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City ‘keep-it-clean’ campaign returning

April 4, 2012

Bill Karbach

    The city's 175th anniversary celebration now is a sweet piece of memory, but the citywide cleanup that went along with it will be continued this year and in the future, it was learned at Tuesday night's city council meeting.
    And a dispute has already arisen.
    Bill Karbach, the city's Board of Works and Safety member who headed up — with great success — the citywide crackdown and cleanup last year, said at Tuesday night's council meeting that enforcement of the city's standards for trash, inoperable vehicles, unmowed yards and the like will be getting under way soon as the calendar moves deeper into spring.    
    Karbach told council, as he said on a number of occasions last year, "We don't want to harass anyone." So cooperation will be sought from the public, which worked so well in 2011.
    As the meeting was winding up, though, McKean Auto Sales owner/operator Gene McKean, who was in the audience, rose to say he had been informed by Karbach that some of the vehicles McKean has on a lot at Eighth and Jefferson streets are in violation of city code. "But that (lot) has been there 50 years (and used for storage)," McKean told council and Mayor John Schultz.
    After some further discussion, Councilman Matt Dyer said he used to ride his bike past the lot when he was a kid and one of the vehicles he saw there then is still on the lot 20 years later. "Quite frankly, (the lot) looks like a junk yard," Dyer added.
    McKean continued to stress that the lot has "been there 50 years," but Dyer countered that the city hadn't pushed enforcement for years.
    McKean said the lot is "permitted" for storage of vehicles and is part of his main dealership on N. 13th St.
    To which Karbach replied that the city statue has no provision for storage lots for vehicles.
    He also pointed out that the city has allowed other businesses to store equipment, etc. on separate lots for a certain time, but always with a time limit.
    The mayor suggested having Building and Zoning Superintendent Roger Gage research city records to see what, if any, provisions had been made for the lot and its vehicles. That ended the discussion.

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