Cheney approves plan for office building


By Travis Mounts

CHENEY – A preliminary planned unit development (PUD) has been approved for a vacant lot in downtown Cheney.
Plans call for a new office building to be constructed by Evans Building at 202 N. Main Street, on the northwest corner of Main and First Avenue. The lot sits next to Clip-N-Curl Beauty Salon and is across Main Street from the Cheney Public Library.
The Albers family is putting up the building, and engineering firm Kirkham Michael will occupy the space. The engineering firm is currently located across the street in an office at 217 N. Main.
City council member Jeff Albers sat out of the discussion and abstained from the vote. The council approved the preliminary PUD on a 4-0 vote. The city asked that the building be moved back from the sidewalks to allow for some landscaping. Some parking and lighting changes also were requested.
Council members once again held a long discussion on possible limitations regarding recreational vehicles, boats and similar equipment. City council member Greg Kampling brought up the idea of additional restrictions recently, but so far the council members have not come to an agreement on what restrictions should be in place. There seems to be a general agreement that RVs and boats should not be parked in residents’ front yards. A consensus has not been reached what limits might be in place regarding parking and storage in driveways or what exceptions might be made during the boating season.
The city’s current zoning code prohibits parking cars in front yards, but there is not a separate ordinance against it that provides any kind of enforcement mechanism for the city. That has further complicated the discussion.
The discussion is expected to continue at the April 8 meeting, and an ordinance might be ready for a vote at that time.
In other business:
• The city council extended its local emergency disaster proclamation for the COVID-19 pandemic to Sept. 10.
• Council members approved $44,848.05 for the purchase of a 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe from Lubbers. That includes $38,982 for the Tahoe and additional money for SERV of Andover to outfit the vehicle. This vehicle will replace a 2018 Ford Explorer.
• The council gave permission for city staff to apply for approximately $91,000 in grant funding to run a sidewalk along South Main Street from the railroad tracks to the Cheney Sports Complex on the south end of the city. It is a 90-10 grant, with the city responsible for $10,208 in construction costs. The city also will need to pay the engineering costs of roughly $25,000. The council declined to approve grant proposals for three other projects. All four of the projects presented to the council were identified about two years ago in a plan put together by a steering committee.
The other three projects included 49 ADA-compliant curb ramps; a sidewalk along Sunset that would run from Sixth Avenue to Shadybrook; and three total blocks of new sidewalk that would then give the city a complete sidewalk along Sixth Avenue through the city, from Hoover Road on the east to Lake Road on the west.
The one project was approved on a 4-1 vote, with Kampling voting against it. Money would come from the city’s capital improvement budget, which by law cannot be used to pay for general fund items.