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Public hearings make up bulk of council meeting

FARMINGTON – A series of public hearings led Monday evening’s Farmington City Council meeting, but none of the hearings had noticeable opposition.

The list included two requests for “special-use” permits for chid care centers, a request for permission to subdivide the former state highway maintenance department property, and an amendment to the outdoor sales ordinance to allow the sale of fresh produce.

While the public hearings were just one step prior to the regular monthly council meeting, in this case the hearings had nearly as much attention as any other topic discussed during the evening.

The first hearing dealt with preliminary and final plat approvals for a new project known as Gladbach Subdivision. A group called Farmington Partners, L.L.C., is requesting the land formerly held by the state at 1700 West Columbia, the former state highway department maintenance facility, be approved for changes to be made. While no formal word was given, there was speculation that the property could soon house a McDonald’s restaurant and separate convenience store.

No one from the public spoke in opposition of the project, but there was some concern from the council about traffic flow onto Route W. It was said that the Missouri Department of Transportation could provide traffic flow data if requested. No time frame has been given for the start or completion date of the development.

Two additional hearings were in reference to two separate request for special-use permits to operate child daycare centers – one at 625 North Carleton, the other at 137 Vierse Drive – in districts currently zoned C-2 General Commercial.

Harold Hastings had requested the special-use permit for the 625 North Carleton project, to allow operation of a facility which would serve about 10 children. Joe Burgess requested the other permit, that one allowing for a slightly larger daycare facility.

Both items were approved later in the evening during the regular meeting.

During department head reports, Farmington Water Park Director Bill Towler gave a brief statement regarding an incident which happened at the water park over the weekend. On Aug. 12, lifeguards at the park were involved in the rescue of a 6-year-old girl after she apparently jumped into water over her head and grabbed onto another swimmer. The girl swallowed some water and apparently panicked.

Towler said a lifeguard on duty at he park saw the little girl in distress and blew a whistle alerting nearby guards to the situation. The young girl was pulled from the water and CPR was started. Reports from onlookers said the girl coughed up some water and began breathing on her own.

The young girl, who’s name is not being released at this time pending permission of family members, was taken to a nearby hospital for observation. She was released a short time later.

Towler told the council that the lifeguards’ efforts were “complimented by the EMT personnel who responded to the 911 call.”

More details regarding the incident are expected to be made public in coming days. Towler said he was pleased with the efforts of the water park staff. The park has had more than 300,000 visitors since it opened five years ago, and has had only two potentially serious incidents.

Towler went on to report that attendance at the water park was heavy this year. The regular season at the park will end this week, with the park being opened weekends through Labor Day.

The final bill approved for the evening was the amendment allowing for the operation – within certain parameters – of legal produce stands in the city limits. The change came after a concern was raised earlier this summer when a seemingly popular produce stand began operating near the corner of Karsch Boulevard and Walton Drive.

Faced with operating outside the existing language of the city’s vending ordinance, the produce stand owner petitioned the council to consider changing the existing ordinance to allow for legally-operated produce stands. The council considered the change and drafted a bill which was introduced during the work session earlier this month. With no opposition during a public hearing earlier in the evening, council members approved the change in the ordinance to end Monday night’s session.

The council will meet next on Sept. 1.

Beavers expected back end of October, back to work in early to mid November

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