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Hoisington City Council considers new rules on accessory buildings
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For several months, the Hoisington planning commission has been working to find a balance between restriction and ease of future development.  Changes to the existing zoning ordinances within the city pertaining to accessory buildings have been their focus.  These include sheds, garages, and other structures like carports that exist on a residential lot along with the main structure. At Monday night’s city council meeting, Jerry Renk, spokesman for the commission, addressed the council.  With the public hearing out of the way as of Sept. 21, and with only positive comments received, the commission recommended adoption of the changes.  
Going forward, maximum dimensions for accessory buildings will apply, and they will be required to be subordinate in size and height to the main structure.  Also, they will not be allowed to be closer than five feet to other structures unless attached, and must not project in front of on a street facing lot or past the corner facing side of a main structure on a corner lot.  
The uses of these buildings will also be limited to housing vehicles or for a domestic or household use.  Hobby activities will also be allowed, provided non-commercial guidelines are followed.  In order to make sure fairness is exhibited, a panel of city officials and one member of the planning commission will be required to review and approve accessory building permits.  
“Protecting existing homeowners wile allowing people to make enhancements has been a top concern of the commission,” said City Manager Jonathan Mitchell. “I think they did that.”
Hoisington’s City Attorney, John Horner, however, expressed concern that some of the wording was not black and white enough.  Terms like “consistent with the neighborhood,” for instance, were considered vague by Horner.  Still, the council gave direction to the staff to prepare an ordinance for consideration at the next meeting.  Mitchell said in the interim, application for accessory buildings will be held until the anticipated new regulations are in force. For those with existing permits, there will be no delay in construction, and any non-conforming structures will be allowed to stay, he confirmed.  

2016 Relay for Life will be in Hoisington
City Manager Jonathan Mitchell announced he’d received notice from Barton County Relay For Life that the annual event is coming to Hoisington in 2016, and will be held at the Hoisington Activity Center.  A request by Mariann Shook, chairperson for the organization, asked the Hoisington City Council to provide $500 from the transient tax fund for a live remote the night of Relay.
This is the first time the event will have been held in Hoisington in many years, so the council was happy to approve the request.
“This is a great thing for our community.”  

Flagpole offer accepted
Hoisington resident Stan Jantz addressed the council with his proposal to purchase a flagpole for the friendship house at Pride Park, located at 400 E. 3rd Street.  He requested the city install and maintain the pole once it is acquired.  The council approved the request.

City Manager’s Report
During the City Manager update, Jonathan Mitchell invited members of the city council to attend the EastWood, LLC ground breaking happening Thursday, Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. at the lot at 4th and Maple.  This is a Housing Opportunities Inc. project that has been months in the works.
In addition, he reported on a proposal by Habitat for Humanity to acquire a lot near the intersection of Railroad and Vine Streets.  The Barton County group is also moving forward on a project already approved for the lot at 322 E. 6th St.    
Also, the Roto-Mix and wastewater lagoon projects are continuing to inch forward. Mitchell informed the council that the latest word from the Environmental Protection Agency is that the Union Pacific Railroad is currently working with the state through a voluntary compliance program and will be addressing the environmental concerns that have been holding up the transfer of property between the city and Roto-Mix soon.  He also reported the application for grant funding for the proposed $1.7 million lagoon project has been completed and submitted, and the city anticipates hearing back in January.  
The new owners of the property at 162 S. Main Street will open a guide service that will bring hunters into Hoisington throughout the year.  Their office will be on the second floor, and the main level will include retail and meeting space, Mitchell said.  Also, the building where Prairie Loft Antiques operated has been sold at auction on Friday, Oct. 2, but there has been no word yet concerning what will become of the space.    

Other items of business discussed and actions taken included :

* Approval of a request by the Chamber of Commerce for the city to split the cost incurred for a repair to the bleachers at the demolition derby site.  The unexpected and expensive repairs were required prior to the Labor Day festivities last month.  The council not only approved the request, but covered the entire cost of the $650 repair.  

* Authorized the city to move forward with a bid to purchase a newer dump truck which the county is selling in order to meet some of the public works departments needs.

* Learned that Barney Kruse has been promoted to fill the position of power plant foreman with the recent hire of Ron Menzer who began work on Oct. 6.  

The next regular meeting of the Hoisington City Council is set for Monday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. at the city offices.