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City grants three variances to sell alcohol

by Dolores Hamilton
Monday night, three Iowa Park businesses were granted variances that will allow them to sell alcohol at locations closer than 300 feet from a public school.

Scobee’s Mini Mart, Lowe’s Food Store and Dollar General had all been in business several years before the building housing the school’s Alternative Education Program was purchased. Representatives of all three businesses told the council that they need the variance to be able to compete business wise.

At the last meeting of the city council, an ordinance was adopted setting a minimum 300-foot setback, with variances, from public or private schools, day care facilities, churches, or a public hospital. The city may allow variances to the distance regulation if the council determines enforcement would create an undue hardship on the business.

Four public hearings were held during the meeting.

The first hearing was to determine if a structure at 900 S. Colorado, that had considerable damage from a fire, should be declared a “substandard structure” and abated.

The owner of the property is deceased, and his daughter was at the meeting. She told the council that the property had been left to her and her sister. The sisters have someone who wants to buy the property and they are in the process of getting it in their name so they can sell it. In the meantime, she said, they would work to get the house boarded up.

The council voted to give her 45 days to take care of the problem and, if needed, she could come back and ask for an extension.

The owners were not present for the next public hearing regarding a dilapidated storage building at 210 W. Pecan. The council found the building to be substandard and gave the owners 45 days to take care of it.

In the third public hearing the council determined that an early model Chevrolet van at 522 S. Yosemite should be abated in accordance with the junked vehicle regulations outlined in the city’s Code of Ordinances. Owners of the property were given 45 days to correct the violation.

The last public hearing was to discuss and receive public input to the city’s 2012 Drinking Water Quality Report. City Manager Mike Price said that the state requires cities to put out this report once a year.

Another public hearing will be held in two weeks and then the report will be mailed out to every water customer of the city.

In other business an ordinance was passed that includes a definition and standards for political advertising signs.

The ordinance states: “No political advertising sign may be located upon city-owned property or upon public right-of-ways within the corporate city limits. Political advertising signs can be placed on privately-owned property with the owner’s permission.”

It also says that political advertising signs must be made of lightweight material and be no larger than 50 square feet.

Because of an internet glitch, public hearings for the annexation of land being purchased by Electra Memorial Hospital District had to be rescheduled.

The city manager was directed to prepare a service plan for the 2.174-acre tract of land and set dates, times and places for two public hearings on the proposed annexation. The first public hearing will be on June 24, the second hearing on July 8, and the council will vote on approving the annexation at its first meeting in August.

A resolution was passed electing not to require the remittance of a PEG fee by holders of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority. The council also voted its approval to an ordinance approving the rate schedule “RRM-Rate Review Mechanism” for Atmos Energy Corporation.
Two new police officers, Jordan Martin and Scott Schenck, were sworn in by City Secretary Janice Newman.