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Council passes backyard parking, sanitary sewer project resolutions

November 27, 2012
By DAVID ALEXANDER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Land use was the topic of much of the city council meeting Monday night.

Two resolutions, one approving the city proceeding with the sanitary sewer project and another ordinance change placing restrictions on backyard parking, came before the council.

Patterson Lane residents spoke to the council about the Iowa River Interceptor project, saying that the size of construction zones seemed unreasonable.

Kim and Matt Schryver said part of the reason they moved to the area was because of the scenic ambiance it provides. If the city allows construction crews to tear up existing trees as part of the easement, it will negatively affect both the aesthetic of the area and the ecology.

"We do enjoy the outside in large part because of those woods," Kim said.

She asked that the council consider issues of soil erosion and the accumulation of invasive species before moving forward with installing the overflow pipe.

Her husband Matt said although the letter Fox Engineering sent property owners stipulates that the area will be returned to its "original" state, the original state of their property is a state with many trees.

Fox Engineering will not replant trees it removes unless required to do so by the U.S. Corp. of Engineers.

Neighbor Russell Watt agreed that the 150 feet on either side of the existing pipe the company plans to use for construction seemed excessive.

However, Scott Renaud, an engineer with Fox Engineering, assured the residents that the company would work with them as much as possible to limit how many trees the company tears out. After all, he said, they don't want to tear up trees.

"Big trees are expensive to remove," he said.

Renaud agreed to look at City Attorney Curt Ward's suggestion to use some adjacent property owned by the city for storing dirt and piping. Although it may add cost to the project, Ward said, it might be worth it to protect those resident's property values.

After much heated debate, many amendments, being tabled and several readings, the council finally adopted an ordinance limiting back and side yard parking.

The council passed the resolution by a 5-2 vote. The ordinance limits such parking to two vehicles beyond the garage. Those vehicles must be parked on an appropriate surface - asphalt, concrete or gravel - and that surface must have a driving way leading to it to prevent rutting.

Council members Al Hoop, fourth ward, and Bob Schubert, first ward, voted against the ordinance change, as they have at every turn.

"We are picking on a certain segment of this community," Schubert said. "And it's wrong."

Also on the agenda were resolutions to require anyone transporting a load to the landfill cover that load and another transferring property on Quarry Road to Alliant to move forward with the building of its gas-fire electric plant. Both resolutions passed unanimously.



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