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Dan Zulkosky hired as new city administrator

Tea City Council hired Dan Zulkosky as the new City Administrator on Monday night at a salary of $85,000. Zulkosky, who will begin his duties on July 17, was most recently employed with Lewis and Clark Regional Water System. Prior to that, his experience included 20 years as a city administrator in Nebraska and Iowa.

The council also got their first look at the proposed job description for the city administrator. Mayor John Lawler told the council to take a look at it and come back with comments at the next council meeting.

In other business on Monday night, the council looked at several zoning issues. They approved a site plan and foundation permit for Lauriebelles Boutique with the recommendations from Engineer Ben Scholtz. The building is to be located at 820 Gateway Lane. Scholtz said that GrandStay Hotel had been notified and were told to come to the meeting to voice any concerns. He has not received any comments from them at this point.

An application to replat lots 5A and 6A in block 20 of the Prairie Trails Addition was approved. Two landowners requested the change to enlarge their current lots.

The council also approved a plat change in Kaul’s Addition to correct a legal description for a homeowner.

The zoning issue receiving the most discussion was the Whisper Trails Initial Development Plan review. Developer Clint Ackerman of Signature Companies, LLC and Engineer Dave Jibben were present to answer questions regarding the plan. The proposed development includes approximately 50 acres along Main Ave. and 271st St. and could include 30 R1 Residential single family lots; 77 R2 residential single family lots, nine R2 Residential twin home lots, 11 R2 residential 4 flex lots and 8.5 acres for R2 residential multifamily lots.

Mayor John Lawler expressed concern about there being no detention shown or green space on the plans. An even bigger concern was the lot size. “The main thing at the top of my mind, looking at the layout, is the extension of the R2 zoning,” said Lawler. “I’m not a fan of the 65 foot lots.”

Residential lots in Tea in R1 are at least 75 feet. Most of the lots that were in the R2 zoning in the development plan were 65 feet.

Ackerman explained that in order to build homes in the $180,000 to $275,000 range, he needed to utilize the smaller lots sizes. He said that today’s buyers are not interested in maintaining a big yard, but are more concerned about the house. As a developer, he was looking to be cost-effective and meet the demands of the market.

Lawler said while he understood that, he felt they needed to keep an eye on their identity in Tea and not crowd homes together.

Ackerman said he was willing to work with the community but had to have some leeway on the 65 foot lots.

Several councilmen said they felt the 65 foot lots would be okay given current market trends.

The council asked a few more questions before moving on to other business.

As the final order of business, the council decided Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. would be the first budget meeting.

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