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Backyard parking back to first reading, waste water rates amended

October 23, 2012
By DAVID ALEXANDER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

The Marshalltown City Council continues to work toward a resolution on the backyard parking issue.

After the council criticized changes to the proposed ordinance last week - mainly because of the return of mandates on what percent of a property owner's lot may contain hard surfaces for parking - the ordinance returned to the council for approval Monday.

Although the ordinance was set for its third and final reading, an amendment put forth by Leon Lamer, at-large council member, caused Joel Greer, second-ward council member, to move that the council consider Monday's reading be the first reading since the ordinance had undergone significant change since its inception.

Bethany Wirin, at-large council member, added to the amendment, saying that it should not take effect until Sept. 30, 2013.

"It can take people a whole lot of time to gather enough resources to put down pavement," she said.

Greer said he would like to finally put the issue to rest, but, considering the proposed changes will not go into effect for some time, he felt the public should have time to weigh in.

Lamer's amendment stipulated that there be no restrictions be placed on the amount of hard surface a property owner may have. Furthermore, he moved that residents may only park two vehicles - including trailers and boats - in the backyard, and those vehicles must be on a hard surface.

The vote on the amendment passed 5-2, with council members Al Hoop, fourth ward, and Bob Schubert, first ward, voting "no," maintaining their steadfast opposition of the ordinance change.

As with previous meetings on the topic, several members of the public turned out to show their opposition to the changes.

Automatically adjusting waste water sewer rates were another point of contention.

Following the council's Committee of the Whole meeting Oct. 15 where Stantec Consulting presented a service plan to re-adjust wastewater service rates over the next five years, the first reading of a resolution to approve rate adjustment was placed on the agenda.

The rate adjustments increase the cost of service by 18 percent each year for the next three years. Then, the rates are scheduled to increase automatically.

Bob Wenner, at-large council member, made a motion to amend the resolution to allow the council to review any increases.

"I hate automatic adjustment without review," he said. "I can't see the citizens wanting us to do something automatic without having whoever is up here review it."

The vote on the amendment carried by a 4-3 vote with council members Wirin, Greer and Hoop voting "no."

The council passed first reading of that resolution by a unanimous vote.



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