Morris City Council approves variance requests for Love’s Travel Stop

Signage at Route 6, Brisbin Road approved

MORRIS – The Morris City Council met Tuesday night and, besides the fire at 919 E. Benton St., had regular city business to discuss.

The council granted a request by Morris Woman’s Club to hold a “Chalk the Walk” event Oct. 10 in downtown Morris to raise awareness about domestic violence and sexual abuse. At the event, uplifting comments will be written on sidewalks in the downtown business area. The council also granted a request by the Morris Woman’s Club to block Franklin Street from Washington Street to Illinois Avenue from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 23 for a “Touch a Truck” event to help raise funds for a scholarship for a Morris High School graduate who attended Grundy Area Vocational Center.

The council approved additional requests by Dusty Kuykendall to close the 800 block of Third Avenue between Spruce Street and Mary Eddy Drive for a block party from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 17 and and by Judy Baron and Bonnie Latta for a special event permit for a block party that would feature a food truck and would block Charles Street at Pamela Court from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 26, with a rain date of Sept. 2.

The council also approved a rain date of Thursday for a previously approved vendor event that was rained out June 24, requested by Lois Darlington on behalf of Clayton’s Rail. Darlington also requested to schedule rain dates of July 29 and Sept. 9 for Clayton’s Rail’s vendor events approved for July and August, which the council approved.

The Judiciary and License Committee approved a business license application by Jesse Schultz, doing business as “The Pub,” 200 Gore Road, to operate a pub and grill. The committee also approved a Class D liquor license transfer from Bobby Bunzel, DJB Pub Corp., doing business as “The Pub,” to Jesse Schultz, DJB Pub Corp., doing business as “The Pub.”

The Finance and Administration Committee recommended that the council authorize renewal of the partnership with Starved Rock Country Alliance. The motion passed 7-1, with Alderman Dean Tambling voting against.

The committee also recommended that the council adopt an Ordinance amending the city’s municipal code to create Chapter 2.40, establishing a public information officer for the city. The motion passed 6-2, with Aldermen Julian Houston and Alex Clubb voting against. Mayor Chris Brown then appointed former Alderman Stan Knudson to the role.

The committee recommended that the council adopt an ordinance amending Chapter 2.92 of the municipal code regarding emergency services and declarations. The motion passed, 8-0.

The Water and Sewer Committee recommended that the council

• Adopt an ordinance approving change order No. 4R for the Central Waste Water Treatment Plant raw sewage pump replacement for a decrease in cost of $4,145

• Adopt an ordinance approving change order No. 5 for the Central Waste Water Treatment Plant raw sewage pump replacement for an increase in cost of $5,282.62

• Adopt an ordinance approving change order No. 6 for the Central Waste Water Treatment Plant raw sewage pump replacement for an increase in cost of $2,423.83

• Adopt an ordinance approving change order No. 7 for the Central Waste Water Treatment Plant raw sewage pump replacement for an increase in cost of $5,008.18.

All motions passed by an 8-0 vote.

The Zoning Board of Appeals recommended that the council adopt ordinances approving the following zoning variance requests by Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores Inc.:

• To construct a highway sign at the southwest corner of Route 6 and Brisbin Road with a square footage of 2,793.50, exceeding the allowable 500-square-foot maximum specified in Section 17.10.160.3 of the Morris Municipal Code, resulting in a 2,293.5-square-foot variance;

• To construct a 17-foot freestanding ground sign at the southwest corner of Route 6 and Brisbin Road, exceeding the allowable 10-foot maximum specified in Section 17.10.120.2 of the Morris Municipal Code, resulting in a 7-foot variance.

Both motions passed, 8-0.

During the audience recognition portion of the meeting, Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District Chief Tracey Steffes addressed the council.

“I want you to know that your public works people, no matter what has been asked of them, was never answered with ‘no.’ Doug Pfaff, I think we wore him out the last week. He would go home, and we would call him back. You have a great employee in Doug Pfaff. All of the employees are great, but Doug answered the call for us, and I appreciate that. It made it easier for us.

“Thank you for having the trust in us. We are going to see this through to the end and I just wanted to tell you thank you. We always get told thank you, but you trust us to do our jobs and we thank you for that.”

Alderman Duane Wolfe commented that Steffes’ voice was very soothing while he was giving updates on the fire.

“When he spoke, you knew things were under control,” Wolfe said about Steffes. “I am very proud of him.”

Morris resident Jacob Farmer, who lives on the west side of the city, then addressed the council.

“I want to say that [Fire] Chief [Tracey] Steffes and [Police] Chief [Alicia] Steffes have done a great job,” he said. “This past week has been great to see how we reacted. We don’t know what the next step is, but we do know that we will stand together.”

Rob Oesterle

Rob Oesterle

Rob has been a sports writer for the Morris Herald-News and Joliet Herald-News for more than 20 years. He is currently also writing news for the Morris Herald-News.