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.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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