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New Mayor, Re-elected Council Members Sworn In Tuesday

Russell City Council Oaths 4-16-13Newly elected Russell Mayor Curt Mader and re-elected Russell City Council Members Norma Jean Cook, Chuck Bean and Blaine Stoppel took their Oaths of Office Tuesday evening at City Hall and officially became members of the council.

With City Clerk Sheldon Hamilton leading the reading of the oaths at Tuesday's Council meeting, it sounded like this:

Recently elected Councilman GJ Long was out of town on Tuesday and was not a part of the ceremony, but according to former Mayor Carol Dawson, Long took his Oath of Office privately late last week.

After the reorganization, discussed in depth at the meeting was a possible zoning change to a portion of a residential area in the west part of Russell between N. St. John and N. Van Houten Streets. The proposed zoning change would allow for more development in the area, specifically between Holland and N. Van Houten Streets, but would change part of that area from residential to commercial zones.

Ken Elliott and Jon Ross, both residents of that area, spoke against the proposal at Tuesday's meeting, citing they believed they were not properly informed of the types of changes that were proposed to be made and they did not think the change would be in the best interest of the area, which happens to be a special home covenant addition that is not synonymous, but is treated much like a homeowners association. In such an area, the homeowners living there have to abide by certain building codes and any new development in an area of that nature has to follow the same guidelines.

Local realtor Jeannine Byers-Long spoke in favor of the zoning change, saying ultimately Russell needs new development - commercial and residential - and this area would be a great place for it.

After much discussion, the Council voted to send the proposal back to the planning commission that had drafted it previously to try to get a more defined plan and hopefully clear up any concerns.

Other action taken at Tuesday's Council meeting included the approval of an ordinance that will make the Energy Cost Adjustment figure on city utility bills a flat, unchanging rate from month-to-month and the approval of a resurfacing project for E. Wichita Avenue. A public hearing was also set for May 21 at 4:30 PM to discuss the possible Neighborhood Revitalization Plan.

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