Peru’s forthcoming police station and road extension have attracted the interest of a developer seeking to build 18 single-family homes to the south.
Monday, the Peru City Council voted 6-2 to enter into a development agreement with John Pohar & Sons. The La Salle company owns about 11 acres, already zoned for residential construction, located south of the new police station, according to city filings.
Aldermen Mike Radtke and Aaron Buffo voted no. Buffo balked at the city making a $150,000 investment in the project at a time when the city was scaling back other expenses.
Radtke said he had no objection to Pohar’s involvement – “Absolutely the right person to do the job,” he said – but also objected to the city’s contribution.
“At best there might be a 50-year payback,” he said.
A representative from Pohar was not present at Monday’s meeting, and the company declined, after an earlier query, to supply a statement or comment.
Separately, city officials will begin debating how to regulate fireworks stands – if they’re allowed to return at all.
Police Chief Doug Bernabei said the city was widely lauded for its zero tolerance of fireworks, which resulted in 17 civil offenses and a steep reduction in noise complaints.
Despite the zero-tolerance policy's success, there remains something of a gap between what’s commercially available and legally permissible. As Bernabei explained, what most people think of as “fireworks” fall into three distinct categories. At one end of the spectrum are fireworks used in commercial shows that require federal licenses; at the other are “novelties” such as sparklers and smoke bombs.
It’s the middle area where there are concerns, he said. “Consumer fireworks” include powerful explosives and projectiles that require permits to buy and sell. Bernabei likened it to the sale of alcoholic beverages: They’re legal to sell, but the onus is on the vendor to verify if the buyer is permitted to have them.
Police visited three freestanding tents to check compliance. Results were mixed. The owners of two were “extremely accommodating” and agreed to limit their inventory in accordance with the law. The owner of a third was less accommodating.
“So he decided to pack his bags and move out of town,” Bernabei said, “which, frankly, was fine with us.”
While no action was taken, the council now is mulling over whether to permit consumer fireworks stands in the city or to regulate the permissible inventory and/or to raise the vendor fee from $25 per month.
“The cost of policing it is significantly more than $1 a day,” Bernabei said.
Finally, the council agreed to $500 donations for La Salle-Peru Township High School and St. Bede seniors to enjoy belated proms. But L-P’s contribution comes with a catch: The city wants receipts.
Alderman Tom Payton pointed out that St. Bede funds were directed to the school while L-P funds were going to a committee comprised of parents. He and Radtke agreed receipts are needed to ensure a paper trail should questions arise later.
“It just covers us,” Payton said.
Radtke agreed. “If it was going to a high school, I wouldn’t ask.”