Trees raise questions in Gladstone

GLADSTONE — The Gladstone City Commission voted to defer an agenda item dealing with trees on Blackwell Avenue to a later meeting during its regular meeting Monday.

During the commission’s Aug. 27 meeting, Gladstone resident Bernard Erickson said that five trees were either at risk of falling onto private property (which he claimed to own) or had already fallen onto this property. In response to this issue, the commission approved a motion to remove these trees within a month.

“At the last meeting, a decision on this topic was made, and this item was presented under the public comment period,” City Clerk Kimberly Berry said.

However, according to its official rules, “the Commission will not decide issues that arise from public comment.” Because of this, Berry said the commission should have recommended the issue be placed on the agenda for its next meeting.

Community Development Director/Zoning Administrator Renee Barron said while city staff was looking into this situation, additional questions that were raised. These included questions related to the ownership of the land the trees were growing on and had fallen on, the best course of action regarding unconstructed avenues in the city, and the precedent that could be set not only by clearing the trees, but by gaining access to them to do this work.

As a result of these findings, more time was needed for a recommendation to the commission to be developed. Discussion on this situation will continue during the commission’s next regular meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 24.

In other business, the commission:

– accepted special event applications for the Gladstone Schools Homecoming Parade on Sept. 21 and the MISH Fall 5K/10K Run on Oct. 6.

Delta Avenue will not be closed for this year’s parade; 13th Street will be closed from the north side of Lake Shore Drive to the south side of Delta Avenue from 4 to 4:45 p.m. Minneapolis Avenue will also be closed to traffic from 13th Street to the football field during the parade. Gladstone residents are asked not to park on closed streets at this time.

For the 5K/10K run, Lake Shore Drive will be closed from Marble Avenue to 11th Street from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

– approved a contract between the city and Vicki Esch for the latter to provide mentoring services for recently-hired assessor Janice Ketcham. This contract covers a period of time from Sept. 1, 2018 to May 1, 2019. Under the contract, Esch will be paid $400 per month to provide these services.

– heard from Berry about recent issues with the city’s garbage trucks. As of Monday, both trucks were out of commission. To continue providing garbage pick-up services, the city has borrowed one of Escanaba’s garbage trucks.

While some garbage was picked up in Gladstone Monday, Berry said the city’s garbage pick-up services were running behind.

“If you put it out and it didn’t get picked up, leave it out for now and they will get to you,” she said.