City Council Keeps Webster School Stop Signs

Oskaloosa City Hall

Oskaloosa City Hall

By Eduardo Zamarripa, CRI Weekly News

Oskaloosa, Iowa – On Monday night, the Oskaloosa City Council voted to keep the stop signs in place at South 7th Street and 5th Avenue East near Webster School. The final reading of the ordinance to change the intersection from a four-way stop to a two-way stop fell short on a three-to-four vote.

Councilwoman Scottie Moore and Councilmen Tom Walling, Doug Yates and Tom Jimenez voted “no.” Councilmen Jason Van Zetten, Aaron Ver Steeg and Joe Caliguiri voted in favor of the ordinance.

The Public Works Department performed an all-way stop analysis at the intersection. There were no reported crashes at the intersection of South 7th Street and 5th Avenue East from 2010-12. That’s why the staff’s recommendation was to remove the stop sign on South 7th Street, but keep the sign on 5th Avenue East.

The ordinance passed on the first reading on a five-to-two vote and passed on the second reading on a four-to-three vote. However, this time around the ordinance did not pass after Jimenez changed his mind and voted “no.”

In an interview with CRI after the meeting, Jimenez said: “The motion was just too messsy, it was just too messy. And the school didn’t have time to get the necessary changes made to make everything safe for the kids in the community.”

The ordinance has been a heated topic this past month in Osklaoosa. During the community comments portion of the meeting, the council received nine comments from the public asking the council to vote down the ordinance. Here’s a quick recap of what the public had to say:

Before voting on the ordinance, the council unanimously approved establishing a school zone at the Oskaloosa Elementary School, and the Webster School. This reduces the allowed speed in the area from 25 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Student safety is priority one, it has to be in any situation,” says Oskaloosa Superintendent Russ Reiter.

The council approved passing the ordinance on one reading, instead of three, per the request from the Oskaloosa Community School District and city staff. That motion passed on a six-to-one vote with Moore voting “no.”

This ordinance also granted the school district permission to use portable stop signs at South 7th and 5th Avenue East. However, that permission was granted in case the ordinance removing the stop signs was approved, which it wasn’t.

In other agenda items, the council unanimously approved a few items regarding parking zones:

  • Establishing a ‘no parking’ zone from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. along the South side of 5th Avenue East (1st reading)
  • Establishing a ‘no parking’ zone along the South side of E Avenue East from North 11th Street to North 12th Street (2nd reading)
  • Removing the’ no parking’ zone along the South side of 3rd Avenue East from South 7th Street to South 11th Street (2nd reading)

An ordinance to establish a ‘no parking’ zone along the West side of North 9th Street from A Avenue East to C Avenue East (2nd reading) did not pass for lack of a motion.

The council unanimously approved re-appointing Julie Hansen and Jo Broerman to the Historic Preservation Commission for three-year terms that end on December 31, 2016. Janel Campbell also applied to the position.

Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt recommended re-appointing the two individuals based on “the fine work they’ve done over the last couple of years.”

The next city council meeting is on Jan. 6 at 6 p.m.

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