• Roger Sims, Journal Staff

Parker residents air complaints about codes violations

Updated: Jun 28

PARKER – With the late spring rains moving east and the summer warmth settling in, Parker residents are able to get outside and enjoy fresh air.

However, at the Parker City Council meeting on Thursday, June 9, it was evident that as residents of the town got out more, there were several sources of irritation that transformed into complaints to council members.

Several residents complained about a small herd of about half a dozen horses that had been moved to a small lot in the middle of a residential area. Others complained about kids riding four-wheelers on city streets.

On a vacant lot on the northeast corner of South and Walnut streets, the horses were kept on the property by a single strand of barbed wire. The owner had provided the horses with a tub for water but no hay, and the horses quickly cleaned the grass down to roots in the enclosure.

Several of the horses appeared to be underfed. By Sunday, the horses had been moved off the lot.

At the meeting former mayor Ryan Sobba, who lives near the lot, asked if he was going to have to smell horses all summer. He said it appeared as though the horses were starving and at least one was lame and required the attention of a veterinarian.

Burton Harding, city attorney, urged residents to follow procedures by filing a complaint with the city. The city recently added codes officer to Police Chief Craig Haley’s duties, and Harding said Haley was starting to address several issues in the city.

Under Parker city codes, residents can keep horses on their property with a special-use permit.

In an interview on Monday, June 14, Haley said there isn’t a limit on the number of horses, but the council must approve the permit. And that is contingent on having enough land and consideration for neighbors.

Haley said he had been working with the owner of the horses to try to get him to apply for the permit since the horses were already in the city before he was hired to be police chief/codes officer. However, he said that city codes did not dictate how residents fed and cared for their livestock.

The police chief also said he had been working on getting the kids on four-wheelers off city streets.

However, there were also problems with kids on motorized vehicles elsewhere, and one resident complained of kids riding a go-cart and four-wheelers in her yard. Janice Long said she had surveyor stakes marking her property but the resident next door kept mowing them down.

The council also discussed a query by a property owner whether metal shipping containers could be place on residential lots in the city. The consensus of the council was that property owners could apply for a conditional-use permit.

Council member Jody Bloodgood said she was concerned that a resident would drag in something ugly and set it up on their property.

Former councilman Jason Webber said that another resident had dragged a job site trailer onto a lot in the middle of the night and was now living in it.

City Clerk Carrie Sewell told the council that a person who moved a camper trailer into the narrow lot between City Hall and the CenturyLink telephone service building on Main Street west of Center Street wanted to change the zoning of the property from commercial to residential.

Webber told the council that someone was already living in the camper without having gotten a permit. The council voted unanimously not to change zoning.

Council member Ashley Balthazar, presiding over the meeting in the absence of Mayor Cody Adams, noted that there were so many codes issues to address in Parker now. She questioned whether the council needed to add even more hours to Haley’s job as codes officer.

Harding suggested the council might want to add an additional officer. He also said the council might want to increase the frequency of city court from once every two months to once monthly.

In other business, the council:

  • Discussed spraying for mosquitos. City maintenance worker Rodney Hetzer said he would look into getting the city’s spraying machine working again.

  • Tabled a request by Justin Wiler for a conditional-use permit to operate a wood working and engraving business on his property. There was a question about whether the buildings on the north edge of the lot to be used for the business were inside city limits or not.

  • Adopted the use of the KanPay system where residents can pay utility bills and fees to the city using an electronic check or credit card. There is a fee for each transaction under that system.

  • Learned that two young workers had applied for the single summer employment position. Based on Sewell’s recommendation, both people were hired.

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