The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

April 10, 2013

Negating nuisances


"This is primarily how we handle the majority of our complaints now. It's not that staff are driving by and noticing something. Most are resident-generated complaints to the department. Then if we get in the neighborhood and see a lot of other problems, then staff will take down addresses."

Nuisances have changed over the years, she said.

"I don't remember having the issue of refrigerated trucks parked in front of houses running all night," Gates said. "And I don't remember there being a lot of electric fences being used in town. I don't remember the tarp stuff, either. It's almost like hoarding. They've got so much stuff that it pushes its way out of the house onto the front porch or in the yard. I've never seen anything quite as amazing as that, where it's just piled up, and that's how people handle it."

The council wasn't opposed to the ordinance change, but they did ask for clarification on a number of items, including allowing parking in yards for special events, flexibility on allowing bathtubs as planters in front yards and setting limitations on banning the use of electric fences. Morgan had concerns that the ordinance could intrude on a person's right to use their private property as they please.

"They want to balance individual needs and rights with the codes we're going to be adopting," Gates said. "I understand that, but I also know what our people see out there in the field."

Through tweaking the ordinance, Gates hopes to clarify exactly what is and is not prohibited.

"I was hoping we would get real specific and detailed for residents' sake as well as our inspector, so people can see in black and white — that's prohibited, you're not supposed to do that. And if it's not in that list, then it's likely not prohibited," Gates said.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0731 OTT Aviation plane -T -M Flying free OTTUMWA — The financial obstacle may have been removed if your career goal starts with learning to fly. "We have it set up for three terms, about nine months," said pilot and chief flight instructor Darren Graham at Indian Hills Community College. "

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supervisors discuss pipeline potential KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisors received preliminary, general information on a new pipeline being proposed to carry oil from North Dakota through Iowa, including Van Buren County, then crossing into Illinois. The proposed Bakken Pipeline wou

    July 30, 2014

  • Fairfield stabbing suspects' trials separated FAIRFIELD — The three people accused of dragging a man into a Fairfield apartment before robbing and stabbing him have had a judge grant their requests to separate their trials. Dawn Dunn, Dustin Roll and Brett Hedblade are each charged with willful

    July 30, 2014

  • Local business donates grain rescue tube KEOSAUQUA — Stockport Elevator, owned by Roquette America, donated a grain rescue tube to Birmingham and Stockport Fire Departments. A training session was conducted Monday, led by Dale Ekdahl, a representative of Outstate Data, LLC, the device’s man

    July 30, 2014

  • Where do my taxes go? OTTUMWA — Wapello County Board certified its tax levy. But what does that mean? Based on budgets submitted by various levying authors, the Wapello County Auditor prepares and certifies the levy rates for the county. Budgets for each levy are based on

    July 30, 2014

  • OCSD releases elementary supplies list

    OTTUMWA — For years, parents of the students in Ottumwa's elementary schools have had to check to make sure the school supplies list they grabbed was the right one for their school. No more.

    July 30, 2014

  • Reducing runoff at the local level AGENCY — Pollution isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you look out at a field of Iowa corn or soybeans, but there’s growing concern about what manages to get out of the fields and into the water. The same nutrients that benefit the crops c

    July 30, 2014

  • Supervisors wrestle with staffing woes KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisor Chairman Bob Waugh says he wants county supervisors to help alleviate staffing problems within the county treasurer’s office. In May, supervisors opted not to replace a vacancy within the treasurer’s office. Va

    July 30, 2014

  • 0730 OTT Better Buildings -T -M Wildwood could be your home OTTUMWA — There was always one child per class who just adored school. If they went to Wildwood, they may soon be able to move in permanently. The Ottumwa board of education met Monday, where staff told them where the district stood as far as "facili

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • A changing roster -- for school board OTTUMWA — If the last time you saw your board of education was before Christmastime, the current school board might surprise you. Two members retired from the board: longtime educator Ron Oswalt stepped down, as did board president Carol Mitchell. Bo

    July 29, 2014

Photo reprints