Council discusses code and condition of driveways

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Throughout the recent string of council meetings, the Monticello council has been discussing whether City Code needs to be amended regarding unpaved driveways.

     The discussion not only concerns unpaved drives on N. Sycamore Street, but throughout the entire town.

     City Administrator Doug Herman provided the council with many questions or scenarios to consider:

     • If a residence does not have a driveway (gravel or otherwise) and wishes to install a driveway, will they be allowed to install a gravel drive or other non-permanent dust-free pavement? (City Code currently states that all driveways must be “permanent dust-free pavement.”)

     • If a residence currently has a driveway that is permanent dust-free pavement, will be permitted to remove the drive and have non-permanent dust-free pavement?

     • If a permanent dust-free pavement driveway is not going to be required, will there be a requirement that the approach be paved?

     • Are all properties being treated equally regardless of zoning (residential, commercial, industrial)?

     • Will there be an exemption request process for commercial and industrial properties based on the size/weight of the equipment stored on or driving on the lot?

     • What triggers should be in place to require paving of existing non-compliant properties?

     • Should a funding program be created whereby the city could provide grants or loans for properties to become compliant? Should this extend to all zoning areas?

     “Just give some thought to it,” Herman urged the council. “I need to know how you want the code to read.” He said the council needs to be comfortable with the language regarding driveways so city staff can properly enforce the code.

     Council member Dave Goedken asked if people are complaining about the condition of certain driveways throughout the city.

     Herman said the code reads “permanent dust-free pavement,” yet it’s being enforced.

     “I don’t know that we’re getting complaints,” Herman said. “It more about gravel washing out and getting into the streets.”

     Herman said the city code could read any way the council sees fit. “We can add or remove any language you want. If it’s going to be the law, we’d expect city staff should enforce it.”

     Council member Brenda Hanken felt any language regarding the state or condition of driveways should be completely removed from the code. “Who’s going to go around and enforce it all the time?” she asked.

     Gaylen Kray, a resident of N. Sycamore Street, informed the council that at one time, there was a grandfather clause that allowed existing gravel driveways to remain as long as they were properly maintained.

     “Seal coat at one time was the minimum requirement for dust-free surfaces,” he said, “especially for industrial.”

     Kray also felt commercial properties should not be treated differently than residentials.

In other city business:

     • The council approved a four-year collective bargaining agreement between the city and International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 234. This new agreement will expire on June 30, 2023.

     Due to changes in the state law concerning collective bargaining, the only issue up for negotiation is wages. The remaining topics (benefits, vacation, disciplinary issues, etc.) will be built into a policy handbook for union employees, and removed from the contracts.

     “We’re currently in negotiations,” said Herman.



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