Chanute commissioners voted a second time Monday evening to help Taco John’s construct a new restaurant. The commission previously voted to assist Taco John’s in 2014.
This time, two commissioners who were on the board in 2014 opposed the proposal, which still passed 3-2.
Monday’s discussion focused on a proposed site at 2909 S. Santa Fe, north of Fire Station No. 2. Franchise owner Jerry Frese said plans call for a $1.1 million structure. The planned restaurant would be 1,800 square feet with seating for 55 people and parking for 30 cars.
He said this is a new design for restaurant locations.
Frese requested access to the fiber optic network with a five-year agreement, assistance with drainage, access to nearby roads, and to acquire land between the site and fire station.
Three years ago, the city’s portion of the project was estimated at $41,000, but the current cost is not set. At that time, Commissioner Jim Chappell voted in favor and Commissioner Tim Egner was the only one opposed.
Chappell questioned the use of city funds for a private business, and Mayor Phillip Chaney pointed to the city’s infrastructure assistance to the Love’s Travel Stop & Country Store plaza and to the Dollar Tree store.
Commissioners debated whether existing businesses should have assistance as well as newly-recruited business.
Commissioners also discussed Fourth of July at Monday evening’s meeting.
Chappell has proposed increasing the fee for fireworks stands and using it to fund the annual public fireworks display in Santa Fe Park. He also proposed extending the days people can shoot fireworks.
“We’re just kind of behind times,” Chappell said. “I just brought it to your attention.”
Chanute charges a $300 license fee, unchanged from 2005. Last year, the city had eight vendors, and required a permit for each vendor tent.
Augusta has a $5,500 permit fee, plus a $2,500 security deposit for a maximum of five tents. Derby has an $8,000 permit fee and Newton has a $2,500 fee plus a $1,000 performance bond, refunded if the stand cleans up all debris.
In comparison, Parsons and Independence charge $50 fees. Abilene, Pittsburg and Iola charge $250 fees and Coffeyville charges $150.
Chanute limits shooting of fireworks to only the Fourth of July. Although many people complain, the ordinance is often ignored and lightly enforced.
City Attorney David Brake said he would prepare an ordinance on shooting dates for fireworks and a resolution on fees for commissioners to review at the next meeting.