Sultan may see the light, twice

By LESLIE MORIARTY

Herald Writer

SULTAN — The city may be getting its second stoplight soon, even though the first one hasn’t been a big hit with everyone.

At a Town Hall meeting this week, Police Chief Fred Walser said the city plans to get another stoplight at Fifth Street and U.S. 2 sometime within the next year.

"It’s still on the table," he said.

The city got its first stoplight at Old Owen Road and U.S. 2 in August 1999. While residents like it because it allows them to make left turns onto U.S. 2 without waiting on traffic, drivers on U.S. 2 oppose the light.

A variety of other issues were discussed at the Town Hall meeting:

  • Walser, who serves on the U.S. 2 Safety Committee, said new surveying is being done as a part of a 10-year plan that will eventually build the highway to four lanes to near Monroe.

  • The group discussed the regulations required by the state Department of Transportation when new businesses are built on the highway or when uses of existing businesses change.

    The subject came up when resident Ed Boucher mentioned that the former Windmill gift shop next to the Dutch Cup restaurant may become a coffee stand.

    "But in order for that to happen, we have to do a traffic study, and that’s just going to be too costly," he said.

    City planning officials told him that the state requires a traffic study if the business fronts the highway.

  • The contention was made that the city is not saving enough space for parks as more houses are built.

    Councilman Bob Ostrom said the city doesn’t own land where residential growth is happening, but noted that developers are required to hold back 15 percent of the development as "passive space."

    City council members and staff said they would look at whether that is a reasonable percentage as usually that doesn’t leave enough space for ball diamonds or playgrounds.

  • Mayor C.H. Rowe said the city is continuing to plan for a Traveler’s Park south of U.S. 2, where a waterfall was constructed.

    While the waterfall still needs repairs, Rowe said the $370,000 federal grant that the city received for the park is valid until September 2001.

    Rowe and councilman Rob Criswell have been looking for train cars that might be used as park structures for a visitor’s center and possibly a museum. Rowe said that will allow the city to save money on construction of a structure.

    The waterfall and park were a subject on which the council had not agreed in the past. But Rowe promised that the federal grant money would not go to waste and that plans for a park will proceed.

    "I’d just hate to see it get passed by simply because politics is involved," resident Brian Copple said.

  • The group also talked about creating a landscaping theme on Main Street and carrying it throughout the city. Most likely, landscaping will have to be done by volunteers, city officials said, because the city landscaper was cut from the proposed 2001 budget.

  • City administrator Roy Bysegger told residents that the city needs more financial stability. He said adding new homes won’t get the city there because the added property taxes the city gains from homes equals the costs of providing services to the new residents.

    He said the city needs to pursue industrial, commercial and business park plans in order to gain the revenue that will make a difference in the city’s income.

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