Marion to interview five candidates for new eco-devo position

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
On Tuesday and Wednesday evenings this week, a select committee was scheduled to interview the final five candidates for city economic director, City Administrator David Mayfield reported to the Marion City Commission Monday.

Mayfield said a sixth candidate had withdrawn from the process.

Mayor Martin Tice asked the commissioners to take one more week to study an inquiry from the county on how city interests should be protected under new county planning that may result in rezoning.

He noted that a former county plan that gave cities a three-mile zone of urban influence outside the city boundaries no longer applies.

Tice said the county changes may apply more to the smaller cities in the county because the larger ones-Marion, Hillsboro and Peabody-already have declared zones of urban influence defined.

Marion’s zone extends to Marion County Lake, he said.

He expected the county plan to be of special interest to the City of Florence, which sometimes is included as one of the four larger cities in the county, but which, in this case, joins the smaller cities without a defined zone.

Tice said one purpose of the county and city planning both is to ensure that a “landlock” doesn’t develop that could keep a city from adding new subdivisions. Unsupervised suburban development could do this if there was no organized plan to follow, he said.

Mayfield noted that a need could develop for planning sewer lines and ponds.

Commissioner Jim Crofoot asked if the county has any power to deal with hazardous or nuisance properties.

Commissioner Max Hayen answered that the county basically has no such authority, and that agricultural lands are unregulated in that regard.

The Kansas Department of Transportation will be studying whether to leave or remove the only stoplight the city has after the city reported many complaints on the irregular timing of the light.

Mayfield said the light functioned well during inspection of it, but a city electrician has changed the wiring to it anyway in case of a problem.

Another reason for irregularities could be malfunctioning of press switches under the pavement, which could be expensive to repair or replace.

Mayfield proposed having the light flash all the time, but KDOT turned down the idea, he said, because it wouldn’t work as well as a pedestrian crossing.

The commissioners delayed consideration of an ordinance for tax abatement for Mid-America Marble until next week.

Building Inspector Marty Fredrickson said he has responded to a public petition of Sept. 20 to look at a house at 110 S. Lincoln, and has determined it is in a state of deterioration with its last occupancy in September 2002.

Fredrickson said the floor and ceiling of the home are damaged, and the plumbing has been torn out. In a visit with the owners of the property, he said it is their intention to “gut” the house, and then have it demolished.

The commissioners asked that City Attorney Dan Baldwin draw up a resolution for condemnation of the property along with a time for public hearing of the matter to make sure the house is removed.

The commissioners approved an ordinance for vacating a north-south alley in Beebe’s Addition. Fredrickson said neighbors to the alley have no objection to vacating it, and there are no utility lines in it.

He said the addition was laid out in the 1880s with both north-south and east-west alleys that often aren’t needed. He said they must have been created to guarantee access to some properties.

Fredrickson said cleanup week in the city resulted in collection of 9.37 tons of commercial and demolition waste, 4.3 tons of white goods, and 32 tons of municipal solid waste. He felt there was an excess of tree limbs and yard waste.

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