Lakewood is weighing whether or not to hold a special election to fill the seat of late Councilman Larry Van Nostran, who died on Nov. 9, 2012.
Lakewood is weighing whether or not to hold a special election to fill the seat of late Councilman Larry Van Nostran, who died on Nov. 9, 2012. (Jeff Gritchen / Staff Photographer)

LAKEWOOD - If the City Council decides to hold a special election to fill the seat left open following Councilman Larry Van Nostran's death, it could cost $100,000, an official said.

Van Nostran - who served 37 years on the council, the longest in city history - died Friday night at his home following a progressive lung disorder. Van Nostran, who was in his 10th council term, was released from the hospital a week before his death after doctors diagnosed his condition as incurable. He was 79, said Lakewood spokesman Bill Grady.

The council must decide within 60 days of the vacancy whether to appoint someone or hold a special election to fill the seat for the remainder of the term. Van Nostran's term ends in March 2015.

If officials opt for a special election, state law requires it be held on the next election date, as long as it is 115 or more days from the date the special election is scheduled. The March 5, 2013, election date is already less than 100 days away.

The next option is June 4, 2013.

If the council decides to hold a special election on that date, it would cost from $80,000 to $100,000, said Lakewood City Clerk Denise Hayward.

The council will consider these options at an upcoming meeting, Grady said.

In Lakewood's 58-year history, council vacancies due to death have happened twice: Angelo M. Iacoboni, 48, died of a heart attack in 1964, and George Nye Jr., 51, died of a brain aneurysm in 1971.


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In both cases, the council appointed someone to the remainder of the term, Grady said.

An Ohio native, Van Nostran moved to Lakewood in 1958, four years after the city was incorporated. He was active in Lakewood civic life for more than 50 years, including membership in the Elks Club, Jaycees, Kiwanis Club, Lakewood Pan American Association, and Masonic Lodge & Scottish Rite.

Van Nostran began his service in Lakewood in 1971 as a member of the Traffic and Safety Commission and was first elected to the council in 1975.

Van Nostran ran unopposed in 1999 - a first in the city's history - and served nine terms as mayor. His last term as mayor was 2011-2012.

In 1981, he founded the Lakewood Youth Sports Hall of Fame. It honors Lakewood youth and helps promote a vigorous sports and recreational culture in the city. It was nationally recognized by Sports Illustrated magazine when Lakewood was named Sportstown USA in 2004.

phillip.zonkel@presstelegram.com, 562-714-2098, twitter.com/zonkelpt