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City allows left turn lane at school

The New Richmond City Council changed its mind on allowing a left-hand turn from an exit at the new high school.

At its June meeting, the Council rejected the idea of allowing left turns from the main entrance at the school. They were hoping to guide all traffic to the east, forcing cars to make a u-turn at the dead end and then then head west to Highway 65.

At Monday's regular meeting, however, the Council voted unanimously to temporarily allow the left turn. The exit would be changed, at the School District's expense, once Richmond Way is extended east to 140th Street.

Alderman Fred Horne said the City and District spent time negotiating the compromise.

"We had a good discussion and shook hands," he said.

Alderman Jim Zajkowski asked Superintendent Morrie Veilleux if he understood that the Richmond Way extension could happen by 2010, when the school is set to open.

"Understand," Veilleux responded.

School officials had questioned the previous decision, saying cars will back up in the school parking lot, causing problems.

They also questioned why a traffic decision would be made along Richmond Way if there is no guarantee that the extension will be completed.

In other business:

• The Council approved the installation of sidewalks from Richmond Way to Parkview Drive.

The sidewalk will travel along the west side of Bilmar Avenue from Parkview to Paperjack. The sidewalk would then cross to Hallewood and follow the west side to the new school pathway.

Notices will be sent to property owners along those streets concerning the sidewalk plan. A meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Civic Center.

• The Council changed its setback requirements in all of its zoning categories.

For the most part, front-yard setbacks are now 25 feet, compared with 30 feet previously. The rear setbacks are now 20 feet, compared with 35 before.

Building Inspector John Frisco said the setbacks were too restrictive before, compared with neighboring communities.

• The Council set the speed limit on East Richmond Way at 30 miles per hour. Aldermen Jane Hansen and Jim Johnston voted no, preferring a lower limit. They established a "school zone" from Charleston Drive to the east, reducing the limit by 10 miles per hour during school hours.

• The Council approved clean-up orders for 850 Jefferson Road and 309 North Third Street.