By David Hazledine
Milford Town Council dealt with a number of issues concerning housing at its monthly meeting at the community building Monday evening, June 8. On hand was Alan Tio of Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation to sign a memorandum of understanding with the council and Milford Redevelopment Commission, which is intended to kick start predevelopment for future workforce housing in the area.
The council and KEDCo will each contribute $25,000 to locate sites and hire architects and developers. (For more information see InkFreeNews article “Milford Moves Ahead With Plans For New Workforce Housing.”)
There were other housing issues on the agenda as well.
During public input, Marlin Miller informed the council he is considering purchasing the now vacant Lakeland Rehabilitation Center at 505 W. Fourth St. with the intention of converting the building into apartment units. Miller sought the council’s guidance as to what restrictions it may have.
Council Vice President Kenneth Long informed Miller the building would likely need to be rezoned, as the location was once a field and it remains zoned for agricultural use.
“I wouldn’t want to see something that would degrade (the town),” said Miller, adding he rejected ideas to turn the building into a drug rehabilitation center or one-bedroom apartments. Citing the close proximity of Milford School, he is “leaning more toward two or three-bedroom units.”
Becky Alles, Van Buren Township Trustee and Milford resident, asked if Marlin would accept Section 2 renters, to which Miller replied, “not necessarily,” and reiterated he is only in the early planning stages.
Council President Doug Ruch advised Miller to “get a plan on paper” for the Area Planning Commission.
Also on the agenda was Jay Rigdon’s attorney’s report. Rigdon recently met with Ron Davidhizar and his attorney to discuss properties at 605 Kinwood and 105 Maple streets, which Tom Bulger, Milford building inspector, cited for code violations. After reviewing the properties the week of June 1, Bulger noted some improvements were made.
Rigdon has set a hearing date in 90 days with Building Commissioner Tom Mast to decide if the buildings will be condemned, with another inspection to be performed 30 days prior to the hearing.
The council also once again voiced concerns about a proposed concrete plant with ready-mix and supply sales located north of the overpass at SR 15 and CR 1350N, which went before the Kosciusko County Board of Zoning and Appeals June 10 and was approved. Long cited “huge safety issues” due to trucks pulling into traffic on SR 15. Required setbacks also do not appear to allow for size of the project, as Ruch also noted. Additionally, the owners, John and Julie Ward, had filled in part of a wetlands area without prior approval.
During street, water and park reports, the council approved a total of $5,223.75 for sidewalk repair at two residences, an ADA ramp and a new curb on Main Street in front of town hall.
Repair of a frayed throttle cable in the street sweeper was approved at a cost of $1,555.86.
Hydrant flushing will take place in Milford on July 8, 2020.
After acquiring multiple quotes, Superintendent Steven Marquart requested the council approve the purchase of wireless security camera systems from MicroByte Enterprise of Leesburg for Waubee Lake Park, $9,238, and the wellfield area, which includes KC Recycling — where trash has been left illegally — at a cost of $2,404.98. The cameras run on solar power and do not require monthly fees, according to Marquart.
Speaking about the park, Long said, “We know there are issues out there, maybe we could correct some of them.” Officers will also be posted at the park Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, according to Chief Derek Kreider.
Kreider received the council’s approval to rehire reserve officer Sergio Soto, who stepped back last winter citing family issues. Soto will complete his training and rejoin the reserves. Kreider praised Soto’s dedication.
Mark Brubaker, wastewater plant manager, reported recent upgrades saved the town around $1,500 in the month of May. The council also approved pump warranty work at a cost of $1,331.
Clerk/treasurer Tricia Gall received council approval for four funds transfers: $61,423 leftover from wastewater plant construction will be used to pay the bond principal; $85,967 from the wastewater depreciation fund to the wastewater operating fund; riverboat funds will be moved to cover community building shortfalls, and hydrant rental fees will shift from the general budget to the water budget.
June budget meetings will be held in the community building on June 23 and 24. Street, water and park budgets will be reviewed at 6 p.m. June 23, followed by police at 7:30 p.m.; wastewater at 6 p.m. June 24, followed by fire at 7 p.m. and then clerk/treasurer. The meetings are open to the public.
The next town council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. July 13. Location is yet to be announced.