The Ottumwa Courier


September 3, 2013

Council tries to balance trees, street work


That's the option the city wound up accepting, with the council voting unanimously. Seals cautioned that if the city decides to expand the street at any point in the future, it will require removal of trees along the roadway.

The council also adopted a new nuisance ordinance, an effort officials say has been in the works for more than a decade. Some of the issues in the ordinance, such as prohibitions on the slaughter of animals in residential areas, aren't likely to offend people.

Other section will have very real impacts. Yard sales and garage sales, along with flea markets, are limited to no more than five consecutive days and may be held no more frequently than twice per year. Even sales that comply with those restrictions could be designated nuisances if they fail to control windblown items.

Residential composting appears in the new ordinance as well. Yard waste, straw, fruit and vegetable scrap, eggshells (but not whole eggs) and coffee grounds can be composted. But compost cannot attract insects or create “foul odors.”

The city also edged closer to deciding questions about Dennis Renfrew's future on the ballot for city council. Renfrew submitted enough signatures to appear as a candidate in the council primary, but City Clerk Amanda Valent has said some of the signatures came from outside city limits. That's an apparent violation of petition requirements laid out in state law.

Flanders said the procedure involves creation of a board to review the issue. The board includes the mayor and city clerk, but also requires one council member.

Councilman Brian Morgan volunteered.

“I know Mr. Renfrew, but I don't know him well enough that it would influence my decision,” he said.

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