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Janesville City Council faces a long Monday

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Ryan Dostalek
July 12, 2008
— Janesville City Council members have their work cut out for them Monday.

That morning marks the kickoff of two days of interviews with the five city manager candidates, and after a day of interviews and tours, city council members will meet for regular business at their semimonthly meeting.


A few items will return to the agenda, including the contentious pedestrian tunnel debate at East Milwaukee Street between Wright Road and Shannon Court and a proposed ordinance to allow natural landscapes at homes and businesses.


Pedestrian tunnel

The council at its Monday meeting is expected to discuss the controversial pedestrian/bike trail tunnel it approved at its June 23 meeting.


The tunnel, which costs $670,000, would be built under busy East Milwaukee Street between Wright Road and Shannon Court.


A public hearing is not scheduled, but residents always can speak at the beginning of the 7 p.m. meeting in City Hall, 18 N. Jackson St.


A discussion on the roundabout that members approved at the East Milwaukee Street and Wuthering Hills Drive intersection also is scheduled.


The council is not scheduled to reconsider either issue.


Natural landscaping proposal

Council President Amy Loasching and council member Russ Steeber will introduce a revamped version of the city’s noxious weed ordinance to allow for city-approved landscaping. The proposal comes after Asbury United Methodist Church received a notice from the city to mow its natural prairie because it violated the current noxious weed ordinance.


“We just want to revisit that ordinance,” Loasching said. “(The city’s) thinking more green now, and things are changing in society. We want to see if we can fine-tune (the ordinance).”


The current ordinance requires people to remove all noxious weeds and prohibits plants over a foot tall.


Natural landscaping, as defined by the proposed ordinance, uses primarily native plants to “exhibit character and spirit of nature by arrangement of the plants and drainage patterns” similar to natural arrangements and drainage patterns.


The revised ordinance could allow a resident to have natural plants and grasses over a foot tall after he/she is approved for a natural landscaping permit, but Loasching said the details aren’t set yet.


Loasching said natural landscapes, such as the one at Asbury United Methodist Church, help beatify parts of the city but said such landscapes must have some stability.



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