By Travis Mounts
CHENEY – The Cheney City Council has voted to change the lot size requirement for home additions that require roads with curbs and guttering. The action was taken at the council’s March 9 regular meeting.
The action follows up a request made at February’s meeting by Bret Albers for a variance to Ordinance 855, passed in 2012, that set a minimum lot size of 2.5 acres for suburban and rural roadway construction.
Cheney normally requires curb and guttering for new home additions, as do most cities. Those lot sizes tend to be much smaller. Albers asked the council for a waiver that would allow lots in the range of 2.0 to 2.2 acres. Putting in an asphalt road with ditches is a cheaper option, he said in February.
Albers said that requiring curb and guttering for those lot sizes would push the special taxes up, making it difficult to market the lots. He said the planned addition, which would be located on Cheney Road at 23rd Street South, would use all other city utilities, including water, sewer and gas.
The council approved Ordinance 948, which lowers the threshold to 2 acres. Council member Jeff Albers, brother of Bret, recused himself from discussion as a member of the council.
In an unrelated matter, the council took no action on a request from the Kansas Municipal Gas Service to have the City of Cheney participate in a prepay gas supply project. Each city that elects to participate will determine what percentage of their gas they would like to allocate toward the prepay project. The term of the agreement would be for 30 years. The council previously agreed to the program in 2019, but the deal was not completed due to changes in the market.
In other business:
• The city council approved an internal 10-year loan agreement with a five-year balloon payment with the Cheney Public Library. In 2013, a loan to fund the library remodel was set up on a 20-year amortization schedule with a 5-year balloon payment. A loan renewal was done in 2018, which left the initial interest rate the same at 3 percent and the annual payment at $11,561.10. The new annual payment will increase to $12,846.10.
• The council approved Mayor Phil Mize’s appointment of Leslie Leroux to the Cheney Public Library Bard. Leroux will serve three years as she was appointed to fill a vacancy. Terms are normally four years long.
• Ideatek has starting installing fiber optic internet in Cheney. The Buhler-based company started along Lake Road and the entrance to The Back 9.
• Construction will start soon on new ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps. The city has received a grant to help cover construction costs. Survey work began on March 18. Sixteen properties will receive ADA curb ramps.
• Cherry Oaks Golf Course has been busier to start 2023 than it was in 2022. There were 939 rounds played in February, an increase of 434 rounds. That is reflected in the year-to-date rounds, which are up nearly 400 rounds. February 2023 revenue was $31,259.73, up from $17,765.40 in 2022. Year-to-date revenue is at $81,729.66, an increase of nearly $20,000. The first tournament of the year will be on Saturday.
• The Cheney municipal swimming pool is accepting lifeguard applications through March 26.
• City administrator Danielle Young reported that it has been two years since the natural gas emergency from Storm Uri. The price of natural gas continues to fluctuate and remain higher than prices were before February 2021, but the city is starting to see natural gas prices decrease for the future. The February 1st, 2023 billing was the highest billing rate the city has billed. The Attorney General has filed a suit against Macquarie Energy. Gas usage has fluctuated this winter as there have been a few dips of cold weather, followed by above average temperatures. Staff will continue to monitor the repayment of the loan in comparison with gas usage and the increased payment, due to an increase in the interest rate at the first of the year.