BY CARISSA SITKI
During the Altamont City Council meeting on Monday, April 26, an item on the agenda to approve an ordinance (Ordinance VA-1628) for a variance for an accessory structure at 118 North Second Street (in the lot between the Whistle Stop and Luke’s Bar and Grill) did not receive approval, or disproval. City Commissioners, Todd Slingerland and Dan Milleville were not present.
Owner of the Whistle Stop, Mark Workman, attended the meeting for the discussion. Workman said that he wants to build the structure as a way to host bands while keeping them out of the weather while also providing additional outdoor seating for his bar.
The proposed structure, according to Workman, would be four feet off of his building, and four foot off of the building that houses Luke’s. He brought in a photoshopped image of what the structure would look like once built. The south side of the structure would be enclosed with a 14’x14’ garage door and the north side would be open with canvas that would come down from the top, additionally there would be a 12 foot entrance on the east side of the structure leading up to the back door of the Whistle Stop. The zoning board approved the structure with the condition of adding a fence on the north lot line. Workman said that he would put up a standard six-foot fence with a gate, “We talked about wrought iron, I don’t know for sure yet,” said Workman, “I’d like to put a nice-looking fence up and I want to make sure it’s sturdy.”
When Mayor Jason Rippetoe asked if there was a motion to approve the proposed Ordinance with the condition of the fence, Commissioner Tayler Polk said, “I’d like to wait for the rest of the council. It’s a pretty big structure, not that I’m against it, I’d just like for the rest of the council to be here.”
Polk said that he would prefer to table the item until the next meeting. Workman then asked the Council if they would consider giving him a yes or no answer during the meeting because on May 4, all construction materials are going up 20 percent. “It will cost me another 10-15,000 bucks, if I have to wait,” said Workman, “If the City tells me no, I just won’t build it.”
Polk said, “I’d hate to put you in a pickle, but I’m not willing to make that decision tonight and four-foot is awfully close to Luke’s as well, in my opinion.”
Commissioner Mike Walker shared Polk’s sentiment and said, “I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but I really would like for [the other board members] to be a part of that [decision].”
Workman said that if he is able to get the structure built it’s going to make him money, as well as make the City money.
Polk went on to make a motion to table the discussion of the proposed structure.
Rippetoe said, “That puts us at a bit of a quandary.”
Resident Terry Plowman, who was also in attendance at the meeting, said to the Council, “What’s going to happen is, he won’t build it, he’s not going to be able to afford to build it.”
Polk said that he was not going to be “bullied into making a decision tonight.” He reiterated that he is not opposed to the structure, but he would like the full council to be able to weigh-in.
Workman brought up the fact that the zoning board had approved the structure and said that he believes the structure will be good for Altamont. “I’ve taken that building up there, that five-years-ago looked like trash, and made it into a nice building both inside and out,” he said, “When I get done with this, it will be nice, too.”
Polk said that he doesn’t at all disagree that the structure could be good for the City, but stood firm in his opinion that the rest of the board be in attendance for the decision on the large structure, also reiterating that he thinks it would be rather close to Luke’s.
Workman said that the two businesses get along very well and that Luke’s gets more business when there are concerts happening at Whistle Stop because people will go back and forth between the bars.
Walker then brought up that the Board typically does not deny something that has received the zoning board’s approval.
Mayor Rippetoe asked three times for a second to Polk’s motion to table the item, but Walker did not second the motion. After that motion died, Walker made motion to approve Ordinance VA-1628 with the condition for fencing that was added by the zoning board.
The standoff continued when Polk did not second Walker’s motion, so it, too, died.
“Alright, that’s the procedure,” said Rippetoe, “We don’t have an approval, or a disproval. With a full Board, my guess is that you would have approval.”
Rippetoe then recommended Workman talk to his contractor about potentially holding some materials. Workman said he would try talking to his contractor, but if they say, ‘no’, he is not going to build the structure.
City Clerk Sarah Stephen told Workman to let her know if he wants the item put on the May 10 meeting agenda. Mayor Rippetoe said to Workman, “Talk to him and then get ahold of Sarah and me and let us know.”
In other business, the Council approved Milano and Grunloh project authorization of a subdivision boundary survey for Town & Country Subdivision (residential development south of town) in the amount of $4,000.
The Altamont City Council will meet again on Monday, May 10, at 6 p.m. at the Municipal Building.