Lansing City Council amends City Code regarding off-road vehicle use within city limits

by Julie Berg-Raymond

During its holiday-delayed regular meeting  Tuesday, September 6 due to the Labor Day holiday falling on its usual Monday meeting day, the Lansing City Council voted to approve Ordinance No. 23 - an amendment to the recently revised City Code involving the use of off-road vehicles within city limits.

Ordinance No. 203 reflects changes the State of Iowa recently made pertaining to UTVs and ATVs (utility terrain vehicles and all-terrain vehicles) and brings the City Code into agreement with what the State has mandated regarding use of these vehicles. Among the changes is the raising of the age requirement for operation from 16 to 18 years of age. The changes may be reviewed in full at the Office of the City Clerk in Lansing City Hall.

The council approved waiving of the second and third readings of the ordinance; it will go into effect the day after it is published in The Standard newspaper.

The council approved a variance request at 40 South 5th Street: Special Permit No. 09-22. Among letters sent to neighbors regarding their opinions on the variance request, only one replied in the negative. The permit was approved because the setbacks for the new building would align with the surrounding buildings (the Methodist church, and 5th and Main Apartments). The council also approved Resolution No. 976 - Resolution of Plat of Survey, which separates a duplex into two separate properties for the purpose of owner rights.

Lansing Chief of Police Conrad Rosendahl advised the council that the property at 650 South 2nd Street has been released, following conclusion of the police investigation of events at that location. He noted that the owners have access to the inside of the property again.

Residents at 1341 North 2nd Street in Lansing (located within city limits) asked the council to consider extending water and sewer services to their neighborhood, given the age of septic systems in that area and concerns about drainage. They expressed frustration that they pay taxes on City services that are not provided to them. “This issue has been going on for decades,” they wrote on their Citizen Concern form. “It needs to be a priority.”

In response to this concern, Mayor Melissa Hammell said the council would begin looking at options.  Hurdles include expense and permission to access their properties through another property.

“We are in the process of looking into what the City has done in the past to address these concerns, what we can do for financial assistance, and what our options are for access,” Mayor Hammell said in an email following the meeting.

The same residents also expressed concern regarding a property off Highway 26 causing run-off to the residents below - whose shared driveway washes out every time it rains.

“This was never a problem, until the lot was developed above the highway on the bluff,” they noted on their Citizen Concern form.

Mayor Hammell said she has reached out to the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) on this issue, and the council is currently looking at what will need to be done to fix it.

While not present at the meeting, Francis Garrett registered a citizen concern by asking council member Lisa Welsh to let the council know he is continuing his work in finding ways to salvage the Black Hawk Bridge.

Council members Lisa Welsh and Curtis Snitker have compiled Employee Career Development Discussion forms, which are intended to help the city  council better understand what City employees do and how the council can better support them in their jobs.

“It will give City employees a chance to tell us what their goals and wants are, so the city council is aware and can take actions to help them with those goals - i.e. continued education or equipment needs,” Mayor Hammell said in an email following the meeting.

The next regular meeting of the Lansing City Council is scheduled for Monday, September 19 at 7 p.m. in the Lansing City Hall.