WAKEFIELD – Wakefield’s City Council met at the Civic Center Wednesday evening. During the meeting the council discussed replacing the city’s main well, approved the first reading of an ordinance allowing short term and vacation rentals and more.
A public hearing was opened and ultimately recessed for the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Items on the plan included workforce housing, planning and zoning. Council member Larry Soderberg moved to recess the public hearing until the council’s February meeting to allow for more public input.
The first reading for an ordinance allowing short term and vacation rentals in city limits was held. Once finally passed, the ordinance will allow people to run an Airbnb-type rental scheme from their property. The legislature ruled that while communities may have tried to ban these setups in the past, they now must be allowed, but can be regulated to avoid nuisance and maintain public safety, according to attorney Theresa Miner.
“This is the effort of the Planning Commission to allow for Airbnb and that type, but to regulate it so that it’s a benefit to the community,” Miner said.
The ordinance needs two more reading to be official.
Approval was given to repair Well #4. Christiansen Well was awarded a $25,100 bid to completely replace the well pump. There was some discussion about whether the project should get more bids before being awarded. Because it is a priority project and Christiansen Well had already done half of the labor to take out the old pump, it could move forward with only one bid.
The council entertained a request from Wakefield Progressive to use the City Park for the Wake Field party on June 22. Megan Weaver, director of Wakefield Progressive told the council that the change of venue for this year’s field party is in part because there will be construction at last year’s location. There was much discussion about whether alcohol would be able to be sold and consumed in the park because it is a City-owned property. City attorney Lee Miner eventually found the appropriate ordinance and told the council a special exception would be needed. The council encouraged Weaver to keep planning communication open, but tentatively approved the event.
A donation of $55,000 to the school stadium project from the Sales Tax Committee was approved, as was the purchase of invoicing software for the City office and a $5,000 LB840 loan for new restaurant Crazy Jack’s.
A council retreat was set for Sunday, Jan. 30 in council chambers. The next regularly scheduled Wakefield City Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at the Wakefield Civic Center.