Aldermen discuss parking issue, revisit leaf burning

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Concordia Board of Aldermen revisited several issues from past meetings when they met in regular session Monday night.

City Administrator Dale Klussman began the meeting with an update to alter the street side parking along Seventh Street by City Hall. The intersection of Seventh and Main streets had been a problem for local farmers who had difficulty maneuvering in the area when it was filled with parked cars.

Klussman said since the matter was discussed earlier this month, city staff had painted the curbs from the corner back 20 feet yellow, indicating that parking was prohibited there. This preliminary measure has proven successful, he said, and for the most part people are not parking in the area.

"I haven't seen any trucks have trouble making the turn," Klussman said.

A possible plan to add "No Parking" signs next to the curb was set aside. Klussman said the yellow curb is having the desired effect and adding sign-age would narrow the available space on the sidewalk.

Moving on, Klussman informed the board that he had received a request from Patty Dionne to have a ban on leaf burning considered again by the city.

Dionne had proposed a similar ban last fall, citing health concerns from the smoke the burning produces.

The board had seriously considered the ban then, going so far as to draft an ordinance making the burning a crime punishable with a fine up to $500 and a sentence of up to 90 days in jail.

Residents of Concordia were overwhelmingly opposed to the measure, however. The city received a letter signed by 32 residents denouncing the proposed ban and a show of hands vote the night of the meeting at which the ordinance was presented showed every resident in attendance was opposed.

Klussman said that while there appears to be an abundance of falling leaves this fall, the city is seeing an increase in the use of its collection facility and City Clerk Nancy Holsten said there has also been an increase in sales of the "bio-bags" which residents can use to have the city's waste contractor haul the leaves away.

The net result is less leaf burning overall. However, burning is still occurring in Dionne's neighborhood.

Remembering the sentiment of the public last year, the aldermen were reluctant to draft a new ordinance and discussed alternative solutions. It was generally agreed that open communication between the neighbors was the best solution.

However, Concordia Police Chief Dan Lucas noted that if an amicable solution cannot be reached, those bothered by the smoke could file a complaint under the city's nuisance ordinance. He said the smoke would fall into the category of obnoxious odor.

If a complaint were filed, police would respond and try to mediate a solution between the parties.

This could include asking the person burning the leaves to put out the fire until a time when winds would not carry the smoke toward the person making the complaint.

In other business, the board accepted the resignation of Nancy Wilson from the city's water department and approved the hiring of Chris Opfer at the water treatment plant.

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