Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

July 19, 2013

Properties, chicken ordinance, Marion County LEPC lead discussion

By Bethany Yocum Journal-Express
The Journal Express

---- — In other discussions at the July 15 Knoxville City Council meeting, the Council had discussions about city properties, a potential ordinance allowing chickens within the city limits and the beginning of the Marion County LEPC (local emergency planning committee).

The City Council spoke briefly with Andy Burk of Snyder and Associates Inc., about the residential development analysis the company did. Snyder and Associates Inc. analyzed 14 properties in Knoxville for potential residential development. Burk says the criteria they used to analyze the usability of the properties were slope of site, total buildable area, connectivity to existing streets and availability of connection to sewer and water main. The Council has been given graphs and matrices breaking down the analysis of the sites, and will discuss the sites’ development at a later time.

Also resolved at the meeting was the Council’s decision to sell Kathy Caviness with Sundance Realty the easement on the property at 110 E. Robinson. Caviness also said she would like the first right of refusal on the property, meaning that if someone were to make an offer on the property, Caviness would have a time period in which she could offer the same amount for the property and would be able to obtain it. Typically, the first right of refusal is at a cost.

In other property discussions, the City Council approved the site plans for commercial construction at two properties. A public hearing was also set for August 5 at 6:15 p.m. to discuss the rezoning of 206 W. Pearl Street.

Assistant City Manager Dylan Feik presented the Council with a draft of a city ordinance allowing chickens within the city limits and asked them for feedback. He based some parts of the ordinance on what other cities who allow chickens typically allow; the current draft would disallow roosters and limit the number of hens to three, on average. Council member Elsie Kemp says something she found when researching chicken ordinances online is that many towns require chicken feed to be stored in rat-proof containers. She also asserted that the allowance of chickens within the Knoxville city limits could also be on a one-year trial basis to allow for future ordinance change if something doesn’t work out.

Feik plans to revise the draft, at which time he will share the ordinance with individuals interested in having chickens in Knoxville and present it to the planning/zoning commission before the ordinance goes to Council.

The Council made a small adjustment to the salaries to two city employees. The two salaries were of individuals no longer union-eligible, so their longevity pay has been converted into the salaries, allowing the individuals to still receive the same amount of pay.

During his report, fire chief Nick Bonstell said last Thursday, the first meeting of the Marion County LEPC was held, something Bonstell cites as a “big success.” Bonstell says about eight or nine major Marion County manufacturers attended the meeting, including Vermeer and 3M. The purpose of the LEPC is to connect first responders for emergencies with industries to make emergency response for the companies more effective. Bonstell cites the group as a way for the emergency responders to be more immediately aware of what kinds of emergencies may take place with individual companies so that everyone can be helped more efficiently during emergencies.

City Manager Harold Stewart says that although Bonstell has only been the fire chief in Knoxville for a short time, he has taken a lot of initiative with projects like this that are quickly earning the respect of the community. Bonstell will serve as the chair of the Marion County LEPC for the first two years, and his co-chair is Alan Born from 3M.