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Lyons City Council Approves Chicken Ordinance, Ordinance Declaring Graffiti Public Nuisance

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By Lucky Kidd

 

LYONS, Kan. — Backyard chickens appear to be in the offing in Lyons. After lengthy discussions over the past several Lyons City Council meetings, the Council voted 4-1 Monday to approve, with one addition, an ordinance to allow keeping up to six female chickens in the city limits.

The no vote came from Council member Leanna Payne with three council members absent. City Counselor Patrick Hoffman indicated that four votes would be sufficient to pass the ordinance, in response to a question from Mayor Dustin Schultz.

The vote came three weeks after local resident Brooks Clark asked the Council to reconsider an earlier vote against the proposed ordinance. Clark and Trish Jackson with Harvest Hub-Rice County spoke to the council during the public comment portion of the meeting in favor of adopting the ordinance.

The addition to the ordinance was suggested by Council member Debbie Metzger, who asked that a provision be added requiring the owners of any chickens caught running at large be required to pay any veterinary fees incurred, similar to what is done for dogs caught at large.

City Administrator Eddy Truelove reported to the Council the city has received a long-expected consent order from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment related to the long-troubled Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The consent order will come before the Council for formal action at their meeting on May 20, which will include an in-depth discussion on the plant including its goals, processes and initial steps to address long standing issues with the treatment system that are already being worked on.

Two proposals related to this will be presented during that meeting, including putting a second bridge across the oxidation trench that has been the source of many of the recent issues and a plan to install a system of rails that would enable the city to raise and lower oxigators, which staff and KDHE indicate would address many issues.

The cost of these two items is estimated at around $30,000 along with an additional $1,800 for installation and training on operation of the rail system. The city’s consulting engineer will also be present for that meeting to discuss a preliminary study that under the consent order needs to be done by May 2025.

The Council agreed to submit a preliminary application through the State of Kansas Revolving Loan Fund, which will make the city potentially eligible to obtain low-interest funding for whatever work will ultimately need to be done at the plant.

In addition to the chicken ordinance, two other ordinances were approved by the council. One declares graffiti as a public nuisance in Lyons, which will enable the city to require property owners to remove graffiti that has been placed on their property without permission. The other adds a no parking zone in the 100 block of West Jay to address a number of safety concerns that have been raised in the area of the Lyons Public Golf Course and Municipal Swimming Pool due to the narrowness of the street and a lack of sidewalks.

A request for payment from Community Development Block Grant funds for housing rehabilitation will be submitted to the Kansas Department of Commerce. The request involves

$85,437 for rehabilitation of four homes in the grant target area, which the city will pay up front and be reimbursed for. It was indicated there could be one more home done under the grant if it can be completed in time to meet grant deadlines.

The final steps for an easement agreement with Lyons Salt Company for placement of a community sign on the south edge of Lyons were approved. The easement agreement had been approved last July, but no action was ever taken to finalize it. By re-approval of the agreement, the required signatures and dates can match up with what will be filed with the Rice County Register of Deeds.

The resignation of Gylene Dobbins from the Lyons Planning and Zoning Commission was accepted. Dobbins recently moved outside the city limits, and while the ordinance creating the commission provides that two members of it reside outside the city limits within a three-mile radius of Lyons, it already has two such members.

The Council approved Mayor Dustin Schultz’ recommendation to appoint Tawanna Berry to the Library Board for a four-year term. There is still one open position on the Library Board. It also approved the appointment of Nick Larmer as a member of the Lyons Fire Department.

The Council once again discussed possible changes to fireworks regulations. Currently fireworks can be sold in Lyons July 1-4, but discharge is only allowed on July 4th. This topic has been brought up several times in the past, and due to the absence of three members the remainder of the Council decided to continue this discussion at the May 20th meeting.

It also heard a presentation on revisions being drafted to the city’s alcoholic beverage ordinances to update it. This is also expected to be on the May 20th agenda.