By Nancy Nelson, Staff Writer
During the regular meeting of Marcus City Council held Monday evening, April 11 the issue of nuisance abatement was opened and discussed in a public forum. Attorney, Chad Thompson, was present to represent, Tim Hennings, the owner of the property in question, located at 200 N. Walnut.
Thompson asked the council for a fourteen day extension for Hennings to complete the clean up of his property. Since progress was being made in compliance of the abatement notice and weather being a factor in the progress, the council approved the extension for no more than 14 days.
Hennings is currently operating a business on his property and the council questioned the type of business he is operating and whether or not the business fits into the current zoning ordinances for the R-1 zone. While Hennings argued that his business was a home office business, the council disagreed based on what legally constitutes a home office. Both Thompson and the Council will be looking into the ordinance for later discussion.
In a separate public hearing the council members heard from Glen Roder, the owner of the property located at 407 N. Walnut, Roder Gas and Oil. Although he had already complied with the abatement notice, he was seeking suggestions from the council on what measures he could take to prevent further notices.
The council was sympathetic to Roder's problem, but they reiterated that the complaints are handled by Adam Turner of SIMPCO who issues the notices based solely on how the ordinance reads without regard to who the property owner is or the type of property. Turner acts on complaints of other citizens. The city council does have some latitude on the issue based on how the property is zoned. In this case the property is zoned commercial.
Roder has his old tires picked up on a regular basis and often keeps used tires that are in good condition to resell as spares, especially the larger tractor tires. The council members offered Roder a few suggestions but were satisfied with his compliance of the abatement and could only suggest trying to keep the tire piles somewhat organized.
In other council business the donation of $800 to the city's Little League was approved, statng that the program is well organized, operated, and supported by volunteers, making it a worthwhile cause. This year they expect 204 children to participate on 21 teams with 57 coaches and assistants. The league is looking to purchasing new uniforms to cycle out old and worn ones in addition to paying for the usual expenses.
Police Chief, Jim Ebert was available to report on incidents that occurred in March. He is currently investigating a burglary that occurred at a storage unit sometime between Jan. 1 and March 22. There was no sign of forced entry and the unit was locked after being burglarized.
He also reported the execution of search warrants, which seized computers for the investigation of possible Internet child pornography activity. The Department of Criminal Investigation is currently looking at the seized items as part of the investigation.
The Marcus Police Department received its first piece of equipment as part of a Homeland Security grant. The $1,200 emergency public announcement system is the first of two pieces of equipment the city has purchased for emergencies.
The Urban Revitalization Plan was also on the agenda for discussion and approval. The plan outlines an area of downtown Marcus to be designated as a commercial area in an effort to obtain grant money to improve those properties in need. The plan is intended to encourage redevelopment and revitalization of Marcus.
The preliminary plan, offered for review, includes tax incentives for improvements made on properties that are designated as being in need of improvement. The amount of the incentive is a percentage of the difference between the current assessed value and the assessed value after improvements are made. Improvements made must increase the value of the property by at least twenty percent.
The council approved the acceptance of the preliminary plan for review and set a Thursday, May 12 Public Hearing date for those property owners affected by the Urban Revitalization Plan.
A special meeting was set for Monday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. The main subject of the meeting will be to present employee reviews and discuss salaries.