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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Linn Valley to celebrate 25th annivesary in November

Updated: Nov 4, 2023

New Linn Valley building inspector Steve German is sworn by City Clerk Karen Siffring during Monday's city council meeting. (Screen capture/Linn Valley Facebook page)

LINN VALLEY – The city of Linn Valley has a landmark anniversary coming up in November.

On Nov. 23, Linn County’s newest city will be 25 years old. On Monday, Oct. 9, Linn Valley Mayor Cindy Smith read and signed a proclamation declaring the month of November as the 25th anniversary of the city.

The proclamation noted that 74 registered voters in the city submitted a petition to the Linn County Commission to incorporate Linn Valley as a city, and that the commission voted to approve the incorporation on Nov. 23, 1998.

On April 17, 1999, Mayor Bill Hardesty and City Council Members Ann Keffer, Jeannie Dwyer, Gordon Haggard, Ralph Fitch and Susan Pease were sworn in as the city’s first governing body.

According to the proclamation, the city has grown from a full-time population of 375 residents when the city was founded to 1,008 residents in the latest count.

The council on Monday also unanimously approved an ordinance amending several sections of the city’s zoning regulations.

The council received a draft of the amendments in from the Linn Valley Planning and Zoning Commission last month.

That draft contained language that the city council did not agree to, and after making suggested changes, the council sent it back to the planning commission to rework. One of the key provisions in the planning board’s version was language that would prohibit property owners in an R1 zone from having a recreational vehicle parked where it could be seen for longer than 96 hours.

The city council in September and again on Monday pointed out that restriction would be nearly impossible to enforce, particularly during the summer season when the population of city can temporarily swell to as many as 5,000.

Public Safety Director Corey Murrison told the council last month and again on Monday that it would be very difficult to enforce during that time.

The council suggested the language be changed to enforce the time limit only between the beginning of October until the end of April.

Councilman Lew Donelson called the planning commission’s version “a police nightmare,” that would require wheel blocks and other measures to enforce. He added that the city catches considerable heat from the Linn Valley Property Owners Association (POA) that the city doesn’t enforce some laws.

He noted that, unlike other cities where those kind of rules can be enforced, Linn Valley is a recreational community, and urged the council not to accept the 76-hour time limit.

Councilman Michael Hemphill said that the planning commission indicated it preferred to have a good ordinance that it couldn’t enforce rather than a bad ordinance it could.

Councilwoman Brenda Muncy said that if the council did not agree to go along with their suggestions, the planning commission members wouldn’t put their name on it.

The council, having already sent the draft ordinance back to the planning commission, had two directions it could take: approve the amendments proposed by the planning commission or make the changes they preferred and approve the amendments with those changes.

“The council needs to realize that sometimes leadership has to make hard decisions,” said Smith. “We have to have something we can enforce.”

Hemphill said the council needed to take some action. “We keeping kicking this down the road.”

Donelson challenged Hemphill to make a motion that would go ahead and put the issue to rest, and after editing the wording to their satisfaction, the council approved the amended ordinance.

In other business, the council:

  • Hired Steve German as city building inspector.

  • Heard a concern by Muncy that a glitch in the global positioning system (GPS) sent a medical emergency call to her house instead of the correct address. Murrison said that Google Maps does not work well in some areas of the city. He also pointed out that a new home with a new address near Muncy’s home may have added to the confusion.

  • Listen to a suggestion from Donelson that the city begin charging residents when sewage equipment constantly requires repairs. He said the city has been replacing pumps and other equipment without charge, but sewer contractor Mike Page has said some of the damage to equipment could be intentional. He suggested the council have a workshop in January to discuss the issue.

  • Discussed the need to hire an outside planner for the city. The mayor said city officials had met with a representative from Olsson Studios, however, the services that company could provide were not what she was expecting. She said they were looking more for of a consultant on specific problems. Smith also said that money to pay for the company could be an issue. The city has $10,000 in the 2023 and 2024 budget for planning but those funds were also earmarked for condemnation, and the mayor the city has spent nearly all of the budgeted amount on condemnations in 2023.

  • Heard Donelson report on the recent League of Kansas Municipalities conference. He said the presentations given and the networking established at the conference was very valuable. He said other third-class cities have many of the same issue, and he suggested that council members make a point to attend those conferences.

  • Asked City Clerk Karen Siffring to publish monthly city reports on the city’s website.

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