City Council members will revisit the issue of vacating a public alley at their next public session in order to gather more information from local residents prior to a decision.
Attorney James Deal addressed the Council on behalf of resident Susan Kellum, who also spoke to the Council after submitting a petition to vacate a public city alley. The alley is between Poplar and Noble streets from Chicago Avenue west to the first alley running northwesterly and southeasterly in Brazil, and according to the petition, is not in use. The petition also lists Anthony G. Smith, Nancy J. Morlan, Mary Jane Gottsche, Raymond F. and Patricia A. Haase as well as Kellum among those with land abutting the alley.
During the public hearing conducted at the beginning of the Council's regular session, Deal said that some of the residents use the alley on the other side, but the request only applies to part of the alley.
"We didn't see the need to have to close it all the way," Deal said.
Councilman Jim Sheese had asked whether motorists use the entire alley, including the portion to be closed. Kellum said the Smiths do use the alley all the way through, and Councilman Bill Lovett clarified that residents do use the alley from Chicago to Leavitt streets.
"They're the only people, besides myself, who use it," Kellum said.
Councilwoman Pat Heffner explained to the audience and fellow Council members that Smith could not be in attendance due to a work conflict, although he had expressed interest in attending the public hearing. Deal noted Smith had not submitted a letter of opposition to him.
"We really kind of need to talk to them (property owners) and him," Councilwoman Ann Bradshaw said.
Heffner said there is a hole at the end of Leavitt Street, which makes it difficult to get out during the winter months.
"He (Smith) sounded like a gentleman who could be worked with," she said. "I'd just like to see both parties happy."
Lovett commented that until the petition, he wasn't aware there was a problem in the area of the alley. Meanwhile, Bradshaw reiterated that she would feel more comfortable making a decision after speaking more to Kellum, Smith and other property owners.
The Council voted unanimously to close the public hearing. Members also voted unanimously to approve the first reading of Ordinance 16-2005, to vacate the alley. A second reading is required for final passage, and Council members will investigate the matter further and give Smith another opportunity to voice his opinion by waiting until the July 12 session to take final action.
The Brazil City Council regularly meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month in Council Chambers at City Hall. Meetings start at 7 p.m. and are open to the public.