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Doug Lindner

RIP for R1(B)?

City council declines to act on proposed zoning ordinance

SOLON– A proposed zoning ordinance to allow for narrower lot widths and smaller setbacks for single family residences is going nowhere anytime soon.
During their meeting on Feb. 4, Solon City Council members declined to take action on a draft ordinance which would create an R1(B) zoning district.
“I rather feel rushed in making a decision right now,” council member Mark Krall said. “I’m not ready to change things, I guess.”

Construction costs still edging past bond limit

No reason to panic, says project manager

SOLON– Projected costs for a new middle school and performing arts center currently exceed the $25.5 million target set forth in a September bond issue.
But Solon Community School District (SCSD) board members were reluctant to make amenities like a $417,000 orchestra pit an alternate to the project, and representatives of the district’s construction management firm indicated it’s not yet time to hit the panic button.
Board members met with staff from Struxture Architects and Story Construction Jan. 26 during a special session for a progress update on the two major building projects.

Council mulls new residential zoning

Old Mill Creek expansion seeking smaller lot sizes

SOLON– The Solon City Council wasn’t quite sure about adding a new type of residential zoning to its code of ordinances.
Council members tabled the first consideration of an ordinance which would create an R1(B) zoning district to provide for smaller lot sizes in residential developments.
The draft ordinance, presented at the Jan. 21 meeting, came as a result of a joint meeting Nov. 25 between the council, the city’s Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission and developers of Old Mill Creek Part 3 on the very west edge of town.

Solon will seek waiver

But new 2015-16 school calendar put together just in case

SOLON– Not so fast.
The Solon Community School District’s Board of Education was expected to make a decision on the start and end dates for the 2015-16 school year last Monday.
No decision was made.
Board members tabled the lone action item on the agenda for the Jan. 12 regular session, although Superintendent Sam Miller was instructed to proceed with applying to the Iowa Department of Education for a waiver to start school prior to Sept. 1.

Prentice joins city council

Herdliska resigns to create another opening

SOLON­– Just as quickly as one vacancy was filled, another opened up for the Solon City Council.
The council welcomed new member Mark Prentice, who was appointed at the Jan. 7 regular session to fill the vacancy created when council member Brad Kunkel moved outside the city limits.
At the end of the meeting, it was announced that council member Ron Herdliska had resigned effective Jan. 1.
The city accepted applications from the community to fill Kunkel’s spot, and received four: from Prentice, Dale Snipes, Steve Lee and Kristina Bevans.

Sheriff contract to increase in Solon

Increased patrol hours in the future?

SOLON– The cost of law enforcement for the City of Solon will increase beginning in July.
The city knew the $2-per-hour hike was coming, and has been planning accordingly heading into budget time. In the future, the city may even look at adding to the hours of coverage provided by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO).
Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek made his annual pilgrimage to Solon Jan. 7 to meet with the Solon City Council about the city’s contract for law enforcement services.

Lady Spartans hit winter break undefeated

Solon moves to No. 11 in 3A with wins over West Delaware and Central DeWitt

MANCHESTER– The Lady Spartans finished the first half of the season without a loss.
The Solon girls basketball team moved to 8-0 Friday with a road win over West Delaware in Manchester, handing the Hawks their second loss of the year.
Likewise, earlier in the week, Solon halted a six-game winning streak for Central DeWitt. Against DeWitt, senior Ali Herdliska led Solon with 18 points and shot 50 percent from the 3-point line.
At Manchester Friday night, it was junior Dakota Doyle’s turn.

SHS preparing for classes at new Kirkwood center

Johnson County site to open in fall 2015

SOLON– Preparations are in the works for a project that will have a big impact on Solon High School in the fall of 2015, and it’s not an auditorium.
The Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa is scheduled to open in Johnson County next fall, and Solon school staff is working to develop a plan for the long-range partnership.

Finding compromise on a new school calendar

Committee recommendation coming at Dec. 8 meeting

SOLON– Different things are important to different people.
When it comes to the Solon school calendar, students, parents and school staff differ on which has the most impact– the starting date for the school year or ending the first semester before winter break.
The school district’s calendar committee has been working to develop the landmark dates for the 2015-16 school year, and a formal recommendation is expected at the school board’s Dec. 8 meeting.

Bump in bond rating saves district interest

SOLON– When you’re borrowing millions of dollars, a single tenth of a percentage point on interest rates can make a big difference.
A bump in bond rating and a favorable market helped the Solon Community School District sell close to $10 million in general obligations bonds at an attractive 2.8412 percent interest rate to Raymond James & Associates Inc. at a Nov. 10 school board meeting.
The sale was authorized by district voters when they approved a $25.5 million school bond issue to build a new middle school and performing arts center in the Tuesday, Sept. 9, school election.

Council OKs $3,000 for Macbride watershed grant

SOLON– It was the neighborly thing to do.
The Solon City Council voted last week to pledge $3,000 in support of a Johnson County Soil and Water District (JCSWD) grant application aimed at improving the Lake Macbride Watershed.
At a Nov. 19 meeting, JCSWD Technician Breanna Zimmerman and intern Laura Waldo Semken presented council members with information regarding their application for a Watershed Development Planning Assistance grant through the Iowa Department of Agriculture.

Back to the drawing board for E&J Electric’s expansion plan?

Proposal for apartments above storage units

SOLON– “We’ve got a disagreement,” said City Attorney Jim Martinek.
“But we disagree on what, though?” asked E&J Electric owner John Schmidt.
Apparently, what constitutes a commercial garage.
Schmidt went before the Solon City Council Nov. 5, seeking input on his concept plan to combine storage for his business with upper-level apartments adjacent to the E&J Electric location on East Main Street.
He came away from the meeting uncertain.
“I have no clue what I’m supposed to do next,” Schmidt told council members.