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Council OK’s comp plan, code readings

November 13, 2012
By DAVID ALEXANDER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

The Marshalltown City Council discussed several elements of the city code Monday night at its weekly meeting.

The council unanimously passed the 2030 comprehensive plan, which the state requires each city to have. The plan has been in the works for several years and will act as a road map for the redrafting the city ordinance in the future as well as providing guidelines for the land use.

"It's been a long time coming," said Stephen Troskey, city planner. "I am certainly proud of it, and I hope you are too."

Article Photos

Bethany Wirin, at-large council member, expresses why she believes the ordinance change for back yard parking is necessary Monday evening at the Marshalltown City Council meeting. The council approved the second reading along with an amendment that increased the number of allowed vehicles from two to four.

The plan is now up on the city's website.

A resolution on backyard parking that had to restart its approval process for council consideration saw its second reading after the substantial changes to the original language proposed caused the council to revisit the topic, requiring three more readings.

Michelle Spohnheimer, housing and community development director, said the ordinance change would limit parking to a hard surface and would stipulate the amount of vehicles permitted regardless of how much of a property contains hard surface.

However, Curt Ward, city attorney, reminded people that the ordinance still mandates that citizens have a driveway.

"You can't just have an island of hard surface out in the back yard with ruts leading to and from it," he said.

The ordinance does not distinguish between renters and owners only between single-family and multi-family properties, Spohnheimer said.

Bethany Wirin, at-large council member, said she understands people wanting the city to handle each situation on a case-by-case basis.

"It sounds nice, but it doesn't work," she said.

A concrete standard of enforcement is necessary as a baseline, she said.

Bob Schubert, first-ward council member, proposed an amendment specifying that the change allow four vehicles instead of two. That amendment and the second reading passed.

Marla Grabenbauer, third-ward council member, proposed waving the third reading. The council defeated that motion 5-2.

Also on the agenda was an ordinance change proposed by Al Hoop, fourth-ward council member, which would mandate anyone hauling a load to the landfill cover that load.

"If anyone has to cover their load, everyone has to cover their load," Ward said.

The resolution's second reading passed unanimously.

Finally, the council considered a resolution to install stops signs at the intersection of Sixth Street and West Merle Hibbs Boulevard after a group of concerned citizens approached the council at its Committee of the Whole meeting last week and Lynn Couch, public works director, agreed that a stop sign there would prove beneficial.

Couch said a study of the crash history at that intersection over the past decade shows that seven of the 14 collisions there were preventable.

Although he did not dispute the need for a sign at that intersection, Leon Lamer, at-large council member, made a motion to table the resolution until the Public Works Department has completed a speed survey. That motion passed unanimously.



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