Batavia City Council will not revisit arch vote

Published: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 5:47 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Discussion of revisiting the vote for a proposed arch in downtown Batavia halted Monday night after the Batavia City Council voted against suspending Robert’s Rules of Order to talk about the contract, which has been partially executed.

After a protest of the arch earlier this month, Batavia 3rd Ward Alderman Dan Chanzit asked council members whether they would reconsider the arch contract, which opponents have said is too expensive and poorly designed.

“This is a chance to show the community that we are listening to them,” Chanzit said. “Based on some of this outcry, I think it makes sense to review this contract.”

The arch is estimated to cost between $112,000 and $117,000, and would be constructed at the corner of River and Wilson streets in downtown Batavia. Some residents protested the arch earlier this month because they thought it was too expensive.

The arch, planned as part of the North River Street streetscape project, originally was expected to cost $50,000. As part of the project, North River Street has been transformed into a curbless street in which pedestrians have priority over cars.

Batavia City Attorney Kevin Drendel said a matter that already has been voted on and partially executed cannot be revisited unless Robert’s Rules of Order have been suspended. In answering questions from other council members, Drendel said there would be some cost to the city to get out of the contract, which requires a quick construction pace.

Batavia 2nd Ward Alderman Alan Wolff said suspending Robert’s Rules of Order to revisit a vote would create a slippery slope. He said the council has faced some “extremely big issues” in the time he’s been on the council, but said council members have never backed off of a final vote.

“This plan has been out there at least two years,” Wolff said. “I’m sorry that some people have not paid attention to what is going on in their city government. … Coming in at the last second to try to stop it I think is the worst possible thing we could do.”