Council OKs changes to zoning in 4th Ward

City council approved pay raises of 23/4-percent annually, for three years, for ranking police.
NILES -- City council has rezoned the entire city, with changes approved to the 4th Ward on Wednesday evening.
There were few changes to the 4th Ward zoning on the Southwest Side because this part of the community is the most diversified, said Anthony Vigorito, building inspector, during a public hearing before the regular meeting.
Rezoning of the four wards has taken about four years. The thrust of changes in the 4th Ward, as in the other three, is to reduce population density by changing zoning that has allowed multifamily structures. It has been replaced with zoning that allows only single-family houses.
Vigorito and Councilman Raymond Cox, D-4th, said that as duplexes and large old houses with a number of apartments are demolished or destroyed by fire, only single-family structures can replace them.
At the same time, they said, commercial and industrial areas remain unchanged as the city strives to attract new businesses.
Police contract approved
In other business, lawmakers approved a three-year contract with ranking members of the police department that calls for 23/4-percent annual raises. The contract is retroactive to Jan. 1.
There are nine lieutenants and captains on the police department. Lieutenants are paid 17 percent more than veteran patrol officers and captains 17 percent more than lieutenants.
Lieutenants will be paid 53,307 the first year of the contract, while captains will receive 64,225.
They will also be required to pay 25 a month in 2007 toward their health benefits and 35 monthly in 2008. This is the first time they will contribute to health benefits.
Mayor Ralph A. Infante said the only outstanding contract with city employees is for dispatchers.
Bidding for repairs
Also during the meeting, council authorized the service director to advertise for bids for roof repairs at the sewage treatment plant and emergency repairs on a storm sewer on Robbins Avenue. The estimated cost of roof repairs to the five buildings at the plant is 60,000.
Infante said the roofs are being repaired rather than replaced because the plant has only five years remaining on its life span. At that time, the plant will need replaced.
Randy Fabrizio, superintendent of water and waste water, said the repairs won't begin until the spring.
The estimated cost of repair to the collapsed storm sewer line at Robbins and Carnegie Avenue is 28,000.
Lawmakers also amended the type of animals that can be kept, thus eliminating farms within the city. Horses are now prohibited. They join such animals as cattle, sheep, mules, goats, pigs, poultry and wolves.

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