The city of Columbus wants to clean-up and revise several confusing municipal codes.
At the July 9 Committee of the Whole Meeting, City Council members agreed to form a sub or ad-hoc committee to work on code revisions. The committee would likely start with four council members but could branch out to include Columbus officials and residents.
In a memo to the Council, City Administrator Patrick Vander Sanden wrote the city has $15,000 in this year’s budget for code revisions.
“The question is where to start?” Vander Sanden wrote.
The current zoning code might be a starting point. City Attorney Paul Johnson and Planning and Development Director Matt Schreiber have been looking at changes to zoning specifications.
“This is something that I’ve tried to budget for in the last seven years that I’ve been here; it just never seems to get done or we don’t get as much progress as we want to get done annually,” Mayor Mike Thom said. “I know we’ve been slowly picking at some of these things. Maybe having a subcommittee would allow us to kind of pick some low-hanging fruit off and just get it done.”
Johnson said the Council has three different options to address code revisions: 1. the city could select specific code revisions as they come up, especially on meeting agenda items. Johnson, however, said some codes overlap with others and the city needs be cautious. 2. The second option is to work on revisions one chapter at a time and the third is looking at what codes have more prominence over others.
“You could probably do most of your codes for the $15,000 if you don’t look at the zoning code and the subdivision ordinance because those two are your big-ticket items,” Johnson said. “Those are the two that would take the most time and money.”
Johnson said he’s worked on complete code revisions for other municipalities. The attorney said the city could take a template from his work and apply it to its own revisions.
“I was happy to see this on the agenda,” said Council Member Katie Ryan. “This would be a huge time savor (for the Council) and needs to be addressed.”
The Council is considering inviting public officials, such as the police and fire chiefs, to the subcommittee for expert opinions.
“I’m really open to anything,” Thom said. “If we be more proactive on this, it just makes things better.”
The Council will decide how to form the subcommittee at the next Council meeting July 23.
Thai restaurant coming soon
Yumyum Thai Kitchen, a new restaurant coming to downtown Columbus, was approved for a Class B beer and Class C wine license at Tuesday’s meeting.
Owners Dan Hagar and his wife Kongrat Chongeharoen plan to open the eatery in late July or early August. Chongeharoen is from Thailand. Hagar spoke briefly with the Council, describing the couple’s business plan.
Hagar said the restaurant will offer both spicy and mild Thai food but also a few classic Wisconsin favorites.
“We will have a Friday night fish fry,” Hagar said. “I told my wife that is a must.”
Hagar said YumYum will be a family-friendly business and he’s excited to open in Columbus.
New hoop and tables at CAAC
Columbus Recreation Director Amy Jo Meyers said five tables and a splash and slam basketball hoop will be donated to the Columbus Area Aquatic Center.
The donation comes from CAAC, Inc. Meyer said one of the tables is ADA accessible. She said the pool basketball hoop should be a nice addition to the aquatic center.
“It was a great donation because we do need more tables out there,” Meyers said.
Police cars for sale
Columbus residents looking to use an old police vehicle may be in luck.
Police Chief Dennis Weiner said the department plans to dispose of three vehicles, a sport utility vehicle and two squads. Weiner suggested listing the vehicles on the Wisconsin Surplus website, a marketplace often used by law enforcement agencies.
“The two squads we could sell for scrap,” Weiner said. “We pretty much ran those into the ground. They have high miles and the tires are pretty worn.”
The two squads are older Crown Victoria models that will likely receive sparse interest on the online market. Weiner said all police markings would be removed before sale.