Burn plan: Council wants nearby homes smoke-free
by Rick DeClue · News · April 12, 2013

At its April 1 meeting, the West Branch City Council approved a variance to allow KLM Investments, LLC to conduct an open burning of non-construction debris that is the subject of a city abatement action.

Mayor Mark Worrell, through his company, Big Timber Excavating & Grading, will conduct the large brush-pile burn.

The council and Fire Chief Kevin Stoolman placed several conditions on the approval:

• The city will require indemnification against damages caused by smoke. When Worrell was asked if he would be responsible, he said, “Not me.” The council then asked City Attorney Kevin Olson to draft an agreement for KLM.

• Stoolman, who must sign off on the approval of the variance, requested that KLM notify neighbors before the burn. He predicted winds from either the north or south could blow smoke in nearby homes. “It would be better sooner than later,” he said, as warmer weather could mean more open windows.

• Stoolman recommended a 48-hour burn, with time to ensure that the fire is out, and that the fire must be attended at all times.

• The city requested that the fire not be positioned on ground that could be a future street or basement site.

When the council considered asking KLM to either move any remaining debris after the burn to a less visible location onsite or truck it offsite, council member Jim Oaks said, “There is only so much we can tell a property owner to do on his own property.”

Worrell provided the council assurance that he would handle any remnants appropriately.

Because of weather factors, there is no time limit on when the burn must be completed. If KLM does not appear to be moving forward, the city will continue its abatement action.

Council member Dick Stoolman asked that the city look at addressing similar situations at the beginning of the subdivision approval process, as part of any overall development agreement. City Administrator Matt Muckler agreed to look at the issue.

In other west side items, the council approved construction of a new retaining wall for Hilltop Condo, 118 Hillltop Drive. The plan involves stepping back the new wall to prevent failure from soil and moisture pressure.

Dick Stoolman noted that the retaining wall behind the Community State Bank also appears to be failing.

“That’s another issue,” Worrell said.

Contractor Michael Furman received site plan approval for construction of two units near the corner of Main Street and Pedersen Street on Lot 3, Pedersen Valley Part One. The new units will be attached to an existing three-unit building. This approval also came with conditions addressing sidewalk construction along both Main and Pedersen.

The Main Street sidewalk and tree plantings will be installed after the city addresses storm water issues between Pedersen Street and the creek to the east.

The council discussed several possible solutions, including burying a storm drain to eliminate standing water in the existing ditch along the stretch and ensure flow to the creek. This project would also affect Main Street Place.

At the request of council members Stoolman and Colton Miller, the city’s engineering firm, Veenstra & Kimm will prepare cost estimates for the storm pipe proposal.

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