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City of Lyons Council Meeting Highlights June 3, 2024

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By Lucky Kidd

 

LYONS, Kan. – The Lyons City Council Monday approved a revised ordinance dealing with alcoholic beverages. The ordinance makes multiple amendments to bring it into compliance with current state liquor laws.

City Administrator Eddy Truelove said this includes an expansion of definitions, which cover such things as microbreweries, microbreweries, and farm wineries for which regulations are provided for in the new ordinance.

The revision that brought the most discussion related to the presence of minors in places where alcohol is served. Monica Kelly, owner of The Lumberyard, expressed some concerns about the wording of the original proposal that would have severely limited the presence of minors because of the impact it would have on her business, including a bookstore that is part of her operation.

Council member John Mehl said he would not have any problem with taking that provision out, which most of the council was agreeable to, while Council member Sheila Spielman felt the original restriction proposed should remain in place, not so much because of what Kelly does in her business but what she felt others would do.

The vote to approve the ordinance was 7-1, with Spielman opposed.

The Council rejected on a 5-3 vote a proposed revision to fireworks regulations. The proposal brought forth by Truelove would allow discharge of fireworks July 1-4, where current ordinances only allow discharge July 4th.

He proposed this change on the basis of the time law enforcement has to spend on fireworks enforcement. As it relates to disposal of confiscated fireworks, Truelove noted the danger involved in that, including the death of a Wichita Police bomb specialist who was destroying fireworks.

The proposal would also have included a 10:30 PM ending time for discharge July 1-3 and add a provision allowing the mayor to impose a firework ban if weather conditions, such as drought would require it. Truelove also suggested increasing the liability insurance requirement from the present $500,000 to $1,000.000. It was noted two fireworks stand operators who have already applied for their licenses have liability coverage at or higher than that.

Council member Debbie Metzger said residents in her ward who spoke to her were generally opposed to a four-day shooting period, but would back two days, which member Doug Higgins said he would support Member Angela Evans opposed increasing the discharge days due to the impact it has on veterans with PTSD and on pets.

Council member Sheila Spielman compared the fireworks shooting days issue to recent discussions on chickens, which up to recently could be sold in Lyons but not kept on residential properties. Council member Leanna Payne joined Metzger, Higgins, Evans and Spielman in voting down the ordinance, with Fred Long, John Mehl and Mary Kendrick voting in favor.

The council approved bids for rehabilitation of two homes and one duplex under a Community Development Block Grant. DH Home Improvement of Hutchinson was awarded the bids for three of the properties: the duplex on North Douglas and a home on West Avenue North, while New Windows For America of Wichita was awarded the bid for 220 North Pioneer.

Prior to action on this, Truelove noted one of the property owners involved has some overdue utility bills. However, it was noted this is related to past tenants on two properties. In one case, a situation where the tenant cut a lock off a gas meter and drew gas that way. In another situation, there was an issue related to billing which is being worked on.

Truelove said everything will be done to accelerate these projects, as they have to be completed prior to the city being able to submit a new CDBG application for Wastewater Treatment Plant improvements.

The Council also discussed issues related to abatement resolutions adopted in 2022 regarding two properties on North Pioneer. Demolition of those two properties never took place on advice of the then City Counselor due to some legal issues identified in the process that led up to the resolution. Truelove said he will be working with current Counselor Patrick Hoffman to re-start the process.

There was a discussion on solid waste fees and an undercharge on those over the past ten months or so. The city’s contract with Stutzman Refuse Disposal includes a provision for a two percent increase in charges each year, which typically occurs August 1. In 2023, residential utility charges were not increased by the city even though Stutzman had given notice of the increase. This came during the time the city was between city
administrators.

Truelove said the city did pay Stutzman at the higher rate, which cost the city upwards of $4,000. The Council discussed a suggestion to impose a four percent increase effective August 1, which will be brought to them for action at a future meeting.

Another discussion item was a request to place stop signs at 5th Street and West Avenue North, to address some safety concerns in that area. The Council only discussed this briefly, asking that an ordinance be drafted to allow them to be placed. Sitting as the city’s Land Bank Committee, the Council approved sale of a Land Bank-owned lot at 415 East Lauderbach for $100 to the owner of the property across the alley from it, who plans to use it for additional yard space. This is a property the city demolished a building at some years ago and is unbuildable due to its small size.

In other matters, the Council accepted the resignation of Pat Briggs from the Library Board and in response to a question Truelove reported 85 weed notices have been sent out by registered mail.