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Monday, April 16, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Council Passes Overlay, Budget
DECATUR – The Decatur City Council on Monday voted unanimously in support of a zoning tool that will allow the Nelson Park Lakefront development project to proceed as planned.
Council members voted 7-0 to create and implement an overlay district for Nelson and Chandler Parks, an addition to the local zoning ordinance spelling out restrictions and other guidelines for development of the master-planned project. The overlay divides the proposed redevelopment into areas and sets parameters for development in each, defining allowable uses, building heights, property setbacks, landscaping, signage and parking requirements among other things.
The intent of the overlay is to provide standards that encourage recreation, park and lake preservation while supporting the development of the park as a regional attraction.
In other business council members approved the City’s 2012-2013 budget and received an update from Hanson Professional Services outlining options for keeping Asian Carp out of Lake Decatur. Asian Carp have been declared an invasive species by the U.S. Department of the Interior and can be dangerous to boaters and other recreational water users. The large fish can eat 20-120 percent of their body weight each day and “jump” out of water when startled, sometimes striking unsuspecting water users when this occurs.
Hundreds of the fish were actually found in the Sangamon River adjacent to the Lake Decatur Dam in the summer of 2011. On Monday Hanson provides a list of several possible options for dealing with the fish - including electric and physical barriers - and the company was directed to continue its study of physical barriers and the lowering of river levels as possible solutions to the problem.
The Council also unanimously passed the City’s budget for next year. The spending plan as approved allocates $1 million to for capital improvements, which marks the first time in 3 years that the City has been able to make steps towards restoring funding to previous levels. Prior to the recession, the City allocated $2 million annually for capital projects. The budget also directs $350,000 towards the demolition of problem properties and designates funds towards other priorities to include Emergency Medical Dispatching and Energy Performance Contracting (EPC)
Councilwoman Dana Ray announced Monday that she, council members and city staff will soon begin a series of neighborhood walks in an effort to hear directly from residents, identify concerns and support ongoing police efforts.
Contact Billy Tyus at 217-424-2727 for more information.