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Backyard Chickens to Remain Banned in Iola


By Lucky Kidd


IOLA, Kan. — A motion to approve an ordinance to allow chickens on residential lots in Iola, which has been discussed at a number of recent meetings, failed on a 4-4 tie vote. Under state law, passage of an ordinance requires a majority vote of the council members, which is five in this case. Due to the absence of member Joel Wicoff, Mayor Steve French was able to cast a vote on the ordinance, which was in the negative.

The Council approved a number of requests related to the Rotary Day in the Park. The Neil Westervelt Car Show and Tom Brigham Memorial Barbecue Contest are being moved up this year to May 17-18, and Rotarian Judy Brigham said this is due to contestant suggestions to have it earlier in the year and because of the event outgrowing the Allen County Fair which it’s been a part of for many years. 

Brigham cited problems with having to move events around during the barbecue contest due to other fair events. She noted many of the contestants, some of whom come from considerable distances, expressed a desire to have a contest earlier in the year, when the weather usually is more favorable.

The requests include allowing overnight camping in the park for teams in the barbecue contest and their support personnel, providing dumpsters, use of the Riverside Park Community Building, and installation of temporary electric panels, which Iola Rotary pays for.

The Council approved a bid for upgraded black start controls on a generator engine at Power Plant 2. The project had been planned for 2025, but it has since been learned that due to a control upgrade project in 2022, most of the components needed were already in place. As such the city won’t have to budget funds for 2025.

The cost of this work, to be done on a sole supplier basis by Peaker Services, comes to 39,200 dollars. The Council also approved a three year maintenance contract with Viking Industrial Painting for the Oak Street water tower. Viking had done a rehabilitation of that tower in 2022 and 2023. This contract has an annual charge of 22.500 dollars.

Authorization to seek bids to demolish a house at 412 S. Kentucky was approved by the Iola City Council Monday. This house had been damaged by a fire February 19th, and Gregg Hutton with Code Services said the property poses a danger to the public from the possibility of children playing around or inside the structure. Complaints also have been made about debris blowing into their yards and a smell after it rains. Hutton said he has spoken with the owner, who said she did not have insurance and at this time has no means to tear it down.

At the end of Monday’s meeting Council member Mark Peters announced he is resigning from his Ward 4 position. Peters said he and his wife, who is on dialysis, have sold their current property and purchased a new one outside Ward 4 to make her more comfortable. While he did not anticipate closing on the new home until next month with a move in June, he is stepping down now.