Council is upholding ordinances

By Marcie Klomp

After being questioned about following its ordinance book, Lime Springs City Council will be upholding the city laws, until a new ordinance book is rewritten and approved.

A few of those ordinances were addressed at the Aug. 7 monthly meeting.

Mayor Barb Robinson explained the book currently being used was written in 1996 when Jean Lyon was clerk. Walter McIntosh was mayor, and council members included Charlene Gates, Shaughnessy McNamara, Roger Lepa, Gary Weyers and Debra Smith.

She said, “This book is archaic and I’m tired of looking stuff up.” Every time an issue arises, it has to be researched to make sure the ordinance or that portion of the ordinance is still legal and following all of the codes. The Ordinance Book is supposed to be recodified every five years.

Upper Explorerland can recodify and give five to six books plus an electronic copy for $2,500-$3,000. City Clerk Carla Moser added, “[With the electronic copy] you can go in and change it if the ordinance is changed.”

It may take six months to a year to get it in place, and in the meantime, the ordinances stand as printed.

To update or change an ordinance costs money. It has to be rewritten, checked by the City Attorney, approved three times by council and printed in the paper after it is approved.

Recreational Fires:

Robinson read the Lime Springs City Ordinance 49.04.5. She also read the state code and National Fire Protection Association code and the International Fire Code.

The city has to follow both codes and can put even more restrictions on the laws. The way it is written for Lime Springs, a fire cannot be within 50 feet of a structure.

Robinson stated, “By legal definition, a structure is anything built by man or woman” and includes fences, sheds, garages and houses. “Any type of structure,” she noted.

The mayor said, “Up until we recodify, I recommend the council enforce this ordinance. I recommend it stands as is—50 feet from any structure in any direction.”

She went on to say Ordinance 63.08 also prohibits burning of any trash, leaves, rubbish or any other combustible material on any curb and gutter or on any paved street, surfaced street or alley. And Ordinance 64.15 prohibits a fire of any kind on any sidewalk or to place or allow any fuel to remain on any sidewalk.

Council person Corey Gates commented, “I think it’s a smart idea until we recodify.”

Heidi Trouten, who brought up the recreational burning issue at two prior meetings said, “I didn’t mean for this to happen . . . no burning leaves. That was not my intent.”

The motion to follow the ordinance book was approved by all council members.

Building permits:

The city clerk received several complaints asking if a building permit had been granted for a deck on the Russ Theis home and a sidewalk at the Trouten property.

Chapter 77.02 states, Permit Required. No building or other structure, including satellite dishes shall be erected, altered, repaired used or occupied within the City without first received a permit therefor.

Chapter 77.12 states, Penalty Fee. Where work for which a permit is required by this chapter is started without obtaining a permit, the fee specified for such permit shall be doubled . . .

Theis asked if the company working on the school asked for a permit. He was told it did. He then asked for copies of permits for the last two months. He was told those are public information and he could get them in a couple days [after Sweet Corn Days].

Three council members have been on a building committee, Kevin Bill, Corey Gates and Gary Klomp, which looks over the permit and brings their recommendation to council.

According to the ordinance, the Director of Public Works, Casey Sebastian, is to approve building permits. He will be in charge of that in the future.

After learning a building permit was needed for even minor repairs, such as putting in a new door or windows or replacing a sidewalk, council agreed to start adhering to the policy right after the meeting, Aug. 8, 2012.

In the past these updates have not been enforced, but the council must enforce or try to enforce the ordinances on file, it cannot “pick and choose” what ordinances it wants to uphold. There are situations, due to an ordinance being written without the ability to be enforced, that the Council may have to say, “We cannot enforce this part of an ordinance due to how it is written, and it will be rewritten during recodification.”

Anyone questioning whether a permit is needed or not is encouraged to contact City Hall.

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