Business owner challenges curbing plan

The Hillsboro City Council, meeting in special session, addressed what was literally a last-minute concern regarding the curb-and-gutter construction that was under way in the downtown business district last Tuesday.

Todd Jost, owner of Jost Welding at 118 S. Main, and his father, Karl Jost, a former owner of the business, were present to express their dismay that APAC Kansas would be pouring a concrete curb and gutter in front of the business that day, eliminating an 8-foot-wide driveway they had been using for years.

“We were under the impression we would get a curb cut,” Karl Jost said.

A project inspector for Reiss & Goodness Engineering, the company overseeing the project on behalf of the city, admitted he had given the Josts that assurance, but only because he had misread the project plans.

But Karl Jost said he wondered why the city had not informed them earlier of this possibility.

“This is another example how city hall can throw a wrench into your business,” he said. “I am really miffed about it.”

Council members said they had been under the impression that businesses with existing driveways were to have been contacted by the city administrator with the message that those driveways would not be replaced in the renovation project.

Councilor Hiebert said his business had a driveway in front of it, but he admitted, “The only reason I knew (it would be eliminated) was because of my affiliation with the council.”

Striking a conciliatory tone, Todd Jost said it was possible he may have forgotten that he visited with the city administrator about the issue, “but it’s something I believe I would have remembered.”

He added: “I may have listened, but I would have objected. I’m objecting now.”

Todd Jost said having a front door with a driveway was “a valuable part of the diversity of my shop.”

Considering the APAC crew literally was pouring the curb and gutter in front of Jost Welding while the council was meeting, the parties agreed to first research the issue-including the engineering ramifications-with the possibility of cutting in a driveway later.

At the conclusion of the discussion, Hiebert said city staff needed to be sure that all affected businesses in the downtown area have been contacted “so we don’t have to go through this again.”

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