Janesville31.6°

Sneakers returns to Janesville City Council

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
November 20, 2009
— Sneakers Bar & Grill will be back for a second volley before the Janesville City Council on Monday.

Kim Brown and Matt DeWitt want to open a bar and volleyball court at 1212 Woodman Road.


The council in October denied the business an alcohol license on a 3-3 vote after neighbors complained about the proposal. Russ Steeber was absent. Now, Kathy Voskuil and Yuri Rashkin, who voted in favor, are bringing it back for another vote.


Council policy allows two members to bring an item back for consideration.


Sneakers would locate in the building that used to house Basics Co-op next to Rogan’s Shoes. The location is set about a block back from Milton Avenue.


The building’s zoning is B2 and requires a conditional-use permit to open a bar.


Both the city’s alcohol licensing committee and the plan commission gave the proposal a positive recommendation. The plan commission recommended no outside lighting or music and that the volleyball end by 9 p.m. in deference to neighbors’ concerns.


About seven neighbors have appeared before all city bodies, speaking in opposition to the bar. They fear that it would lower their property values and increase noise and traffic. They worry that drunken patrons will threaten their safety.


Officials from Sara Investment Real Estate, which owns the building, held a neighborhood meeting after the council’s denial, offering to do anything from putting a stop sign on a corner to slow traffic to planting bigger and more trees to screen the noise.


At that meeting, about five neighbors spoke in favor of the bar in addition to the seven or eight in opposition.


Sara President Eric Schwartz told the group he believes his company has come up with creative ideas to allay the residents’ concerns. He promised the residents that the company would pay close attention to the business and respond to problems.


But those opposed said they would be “constantly complaining” if a bar opened.


Council President Bill Truman said Thursday he would allow residents to speak again on Monday. If past history holds true, that means another lengthy public hearing.


ON THE AGENDA

The Janesville City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in City hall, 18 N. Jackson St.


Items on the agenda include:


-- A continuation of a public hearing on the 2010 budget. If approved Monday, the owner of the typical Janesville home assessed at $113,800 would pay $832 for city services, or an increase of $4.80 or 0.58 percent. Based upon a projection of all jurisdiction tax rates, the typical Janesville homeowner would pay a total of $2,857 for property taxes, or an increase of $23 without the lottery credit.


-- A proposal to change a charter ordinance to begin regular council meetings at 6:30 pm. instead of 7 p.m. The Gazette made the request because the newspaper is now a morning paper with a 10:30 p.m. deadline. The earlier meeting start would allow more council news to be included in the next morning’s paper. Council member Tom McDonald has said he would propose to start the meeting even earlier at 6 p.m.


-- Action on a recommendation from the Janesville Sustainable Committee to approve a “Green Building Policy” for the construction and/or renovation of all city-owned facilities with a project cost more than $500,000. The policy would include energy efficiency and water conservation.


-- Acquisition and demolition of 127 N. Terrace St. The cost to buy the vacant and foreclosed home is $30,000.


-- Action to raise bus fares 25 cents, from $1.25 to $1.50. Federally-required half-fares for people with disabilities and those over 65 years old would increase from 60 cents to 75 cents per ride. The increase would take effect Jan. 1 and raise a projected $25,619.



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