Boonville resident questions solar panels on Main Street during council meeting

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Boonville residents on Main Street and Sonya voiced their concerns Monday night during the council meeting over solar panels being placed near a subdivision.

Solar panels at Alliant Bank in Boonville was the topic of discussion Monday night during the annual Boonville City Council meeting.

Marylin Meine, a resident of 501 Sonya in Boonville, commented to the council that the residents in her subdivision weren’t notified by the city that solar panels were being installed near her residence.

Meine, who owns three lots near Main and Sonya, said the solar panels near her residence devalues her home in addition to the other homes in her subdivision.

“When we built our home here, Marvin Lee Greis developed this Rolling Heights Subdivision and everything was zone residential,” Meine said to the council. “And that was the way it was to be used, and the covenant was supposed to stand for 50 years. Now, at one time, there was a different bank across the street, and they tried to put a driveway through. However, the neighborhood got up a petition, and we stopped it. Now, Alliant Bank  has put the solar panels in here and I don't believe it's been quite a year yet. My question would be why we were not notified by our councilman.”

Boonville City Administrator Kate Fjell said the city is not required to notify owners when there’s a plan for development. “There’s certain times that we notify people such as if there is a liquor permit, a zoning change, or an annexation request, but if the proposed plan fits within the confines of the zoning requirements and the site plan, than there’s no notice provisions provided for neighbors or someone on site distance. Now, if you're getting a historic construction permit, I think they have to notify people for that.”

Fjell said the Planning and Zoning Commission approved the solar panels in May of 2019. She said construction probably began on the solar panels during the summer. 

“The site was zoned C1, so that’s acceptable,” Fjell said. “It went through planning and zoning, and that all of the standards that are in code currently, and so therefore, it is kind of a do pass. Planning and zoning projects are more of an administrative duty for the council. For example, at the council meeting Monday night, we were discussing boards and commissions and which ones do we need. That's, that's something that council can have an opinion on and some things they could keep some things they can't, but on the planning and zoning that is an administrative duty, so if it meets the requirements, then you have to pass it. You might not like what's going in there, but you don't have a choice, so it fits the box.”

Meine also brought up about how Boonville is always taunting about tourism and that this is a main entrance into Boonville. 

“We see campers go through here, we see the Isle of Capri bus go through here, Meine said. “We believe that the properties that we have here add a great deal of beautification to Boonville, and I think it was a real stinker that they did a thing like this and didn’t notify us.”

The council also acted on the final payment that fell under the old pay schedule for supplemental funding for Boonville City Attorney Brad Wooldridge. Fjell said up until April of 2021, Wooldridge was expected to work approximately 180 hours per year, and he got paid $22,500. “He could request extra payment for working overtime, so this is the last pay request,” Fjell said. “Now we’re moving forward. We're under the new ordinance, where he gets a flat fee of $40,000.”

The council also discussed in length about city committee structure. Fjell said Boonville Parks and Recreation Director Paul Linhart requested to get rid of the cemetery board because he was having a hard time finding things for them to do and finding people to serve on the board. 

“The main activity they did was reviewing the mowing bid, and over the past four or five years, we've only had one mowing bid,” Fjell said. So even that just it's just changed. He feels that this board is unnecessary at this point in time. Paul will continue to remain as sexton at the cemetery, so he sells all the deeds and plots and types those up. He also keeps the current map of all the plots and who's bought what plot, so if you’re curious, you could go to Paul, and he can find them for you. So he's really doing the day to day duty.”

Fjell said something else new to the council is having each department come up and talk about what they do. She said with the turnover on the council, there are now four council members who have less than a year's experience, and there are more questions about departments and day-to-day operations.

“ I think it’s appropriate for us to have a brief, 10 -15-minute, presentation at council meetings for each department to discuss a little bit about their purpose, activities, and staffing,” Fjell said. “Additionally, after the presentation, we will make their building available to any council member to visit, or schedule a follow-up visit if they have additional questions.”

Boonville Fire Chief Tim Carmichael presented to the board Monday night and talked about how many full time and part time or volunteers they have on the fire department. 

“I think of note from that report, pertaining to this year is that in 2020, they ran 973 calls, and of those 821 were medical,” Fjell said. “That's really the bulk of what they do anymore. There's just not very many fire calls, so they're doing more medical. They didn't start doing medical calls until the mid 80s and were doing like 50 calls in a year. That was a big year, so their role has really changed over Tim's 10 years at the fire department.  That's following the trend of all fire departments everywhere. Now, in addition to fire, that's the bulk of the calls.”

Glenn Bishop will be the next speaker on Monday, May 17 and will talk about the health department along with someone from waste management to brief the council on trash collection.

Fjell said the council also accepted the resignation of council member Curtis Robertson. She said Robertson resigned his position due to his changing work schedule.