of property
A request to annex 31 acres on the west side of Baldwin City raised concerns from the City Council Monday night about the city's ability to provide fire protection to the home site located about 660 feet from its entrance on Lawrence Street.
The property, owned by Wesley Irvine and Judy Mackie, does not meet Douglas County building permit requirement of having 250 feet of road frontage. Its frontage on Lawrence Street is about 70 feet.
Mayor Stan Krysztof, who is a neighbor of the property, said the city's fire trucks will not be able to make the turn into the driveway, as it is currently constructed, without going into the ditch. He was concerned about any liability the city could face for not being able to provide fire protection.
"There is no way a fire truck will make that turn," Krysztof said.
City inspector Jim Tarwater said the property owners are willing to work with the city to make their home site accessible to emergency services. They are considering installing a sprinkler system in the home, and will have a swimming pool and a pond that fire trucks could draw water from in the event of a fire. Tarwater said the city could require the owners to widen the drive to accommodate city fire trucks.
The City Council approved annexing the land, with the requirement that the property owners work with city staff to make the property accessible to emergency services.
Council member Ted Brecheisen Jr. voted against the request, wanting the council to table the issue until consultation with the fire department. He also thought the property should be on the city's sewer system. It has a septic system.
The owners will pay for the installation of city water and electric utilities.
"I thought we were trying to get away from the septic tank issue," Brecheisen said. "There isn't a septic system made that hasn't had problems.
"I'd like to talk to the fire chief to see if he can get a truck up there."
Other council members were confident that city staff could handle any needed changes to the property.
"I'm concerned about the fire protection as well," said council president Marilyn Pearse. "I'm not concerned about the septic system."
"In a rural location, I wish I was as well set up as they propose to be," he said.
Council member Gene Nelson noted that the area surrounding the property will likely be annexed in the future as the community grows.
A comprehensive plan that addresses how the city will regulate its growth, including future annexation areas, will be discussed jointly between the City Council and Baldwin City Planning Commission on July 25. A time and location of that meeting will be announced.
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