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City ordinance resolutions require additional study

Friday, November 12, 2010

Council OKs cage fighting event in Community Center

The Cherokee City Council Tuesday night tabled two proposed resolutions amending City ordinances to give the measures more study as more details and questioned emerged since the resolutions were first proposed at the last Council meeting.

The Council approved the first readings of the two resolutions at the last meeting but tabled the measures for further study by a special committee Tuesday night. Once that task is completed, the Council will then proceed with the second and third readings, all readings designed to allow for possible citizen input in the process.

The resolutions will be voted on at the next Council meeting Nov. 23.

One resolution concerns prohibiting overnight parking on City streets of large vehicles such as motor homes, 5th wheel trailers, travel trailers, boats, and utility and construction trailers. The second resolution would prohibit storage of wood or woodpiles in residential front yards and street side yards.

Mayor Mark Murphy told the Council that the City needs to make the ordinance resolutions more detailed because they're too broad as proposed. City Administrator Don Eikmeier will lead the study.

The current parking ordinance calls for such vehicles to be moved every 72 hours, but abuse of that ordinance is commonplace, with some residents simply driving the vehicle around the block and "moving" it a few feet at most. Enforcement of the existing ordinance is also cumbersome for a limited Police force with more important duties to perform.

In other action, the Council approved on a close 3-2 vote to allow a mixed martial arts (MMA) cage fighting event in the Cherokee Community Center.

Rick Tasler, owner of Brutaal Genesis which operates the cage fights, is a full-time Police officer with the City of Boone, a former prep and college wrestler, and a now retired MMC fighter. Brutaal Genesis has staged three such events at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds in the past and comes highly recommended by the Cherokee County Fair Board, several Cherokee businesses and Police Chief Steve Schuck.

Tasler said he wants to stage another successful event in Cherokee but the Fair building used is not heated, so he was requesting the Community Center for the proposed Dec. 17 event. The events at the Fairgrounds have attracted 300-400 fans and feature some local fighters.

Tasler said the December event is to be run in conjunction with the Cherokee VFW Club, whose liquor license will be used at the Community Center. The VFW will close during the event and re-open for the "After Party," a staple of the MMA world.

Brutaal Genesis Iowa carries a #1 million liability insurance policy and $50,000 insurance on all participants. It supplies its own doctors and has a spotless reputation in the MMA industry.

The Council voted 3-2 to allow the event in the Community Center's lower level, with Linda Burkhart, Wayne Pingel, and Dan Morrow voting yes, and Mick Mallory and Jim Peck voting no.

The Council denied a request from property owners Dave Kintigh and Jason Dewitt to purchase vacant lots adjoining their properties in the Doherty Addition.

Kintigh was seeking a 4-foot variance from the Board of Adjustment to allow him to add a third stall on his existing two-stall garage. The City ordinance calls for a 10-foot side yard minimum between properties and Kintigh's request would have shrunk that to 6-feet.

Kintigh and DeWitt were also interested in perhaps purchasing the entire vacant lots in question, but the existing covenant stipulates that residents can purchase one or two lots in the addition, and not three.

The Council automatically denied the requests after Murphy asked for a motion and no motion was made to allow it.

The City is in the process of razing several dilapidated houses and structures in Cherokee as part of the effort to rid the community of such blighted sites. The affected property owners have ignored repeated requests from the City to clean up the properties. Tuesday, the Council approved five more such structures to be razed. Photo by Mike Leckband
The Council also approved condemnation and future demolition of five more dilapidated houses, including those at 211 S. 6th St., 313 S. 6th St., 407 S. 6th St., 222 E. Willow St., and 228 E. Willow St.

The owners of the structures have been repeatedly notified through the years and the City has received no response, thereby forcing the condemnation process.

The houses will either be torn down or sold in the future, with the lots put up for sale if the structure is demolished. The City is currently in the process of razing similar structures, and has razed others in the recent past.

The structure at 407 S. 6th will probably be a future burn exercise for the Cherokee Fire & Rescue, according to Eikmeier.

In other action, the Council approved a resolution vacating a partial dead-end alley south of the Law Enforcement Center, to allow for future expansion of the LEC and County Jail facility.

The City Police Department is relocating from the LEC to the former DHS building on West Maple Street as part of that County Jail/Sheriff's Department expansion project.

The Council also approved a resolution authorizing street light installation on Linden Street.

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