The Ottumwa Courier


July 29, 2013

Council shoots down mayor's request to extend public input


No, Flanders said, sometimes three minutes isn't enough time for a citizen to go through the "necessary, important information."

"It comes down to the citizen's inalienable human right to redress their government," he said. "... by giving them the right to free speech, we're showing them we care about what they have to say.

"But it's obvious there is no consensus with this council for this change, so we'll move on."

The council did approve amendments to the city's nuisance ordinance, though they pulled one change that would have prohibited citizens from parking on their front lawns.

Morgan took issue with the parking ban, even though Health, Inspections and Solid Waste Director Jody Gates said exceptions could be made in instances of parties or snowy conditions.

"Some people don't have the money to put concrete, asphalt or brick in their yard [to create improved parking]," Morgan said. "I totally agree that some areas are bad and rutted up; there's an issue."

Wes Westmoreland asked that the council consider how the ordinance would affect citizens, including himself, as he maintains — but doesn't own — a vacant lot next to his house where his family parks cars because of a lack of space in their own yard.

"This would stop that," he said of the proposed ordinance change.

Homeowner and FedEx driver Brian Ballew agreed. He has to park his truck in his yard every day of the year for safety reasons, he said, and he moves it around so as not to destroy the yard or create an unsightly nuisance for his neighbors.

One reading remains before the ordinance is officially adopted.

The proposed changed ordinance can be found at

— To follow reporter Chelsea Davis on Twitter, head to


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