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Cherokee Village may expand

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cherokee Village is expanding its interest beyond its boundaries.

At the May 15 Cherokee Village City Council meeting, the council unanimously agreed to spend $2,500 to expand the city's "sphere of influence" to include two areas outside the city limits.

Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Tom Hrezo said the two areas -- one area near the city's water supply at Roaring Springs and another area by the South Golf Course -- can have a great impact on Cherokee Village by way of fresh water and future property values.

While the areas aren't in the city limits, the city can still have a say in what happens in those areas by taking the legal measures to include both areas in the city's "sphere of influence."

Hrezo said the city can legally take in areas five miles from the city limits but neither location is located that far away.

Alderman Peter Martin asked if the city had considered simply incorporating those areas into the city limits instead. Hrezo said in order to do so the city would be required to have a public hearing. Putting the area in the city's "sphere of influence" is easier and faster, he said, adding that the city could still incorporate the areas in the future.

The $2,500 fee is from Lindley Surveying and covers the paperwork to get the area near the city's grasp, Hrezo said. The money will be paid from contract services in the Planning and Zoning Commission budget.

Martin asked about the Planning and Zoning Commission's master plan for the city. When Hrezo was unable to tell Martin where the plan was, Martin asked that the plan be presented by the next council meeting.

"Without a master plan you're not doing anything," he said.

In other business, Hrezo announced that the city now has a new code enforcement officer working with the commission.

Bob Kincade, a reserve officer for the Cherokee Village Police Department, took the position left vacant when William Hamrick, the city's animal control/code enforcement officer, left his position with the city to take a full-time police job in Horseshoe Bend.

Hrezo said although Kincade was the only applicant, he was hired because he has previous experience in code enforcement.

Martin asked that Kincade not carry a weapon while working in code enforcement. Mayor Lloyd Hefley said he gave Kincade permission to carry the weapon. He expects Kincade to act as a police officer if he sees a crime is taking place, he said. Hrezo defended Hefley's stance saying that some of the worst homes in the Village seem to be drug homes. Martin said if they are drug homes the police officers should be there.

Martin said if the code enforcement officer carries a weapon so should the animal control officer because an animal could charge at the officer.

Alderman Tom Thone said he heard about a wreck in the city involving a roads and streets vehicle and a private vehicle.

Recorder/treasurer Phyllis Endrihs said the police department told her that the city insurance would increase if the accident was turned in to insurance. Thone said the check in question was written March 28 for more than $1,000. Mayor Hefley said he did not recall the incident.

Alderman Martin asked that the council be notified of situations such as this in the future. He said the city employees work for the council, which is to make the decisions for the city.

The council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance to correct unsightly or unsanitary conditions within the city.

Martin asked to take out the 10-day time period and give the property owner a chance to appeal the decision to the city council.

Building Inspector Charles DeLoach said the ordinance must be changed anyway to be consistent. Sections one and two both call for 10 days while section three calls for 30 days. He also said the council would have to repeal two other ordinances that have different time frames.

"You can't have 10, 20 and 30," he said.

Alderman Russ Stokes suggested the ordinance be changed to 20 days.

Hrezo said a property owner can always take the issue to the city council or the Planning and Zoning Commission. He said it doesn't need to be specified in the ordinance.

"They always have a right to do it," he said.

Martin said Planning and Zoning doesn't tell property owners they can take the matter to the council.

The council approved the first reading of an ordinance requiring substantial progress to be made on construction projects in the city and establishing a procedure to obtain an extension for building permits.

The reading was approved with a 5-1 vote. Thone voted against the approval. He said the second section of the ordinance, which requires master electricians, supervising gas fitters, mechanical/HVACR licensee and master plumbers to have liability insurance, should be stricken from the ordinance.

The council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance providing for the removal or razing of unsafe buildings within the city limits.

Cherokee Village Animal Control Officer Shorlyn Morris told the council the shelter, Spring River Animal Services, is currently holding 24 dogs and six cats. Three other animals are in foster care, she said.

Three animals have been brought in from Ozark Acres since May 1, she said. Of those animals, one has been reclaimed, she said.

Morris said although she hasn't written any citations, she said she deemed one animal vicious and had it removed from the Village.

Morris said she and Police Chief Scott Goodwin will soon be certified in euthanasia. The council unanimously agreed to allow Morris to purchase tranquilizer medication to use on large dogs before they are euthanized.

Martin asked that Morris begin not only keeping logs of her calls in her vehicle, but also keep a copy at City Hall or the police department for public inspection.

Morris said the recent open house at the shelter was a success. She gained volunteers as well as $1,400 in donations.

Alderman Stokes said he spoke with SID General Manager Jimmy Chandler about debris removal on the South Fork River at the North Golf Course bridge.

When the area floods, SID personnel remove debris built up along the side of the bridge and then put it on the other side, Stokes said.

Stokes said two dumpsters of trash were collected during the recent city cleanup. He said that is actually less trash than the city has received in previous years.

Alderman Verna Mae Newman said she was concerned with the police department's report for the month of April. The report showed that officers took 13 theft of property reports.

The council agreed to hire an additional full-time employee for the roads and streets department. The council voted to hire the employee with a unanimous vote.

The council unanimously agreed to change the June council meeting from June 19 to June 26. The change was needed because many aldermen and other city officials will be out of town at an Arkansas Municipal League convention in Hot Springs on that date.

The working meeting will still be held June 4. It begins at 6:30 p.m.

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