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City Council reconsiders fireworks
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · July 13th, 2017

At its July 6 meeting, the Marion City Council reviewed information regarding the use of fireworks which came to its members as emails, phone calls, letters and conversations received by the fire and police departments.

It is clear that the resolution which the City created and approved after the state legislature okayed the sale of fireworks in Iowa will need further consideration and revision in the coming weeks.

Fire Chief Deb Krebill noted that the fire department responded to two grass fires, two dumpster fires, and one critically injured person went to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics burn unit. Krebill received more than 60 complaints.

Police Chief Joe McHale said about 350 calls came to the department, some asking questions and others requiring more hands-on responses. At the seven stands which sold fireworks in the city, five were found to have made sales to minors and Krebill said the vendors had to be reminded many times to give the flyer which the city had created to buyers.

A number of people spoke at the meeting on July 6 regarding fireworks. Among the main complaints were the high noise levels, constant noise, airborne materials, those materials being shot across streets and onto others' property, toxic gases and particles, effects on pets (for instance, dogs being traumatized), children running too close to fireworks, and effects on people with physical problems like breathing or situations like PTSD or autism.

A number of people brought to the meeting pieces of debris that had landed on their property. Some brought suggestions about ways to improve the situation, such as having a shorter time period for using fireworks, restricting the types of fireworks which can be shot off, high fines for misuse and having a central open location where those who wish to shoot fireworks could go.

Mayor AbouAssaly assured all in attendance that the council will continue to work on the situation. Fire Chief Krebill suggested creating an ordinance (rather than the current resolution) and Council Member Draper suggested possibly putting something on the November election ballot so that people could make a choice about what they want.

In other business, the City was asked to take over maintenance and mowing of an area and sidewalk that runs along East Robins Road between Newcastle and the city border. The City will look at this

issue as well.

The June 17 event at Cocktails on Blairs Ferry Road came under scrutiny also. Police Chief Joe McHale and Lt. Mark Merta made a presentation. They reviewed the complaints received and noted that the major problems related to innappropriate acts which encouraged the use of drugs, performers who constantly used foul language, a noise level which bothered residents more than a half mile away, and drunkenness. Two of Marion's police officers had been assigned to the event, but they were "severely outnumbered." According to the report, those officers and others who were called to the scene showed great restraint. First aid, intoxication and medical attention were among the requests from the scene.

McHale said a new noise ordinance will be forthcoming and other aspects will also be reviewed and brought back to the council.

A report with regard to a request for a "no parking" sign along the east side of Edgebrooke Drive from 29th Avenue to 3345 was received and filed. Correspondence opposing no parking at this location was also received and filed.

A motion for the establishment of the no parking zone failed, due to a unanimous no vote.

A hearing was set for July 20 with regard to amending Ordinance 13-14, hours of operation for property along Tower Terrace Road west of 10th Street and east of Irish Drive.

A resolution to dispose of a portion of city-owned property located between 26th Street and 31st Street south of 8th Avenue and north of 5th Avenue died, due to lack of a second. Planning and Development Director Tom Treharne noted that this is not ready for approval yet.

The final plat and memorandum of agreement for property south of Echo Hill Road and west of Alburnett Road was approved as was one for the addition at Highway 13 and 151.

Four building permits were approved for Abode Construction (Briargate 6th Addition), and a right of way easement to Genesis was approved (26th Street from 7th Avenue to 8th Avenue).

A surveillance camera for the Uptown Artway was approved by everyone except Brandt. Later, during discussion, Brandt asked about the resolution which involved $14,578.70. City Manager Lon Pluckhahn noted that the SD card cost is very high because the card is a special one that can tolerate high heat. Brandt requested a copy of the invoice.

More information can be found in the Legals portion in this issue or by listening to the July 6 City Council YouTube recording.
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