The Marion City Council was introduced to an ordinance at its Sept. 29 meeting, that if approved, would define for homeowners guide?lines for private use and care of street right of way.
City Administrator Roger Holter explained to council members why this ordinance is necessary and the role homeowners have in being responsible for care and maintenance.
?In recent months,? he said, ?we have had inquiries from residents requesting us to mow the right-of-way portion of their property or adjacent property rather than caring for it themselves.?
Additionally, Holter said property owners have had permanent structures built on a right-of-way that if the city needed to access it, it could create problems.
Holter explained that while some of these structures are ornamental in nature, no guidelines of what is or is not acceptable have ever been defined.
?By adoption of this ordinance,? he said, ?it is going to outline whose duty it is to maintain, and it is tied to zoning districts within our city.?
For example, agricultural lots have different requirements for mowing of access, whereas low density residential areas (intended for housing) would be required to be maintained up to the back of the curb, he said.
The proposed ordinance would also assist with tree plantings.
?We do not have a large number of problems, but we do have areas where the line of sight issues come into play because of tree or shrub plantings that over the years grow and (are not attended to),? he said.
In further explaining the ordinance, Holter said it would define what type of vegetation could be planted in the right of way.
?Again, we are not trying to deny use, but looking at the greater safety of all our citizens,? he said.
Citing some types of trees, he said low junipers could work as opposed to arbor vitae trees planted in an area where citizens could not see to make a specific curve.
?Where the problem comes in, too, is we will have trees planted in the right-of-way that are not properly cared for or pruned. Then the city has to remove them after storm damage or for other reasons,? he said.
Without the proposed ordinance, and not knowing what is or is not acceptable, Holter explained that it creates hostility and animosity between the homeowner and the city because the city removed something the homeowner planted.
?We also have our mail carriers in town. We have some rural boxes in town, and some on the house for delivery,? he said. ?This ordinance would go through to define the type of mailbox, location and physical construction that would be acceptable.?
All of this would be in compliance with national standards tied to construction.
The other area the ordinance would address, he said, would involve entrances.
?(The city) is seeing a trend occur with primary driveway entrances to a property and new corner lots particularly developing a structure wanting to place access,? he said.
?(The city) is losing the opportunity for instruction guidance on culvert system, drainage system necessary to maintain proper water flow.?
Even though Holter said he admits Marion is a town with a hill and valley are, both of those points are relatively flat and the drainage becomes a huge issue for the city.
?This proposal will define for all parties (the homeowner and the city) what is the care and maintenance and what is the extent and then we have a guideline to moving forward,? he said.
The council will consider the proposed ordinance at its next meeting.
The council, in other business:
? approved a final offer for bringing an independent baseball league to the city. The motion included additional bullpens, adding an irrigation system and redoing the infield. The only concern was with seating using whatever seating was already available.
? approved engineering fees from Wilson & Co. in the amount of $3,902.
? was introduced to the new municipal court clerk, Paula Flaming.
? reviewed and approved the 2016 Kansas Department of Transportation Airport Improvement grant request.
? discussed the need for a drainage easement in Eastmoor subdivision.
? updated the council on the new dirt and rock fill site.
? planned to meet Oct. 6 for the first vision summit discussion regarding the future direction of the city.