Cherokee's City Council Tuesday night approved the second and waived the third presentation of an amended ordinance of the City Code pertaining to open burning, rendering the new ordinance into law.
That ordinance reads in part:
Recreational Fires - Recreational burning shall be allowed for food preparation and camping purposes only. The material to be burned is limited to charcoal, commercially fabricated logs, wood, and branches. Garbage, refuse, demolition debris, leaves and grass, paper and cardboard are specifically prohibited as burning materials. All burning will take place in an acceptable burning structure designed for fire containment.
Controlled Burns - Controlled burns on agriculturally zoned property and publicly owned properties may be allowed by written permission of the Fire Chief; provided that the burn will be manned at all times and have equipment and water supplies available on site as specified in the written permission issued by the Fire Chief; and provided that no burning shall be allowed within one-quarter mile of any building inhabited by other than the landowner or tenant conducting the open burning. Whenever deemed feasible, the Fire Chief may require a Department of Natural Resources management plan prior to the controlled burn. Burns shall not be allowed on the days when dryness, humidity, wind, or other factors increase the hazards of a controlled burn to an unacceptable level.
The City admittedly has turned its head on past controlled burns for such as those done by the City in Green Space areas, those done by the Cherokee Country Club, Mental Health Institute, and owners of undeveloped land surrounding the City. Such burns must now be issued by the Fire Chief before they can take place.
The Council also approved the first presentations of amended ordinances concerning patios and decks, and minimum setback requirements for accessory structures in residential zoning districts.
Among the issues regarding patios and decks, the amended ordinance would read that they must meet setback requirements to be allowed in front, side, or rear yards.
In regards to the setback ordinance, it would stipulate that rear yard setbacks will be no less than five feet, and side yards no less than three feet. This would only apply to accessory and garage structures that are to be rebuilt on the footprint of the existing building.
The Council also approved a resolution encumbering 2008-09 appropriations for a new Police vehicle. The cost for the new vehicle ($18,960) was higher than budgeted for so the Council approved encumbering $4,500 from this year's budget to offset the higher costs in Year 2009-10 to purchase the replacement Police vehicle.
City Recreation Director Dave Ellis and Bud Clow of "The Good Times Place," a senior citizen group located in the Community Center, asked the Council to officially recognize the group to enable it to fall under the City banner and, therefore, its liability insurance for Board members.
City Administrator Don Eikmeier told Clow and Ellis that he would meet with City Attorney Wally Miller Jr., and the City insurance carrier, to hammer out a contract that would put the senior citizen group "in the envelope" of City services as a viable Parks & Recreation activity and organization. Eikmeier said they will get something in writing for recommendation for future Council action.
In other action, the Council approved a Business Incentive Grant for Creative Cutters at 102 E. Main St. for storefront improvements. The Business Incentive Committee had recommended approval of the grant for $2,400 - the maximum for the 24-foot wide storefront.
The business is eligible for the grant to assist in paying for the new store front planned. The maximum grant monies businesses are eligible for from the City and Cherokee Industrial Corporation is $100 per lineal foot of storefront, or 40-percent of the total project's cost, whichever is less.
The Council also heard a request from Cherokee Thunder for $3,000 from the newly-formed Tourism Advisory Committee to support the first annual Cherokee Thunder Tractor/Truck Pull scheduled for July 31 at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds.
Derrick Alquist, representing Cherokee Thunder, noted that the Cherokee County Fair held a tractor/truck pull as part of the Fair for many years, but quit doing so a few years ago. The Cherokee Thunder organizers want to re-establish that event in Cherokee and to date have raised $20,424 from organizers and area businesses. Budget expenses for the first-year event are projected at $25, 434, so the group is seeking $3,000 from the Tourism monies (local hotel/motel tax revenue) to cover the shortfall.
For future years' funds, Cherokee Thunder will be charging a $10 gate fee and $5 per cooler of beverages brought into the event. Those proceeds will be used to ensure that dollars are available to continue the event without needing donations.
Cherokee Thunder anticipates 2,400 in attendance for the July 31 event here.
The event is associated with Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pull and will feature four divisions - Light Super Stock Tractors, Super Farm Tractors, Diesel Super Stock Tractors, and Modified 4WD Trucks.
In his Administrator's Report, Eikmeier informed the Council of the City clean-up efforts after last week's severe thunderstorm and high winds did extensive damage to trees, power lines, and some shelters. He also advised of emergency measures to be added in the event of future damaging storms and other related emergencies.
The Council also approved purchase of a $9,500 used Chevy pick-up truck for the Water Department from Swain's Motors of Cherokee. The vehicle has 67,000 miles on it and has been budgeted for.
The Council was comprised of just three members Tuesday, with Bob Leach absent while on vacation, and Linda Burkhardt absent with a scheduling conflict. Councilmembers Jim Peck, Mick Mallory, and Greg Stieneke were present, along with Mayor Pam Pierce, who conducts the meetings.