City Council has issues

Blackfoot Mayor Marc Carroll points at sidewalk damage on Bridge Street. The City will be considering the fate of some of trees on Bridge Street at Tuesday's City Council meeting.
By: 
Catie Clark
Reporter

The Blackfoot City Council will meet at City Hall on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The meeting's agenda contains items that have recently caused public discussion, including a proposal by Bingham Memorial Hospital (BMH) for the City to vacate Poplar Street. The City Council will also listen to public commentary on a request to remove spruces next to a commercial property.

Spruce Tree Removal

In December 2017, Anderson Realty requested the removal of two large spruce trees along Bergener Blvd, citing insurance concerns. The issue was tabled at the January City Council meeting so Blackfoot could research the condition of the trees.
At the February meeting, the City's employees reported that the trees were in good health and were halfway through their expected life. Neither tree was leaning dangerously and both were more than 20 feet from the adjacent commercial building.
The Elks planted the spruces several decades ago as part of a city beautification project. The city decorates these spruces every year during the winter holidays.
Anderson Realty's request was tabled at the February meeting so the City could seek clarification from the business owner on the insurance issue and to ask for input on possible compromises on removal.
The Council will accept public commentary on the spruce trees at the meeting on Tuesday.
In an email sent to the Morning News in February, Blackfoot resident Clarence Worthen wrote: “Cutting down these trees: the mayor needs to take a stand and say no before all our nice spruce threes are gone.”

Poplar Street Closure

On Tuesday, February 27, The Blackfoot Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) recommended that the City vacate Poplar Street and turn it over to BMH. This item will now be considered by the City Council at the upcoming meeting on Tuesday.
BMH proposed to block traffic between the main entrance of the hospital and the front doors of the medical office building. Vehicles driving north on Poplar from Oak Street would be diverted into the west parking lot.
Idaho law mandates that all rights of way, easements and franchise rights of any property owner or public utility along Poplar must be preserved. The three non-BMH property owners left on the street will have no loss of utilities, City Services or access.
BMH has agreed to preserve access to the buildings on the hospital's campus for emergency responders, including ambulances, fire department vehicles and law enforcement. They have also agreed to improve their fire response system. The hospital will compensate the City for the value of the street pavement
P&Z suggested that the safety and access of Terry Leavitt's driveway be made a condition of turning over Poplar Street. Leavitt lives at 15 Poplar, next to BMH's property. His driveway abuts the hospital's west parking lot with no buffer. The proposed rerouting of traffic could make it unsafe to him to get in and out of his driveway.

Bridge Street honey locust trees

The City Council will also discuss the possible removal and replacement of the honey locust trees on Bridge Street. These are located on the sidewalk between Ash Street and Broadway. Their root systems are currently damaging the sidewalk in front of the old Idaho Republican building. They also obstruct the facade and flagpole. The trees are thought to be halfway through their lifespan.

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