Settlement expected in suit against City of Marion

A settlement appears likely in the lawsuit of rural residents against the City of Marion to prevent establishment of a regional landfill, City Attorney Dan Baldwin said Monday.

The Marion City Commission, at its regular weekly meeting, following an executive session with Baldwin, authorized him to sign a settlement with the group termed “Groening and Others” provided docu- ments presented to them come back without change.

Baldwin said further discussion of the settlement won’t be forthcoming until the settlement is signed.

The lawsuit was filed following negotiations last year between the city and Waste Connections, Inc., that might have established a regional landfill at the Martin Marietta Rock Quarry northeast of Marion on land owned by the Rocky Hett family.

In other action, the city commissioners approved 3-0 a resolution charging the property owner of 401 N. 4th St., two lots with a mobile home, with a choice whether to appear in hearing Oct. 1 or after to show cause why the structure shouldn’t be condemned, repaired or demolished.

Kermit Dirksen, building health and safety officer, said 12 persons had signed a petition asking the city to take action under an ordinance that allows a minimum of five residents to request action when a structure is “dangerous, unsafe or unfit for human habitation.”

Mayor Eloise Mueller, Police Chief David Mayfield and Baldwin served as a task force to develop new language in three other ordinances dealing with trash and junk, junk vehicles and dogs at large to streamline action, strengthen enforcement, and increase fines.

Baldwin said rewording the ordinances didn’t change them much, but made it possible to communicate with property owners better instead of a letter notifying them of possible action being the first time they hear of it.

Commissioners approved the new wording and fines 3-0.

Marty Fredrickson, street superintendent, reported that new signs listing curfews and alcoholic beverage restrictions have been posted in city parks and at the ball fields.

Kevin Fruechting, president of Central National Bank, and Chris Costello, president of Tampa State Bank, represented the Chamber of Commerce before the commission to say they had taken note of recent publication of city prohibition of open alcoholic beverage containers or alcohol consumption of private parking lots with public access.

They were concerned that it might restrict a regular “business after hours” Chamber event that allows business people to know each other better, typically lasting 5 to 7 p.m.

Costello said when the event was held on the lot at his bank, barriers were placed at the driveway entrances restricting public entry. The next event, they said, is to be on the lot between Central National Bank and the Marion County Record, both of which are sponsors along with Bill Harmon, Farm Credit Services officer.

Commissioners Larry Reiswig and Jim Crofoot said they would rather have an ordinance requiring a city permit at each event to enhance city controls rather than just restricting access. Baldwin went to his office to write such an ordinance during the meeting, and upon his return, the commissioners approved it 3-0.

City Manager Dennis Nichols reported he had received a program outline called “Hands and Words” from recent Marion graduate Meredith Moore with a sample proclamation supporting the program from Salem, Ore., that enables schools and public organizations to act on it.

He said the program is designed to act against such problems as drug abuse, physical abuse and verbal abuse, and suggested the commissioners take a look at acting on it next week.

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