Sticking to the issue at hand, the Blair City Council gave unanimous approval for a replat application for single-family housing lots in the Arbor Heights Addition.
Submitted by J. Nielsen Construction of Blair, the replat includes dividing what is now one large lot into five lots, ranging in size from 18,491 square feet to 29,004 square feet.
Also, a new public street — Arbor Drive — connecting Arbor Circle at 20th Avenue Circle with 18th Avenue, would also be constructed. Access to the houses would be off of the street, Assistant City Administrator Phil Green said. There will be no access allowed onto Arbor Circle or 18th Avenue from the houses or any accessory buildings.
As they did a week earlier during discussion at the Blair Planning Commission, area residents expressed concern about traffic in the area and urged the city council to consider not allowing parking on both sides of 18th Avenue. Parking is currently allowed on the east side the street.
Green, however, said, any decisions regarding parking restrictions will have to be addressed with a separate resolution, as will the installation of stop signs on the new Arbor Drive, which was also recommended by the planning commission.
He also said that the city council could also choose to restrict parking at certain times of the day, such as school drop off and pick up times, which were concerns from some of the residents.
Steve Callaghan, however, believed because traffic is bad at all hours of the day, parking needs to be restricted all of the time.
"It is a major coordinator for the whole north side of town," Callaghan said. "Not only is Arbor (Intermediate School) there, but so is the high school, middle school and North."
Callaghan said he was concerned about Blair becoming like Lincoln, — an urban nightmare for transportation and asked council members to consider the quality of life for people in Blair.
"I'm for the development. We need housing. Everybody in town knows that," he said. "But, I'm concerned about the quality of life and safety. This is a very dangerous road."
Linda Harkey reiterated the same concerns about traffic, which she also voiced to the planning commission last week, and urged the council to restrict parking.
"Unless you live down there, you have no idea how busy 18th Avenue is," she said. "I worry about the school kids and because it curves."
She was concerned about children in the area who walk to school or play.
"Please consider no parking on 18th Avenue," she said. "We are going to save a life and it's going to be a kid."
Connie Abbott also addressed concerns about Arbor Drive being a through street, noting that there was discussion during the planning commission meeting about putting in a cul-de-sac or a partial cul-de-sac or making it a dead-end street, which she supported.
"I think we need to start over and think about smaller lots and either a dead end with a P-shape or a cul-de-sac," she said.
She also asked if a traffic study has ever been done and when city staff said no, she added, "That might be where we need to start."
Council member Brad Andersen was pleased with the discussion, but reiterated that the parking issue would have to be addressed in a separate resolution.
"I have definitely witnessed the problems with parking along 18th Avenue, but, that isn't the issue at hand," he said. "I do agree that it needs to at least be looked at, whether that be some sort of restriction on hours. I think that might be where we need to start, but I definitely want to give all those folks that own lots along 18th Avenue the opportunity to come here and speak as well."
Andersen made the motion to approve the replat application, which was approved on a 7-0 vote. Council member Kevin Hall was absent.
There was no discussion about if a resolution to restrict parking would be brought to the council.
Green also noted that the developer will install all of the infrastructure privately, however, the design must meet City of Blair requirements and be approved by the director of public works. A stormwater management plan is also required, Green said.