No new street sweeper, portable storage container ordinance for Urbana

Urbana will not be getting a new street sweeper — at least for now — as the item failed to pass at Tuesday’s Urbana City Council meeting and was sent to committee. The ordinance to amend zoning on portable storage containers was also pushed to committee.

The meeting was pushed to Tuesday from its usual Monday slot because of Labor Day.

The absence of Robert Lewis, Ward 3, and Heather Stevenson, Ward 6, greatly impacted the ordinance calling for the purchase of a new street sweeper. Five voted in favor and one against, but six votes were needed in order for it to pass.

William Gray, Urbana Public Works Director, said a new sweeper would cost around $170,000. Some members of the council asked whether the older sweeper could survive a bit longer and give the city an “opportunity to economize” and save its resources for other needs. Gray said repairing the older sweeper, one of two owned by Urbana, would cost $20,000 and “wouldn’t guarantee to extend the sweeper’s life.” The city traditionally keeps sweepers for ten years; the oldest sweeper is eight years old.

The amendment to the zoning ordinance regarding portable storage containers was pushed back because there were some questions the ordinance failed to answer. Diane Marlin, Ward 7, said the ordinance failed to state an extended need for a storage container, such as remodeling or construction projects that would require storage of materials. Under the ordinance, the maximum time a storage container would be allowed on a private property would be thirty days; an additional thirty days would be extended if applicant showed good cause.

“Things (remodeling and construction projects) don’t magically end after two months of construction,” Marlin said.

Robert Myers, Urbana Planning Manager, said a revised ordinance would be ready for the next meeting and adjust to the popularity of these storage containers.

“We have a lot of people moving in and out of town, and they seem to be pretty popular,” Myers said.

The council also finally approved previous items from the agenda a few weeks back. A resolution calling for resurfacing projects on Lincoln and Springfield avenues and Park Street passed, as did ordinances calling for funding and replacing the roof of a salt storage dome shared with Urbana Township and Champaign County.

The council also appointed Virginia Waaler to the Public Arts Commission and Mary Tompkins to the Plan Commission.