City Code of Ordinances amended, finally approved

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     While the public notice and published information in the Monticello Express stated that a public information meeting was to be held during the Aug. 17 Monticello City Council meeting concerning the Sixth Street Ditch Project, the meeting was postponed.

     With several Sixth Street Ditch residents in attendance, City Administrator Doug Herman explained the public information meeting would now be held on Tuesday, Sept. 8, at the next regular council meeting at 6 p.m. (Monday, Sept. 7 is a holiday.) Herman due to the fact that the city and City Hall was without phones and Internet for a few days, Herman said he was unable to complete the USDA grant application in time for the meeting.

     The city is seeking a USDA grant for $525,000 for the ditch project.

     “This will deal with the full scope of the project from Sixth Street to Chestnut Street,” noted Herman.

     The unknown is how much the city could assess affected property owners. Herman said the amount depends on what the city is awarded from the grant program.

     During the Open Forum, Jan Tackett asked why the city couldn’t proceed with the public information meeting with a room full of property owners already present. Herman said it’s just a formality the city has to follow when applying for a federal grant.

     After additional discussion and further city ordinance amendments, the Monticello City Council approved the third and final reading of the City Code of Ordinances.

The three main amendments include:

     • Changes to parking areas and driveways. Those with gravel driveways are now allowed to keep them gravel unless there’s an extension made to the current driveway or a new street project. Driveway approaches must be paved.

     Any new construction (a new home) must have permanent dust-free pavement.

     • The definition of “permanent dust-free pavement” can now include seal coat.

     “If it’s good enough for city streets it should be good enough for driveways,” remarked Council member Dave Goedken.

     Gaylen Kray commented that from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, the city’s parking code allowed for seal coat as a form of permanent dust-free pavement.

     “Everything pre-existing was grandfathered in,” Kray said.

     Goedken, who paved his driveway because he admitted he was tired with having to rake gravel off of his grass, said he could sympathize with those who want to keep it gravel.

     “I see where they’re coming from having to pave it,” he said of the cost.

     • Sidewalks must have both a vertical and horizontal separation of less than three-fourths of an inch. Anything equal to and greater is non-compliant.

     Council member Brenda Hanken commented that she was not comfortable telling property owners what they have to do with their own property.

     Herman said it comes down to enforcement.

     In relation to the city code, the council also approved an ordinance adopting various amendments to the city code based upon changes passed down from the 2020 State of Iowa Legislative Session. Those changes include:

     • Definition of an animal shelter

     • Definition of an injury to an animal and animal cruelty

     • What constitutes as animal neglect and animal welfare

     • Code infraction fines are set between $105 and $855

     • The age one can possession tobacco products is 21 (no longer 18)

In other city business:

   The council approved a request to abate accrued and future property taxes on city owned property at 101 E. First St. (former Dollar General building).

     The city was gifted the building by the Welter family for use as the new Creative Adventure Lab and Innovation Lab.


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