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Sioux City Council approves developer's request to withdraw Loess Hills excavation plans
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Sioux City Council approves developer's request to withdraw Loess Hills excavation plans

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Loess Hills development (copy)

The Sioux City Council approved developer Rodney Lieber's request to withdraw plans for a residential subdivision near North Middle School. Lieber is expected to bring back new plans.

SIOUX CITY -- The Sioux City Council approved a developer's request Monday to withdraw plans to excavate undeveloped Loess Hills land near North Middle School for a residential subdivision.

Rodney Lieber, of Lieber Land Holdings, LLC, had planned to excavate most of the soil away to make room for an approximately 35-acre residential subdivision at 2321 41st St. He asked the city to rezone the plotted land, which is currently agricultural, as suburban residential. But at a July 8 council meeting, several residents spoke out in opposition to development, citing environmental and safety concerns.

Councilman Dan Moore urged both sides to work toward a compromise and a vote was deferred for two weeks so that residents, city staff and the developer could meet to address concerns.

During Monday's council meeting, Jeff Hanson, community development operations manager for the city, said Lieber asked to "delete the item and bring it back at a later date" so that he has additional time to review the site. Hanson said a suggested meeting between Lieber and the residents didn't take place. When Lieber brings back new plans, Hanson said a community meeting will be held before any planning and zoning or council action is taken.

"The two-week deferral was just not enough time for the developer to revise plans to address those concerns, so we made the decision that the community meeting would be held before the next set of plans even comes for approval."

Mayor Bob Scott suggested that the meeting be held at North Middle School. Then, the council unanimously voted to delete the item from its agenda.

In other action

The council also awarded a contract to a new firm to provide custodial and maintenance services for the downtown skywalk system, which is roughly 2 miles long and covers 10 blocks.

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Tyler & Floyd
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Historical fire station
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Elmwood Mansion
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Hawthorne School
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Leeds Airport

The low bidder, RTG Building Services, Inc., of Omaha, received the contract after a 4-1 vote. Scott cast the lone "no" vote. The firm will begin providing services at a cost of $9,280 per month on Aug. 1. The two-year contract will be subject to three one-year extensions.

Public Works Director Dave Carney noted the significant increase in costs. The current contract with Fresh Start, which was bid out in 2016 and expires July 31, was $2,580 per month. According to city documents, Fresh Start didn't submit a proposal this time around because it will be scaling back its business.

Skywalk operational charges are charged back to the properties connected to the skywalk.

"We cover 40 percent of the cost and then there's actually a subsidy on top of that that will go from 12 percent to 13 percent," Carney explained.

Moore noted that cleanliness and security are essential to a successful skywalk system.

"We struggle with both," he said. "Prices go up, but you gotta pay for good help."

Councilman Alex Watters said the city should continue to look for "options and avenues" to increase traffic in the skywalk and bring more attention to it.

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Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
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Sergeant Floyd Monument
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Sioux City Public Museum
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Mid America Museum of Aviation & Transportation
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Sioux City Art Center
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