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City Council: Pawn shops, housing development and utility shut-offs

The next Hastings City Council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, June 18. Here's a look at what's on the agenda.

The council will consider changing the ordinance that regulates pawn brokers in this city. The changes follow a 2011 amendment in the state legislature and clarify the requirements specifying when a pawn broker is allowed to remove pledged goods from a pawn shop and when a pawn broker must return goods upon payment of the full amount due to the pawn broker. As well as the state-required changes, the council will consider a $250 penalty to brokers who pay their monthly billable transaction fees up to 30 days late and a $500 penalty if fees are paid more than 30 days late. Fees would be imposed in addition to any license suspension or revocation the council may impose after notice and hearing. The council will hold a public hearing on this issue before voting.

On a related item, the council will also discuss action in response to the late payment of billable transaction fees by Robert Bohn, owner of Old Mill Pawn Shop. At its May 21 meeting, the council decided to not take any action against Bohn for late payments at that time, as he paid the bill prior to the meeting. The council did, however, note that any future late payments would result in the pawn shop license being brought before the council for possible action, including possible suspension or revocation.

The council is being asked to consider vacating various drainage and utility easements within the Riverwood 8th Addition, in the area of 36th Street and Riverwood Drive. The area was originally subdivided for townhome development, but the applicant desires to replat it for single family homes. Existing drainage and utility easements do not correspond with new lot line arrangements of the proposed plat. The public will be invited to comment on this item.

A plat approval is being requested for the Riverwood 11th Addition, in the area of 36th Street and Village Trail. The plat reconfigures townhome lots into single family home lots, which would allow for the construction of 14 new homes.

The public will be invited to comment on proposed changes to the way property owners are notified of delinquent utility bills and how utility shut-offs are conducted. Changes are proposed to improve safety for public works operators, who have encountered a rising amount of intimidation and threats from customers when posting disconnect notices or shutting off water service for non-payment. The change would have police officers or reserve officers post disconnect and shut-off notices, force customers to pay bills at City Hall instead of to public works operators and adjust shut-off days.