The Cherokee City Council Tuesday night approved the first readings of two ordinances, including one prohibiting overnight parking on City streets of certain vehicles, and one prohibiting storage of wood or wood piles in residential front or street side yards.
The City has been receiving more frequent complaints regarding trailers, motor homes, 5th wheel trailers, boat trailers, or utility and construction trailers on City streets, which precipitated the Council's action Tuesday.
The proposed ordinance would prohibit overnight parking for any of these vehicles or trailers on City streets, unless the Police Chief has issued a special permit of seven days or less.
The current ordinance as it exists prohibits the parking of a vehicle for more than 48 hours at a time, but is ineffective because it requires Police to mark tires or otherwise be able to prove that the vehicle remained unmoved for the defined period of time.
Passage of both ordinances requires three readings, to allow the public to respond to the proposed ordinances.
The second ordinance concerning wood stacks and wood piles would prohibit residents from storing wood in their front or side yards. A pile of unstacked wood is defined as a nuisance under current codes. City Administrator Don Eikmeier is also exploring language in the proposed ordinance that would regulate the volume of such wood stacks.
In other action, the Council unanimously approved a resolution to transfer the title of the vacated alley abutting the south side of the Cherokee County Law Enforcement Center to the County for the proposed expansion of the LEC and County Jail facilities.
The City Police Department is in the process of relocating from the LEC into the former Department of Human Services building on West Maple Street. That building has been deeded by the County to the City for the move.
That transfer of title of the vacated alley property and the City's retention of a utility easement there will be the subject of a Public Hearing at the next Council meeting.
The Council also approved a request from Tyson that the City pay for recent engineering costs incurred by Tyson for evaluation of alternatives for compliance with chloride discharge limits for the City's Industrial Water Treatment Plant portion.
Those engineering fees total $14,500 and originate from Tyson's engagement of an engineer to oversee the Department of Natural Resources revision and issuance of the City's new permits for chloride limits for the Tyson plant.
Tyson Deli Plant Manager Jerry Menke requested the costs be paid through the Industrial Wastewater Fund as they were related to the issuance of the new permit to the City.
The Industrial wastewater Fund is comprised solely of Tyson sewer revenues paid to the City, as Tyson is the sole customer of the City plant. The fund totals approximately $229,000 at this time and the $14,500 will be deducted from that account. Future expenses incurred with the Industrial Wastewater Plant that might exceed that fund balance would then require an infusion of Tyson revenues in the future.
After hearing from representatives of the new 4-H Expo Building at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds, the Cherokee County Fair Board, and Cherokee Fire Chief Gary Chase, the Council approved a waiver of the fire sprinkler requirements for the new 4-H building.
The 4-H facilities Betterment Committee has been notified by REAP and the State Fire Marshal's Office that fire codes require that any structure intended for public events that is more than 6,000 square feet must have a sprinkling system. The exhibition area of the 4-H building is 16,000 square feet, and a new sprinkling system is estimated to cost $50,000.
However, Iowa codes provide that the local zoning jurisdiction has the final authority regarding any waivers to the fire or building codes. With all parties involved agreeing that a waiver is justified, the Council approved the waiver.
The 4-H Building is to be used solely for exhibition of livestock, riding, and rodeo events, trade shows, and similar events on a part-time basis and not on a daily basis. The building has a dirt floor, metal walls and ceilings, and is lighted, but contains no furnishings or plumbing. The building has several garage door exits on all sides and will not be used for storage.
The Council also approved selling an old tractor-mounted snowblower that has not been used for several years after a business interested in purchasing the snowblower contacted the City. The City will advertise the snowblower for sale as surplus and accept sealed bids for its sale.
Eikmeier also advised the Council that a portion of the intersection of U.S. Highway 59 (north Second Street) and Cedar Street is being undermined and that the City will participate in the repair project with the State because there is City storm sewer involved.