Swire Coca-Cola

Swire Coca-Cola on Northwest Fourth Street can be seen in the heat of the day on Tuesday. The company and the city are currently in discussion regarding Northwest Seventh Street and the cost associated with the project.

Swire Coca-Cola does not want to pay for a new street, but it wants to use one for an upcoming expansion and the company is hopeful the city will foot the bill. The matter came before the Fruitland City Council on Monday evening during its regular meeting.

The proposed construction of Northwest Seventh Street has been an ongoing issue between the City of Fruitland and the beverage manufacturer as of late. In a recent email statement issued from Swire, the company said it does not want to be responsible for funding the project.

City Council members said a grant would be needed if the city were to take on the project because without a federal grant, the city could not afford it. City Clerk Rick Watkins said the new street, Northwest Seventh Street, is located on Swire property, so an agreement between both entities is essential to move forward with the project. According to Watkins, with a new expansion, Swire wishes to keep employee and truck traffic limited to Seventh Street.

If no agreement is reached, however, the manufacturer said that it would seek a possible private entrance to their facility.

“What’s needed for the grant?” asked City Councilman Stuart Grimes.

Howell indicated that if the grant proposal was a joint venture between the city and a business that the business needed to get the necessary information to the city grant writer in time to submit by the deadline.

The council agrees that if this proposal is to move forward, there must be a signed agreement between the city and Swire.

City Engineer Bill Russell made a statement indicating that funding will be the critical issue for this project.

In another topic brought forward at Monday’s meeting, a Fruitland resident who received a temporary hardship permit to use an RV near his residence for elderly family members will now need to move that recreational vehicle.

A request to revoke Justin Sargent’s temporary permit was brought before the City Council. Watkins told everyone in attendance that he had just driven by Sargent’s residence and reports that “the RV is still parked there. He’s not there.”

“He doesn’t want to talk to anybody,” said Mayor Brian Howell in reference to Sargent’s absence from the meeting.

The hardship was originally granted by the city of Fruitland in 2014 to allow a secondary residence for the purpose of allowing Sargent to be able to take care of eldery family members. Watkins said that the eldery residents have since moved, so the purpose of having this hardship is being reviewed as a result.

How long does an individual have to come into compliance once a hardship is revoked?

Watkins said that if a hardship is revoked, the unit in question must be removed immediately. The City Council will then schedule a time for removal at its next meeting, at which time the property owner will have the opportunity to explain why the hardship should not be revoked. Any actions to appeal beyond that will have to be done in city court.

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