Morenci changes grass ordinance 2011.08.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci city council heard no public comment after the first reading of two proposed ordinance changes, so members voted Monday to approve both.

Councilors voted unanimously in favor of each, with Joe Varga absent.

The amendment to the grass and weed ordinance calls for lawns to be mowed if the average height of grass exceeds eight inches.

Certain classes of properties—such as vegetation in woodlands, retention ponds and certain undeveloped property—are exempt from the height rule.

Rather than sending notices of non-compliance, a public notice will be placed monthly in the Observer from May to September highlighting the ordinance. When non-compliance is found, the city superintendent may order the lawn to be mowed.

The property owner will be charged $200 for the mowing, or more if the cost exceeds that amount. If payment is not made within 30 days, a $50 late fee will be assessed. After that, a special assessment will be levied against the property.

The full text of the revised ordinance is available at city hall.

Council also approved an ordinance change that brings a criminal penalty for failure to respond to a civil infraction. Failure to pay a fine—for a barking dog, for example—would result in a misdemeanor charge and a district court date.

The city began writing civil infraction notices in 2005 for two reasons: the process results in a smaller fine for those charged with an infraction, and fines stay entirely with the city.

The new ordinance will address the problem of residents who choose to ignore the civil infraction notice.

PARKING LOTS—Mayor Keith Pennington expects concrete work to begin Thursday in the city’s parking lot rebuilding project.

Underground work—sewer, water, utilities—should wrap up this week, said city supervisor Barney Vanderpool, then grading behind the bank will get underway.

“Every day there are issues to work out,” Pennington said. “Things are uncovered, things need covering, repairs need to be made.”

Plans called for fiber optics conduit to be installed along the backs of buildings, Pennington said, but D&P Cable eventually said that it couldn’t be done, that materials wouldn’t arrive in time. The company was aware of the project schedule, Pennington said in response to a question.

“That part of the project is lost,” he said. “We’re quite disappointed.”

City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder said that visitors to city hall often complain about the mess and the difficulty of reaching city hall, but they’re quick to add that the final result will be attractive. Overall, she said, opinion is on the positive side.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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