September 17, 2014 Edition

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Hoxie citizens demand
action on containers

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

Several Hoxie citizens expressed frustration with how the city is handling its zoning ordinances regarding containers within the city limits at the Sept. 9 city council meeting.

In 2006, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting the placement of containers within the city. Selling and renting containers was still allowed on commercial property until a 2013 ordinance prohibited that without a permit.

However, any businesses already established are essentially grandfathered in and will be allowed to continue their rental and retail services of the containers.

City Attorney Bobby Gibson said that a city cannot take from its citizens without compensation. By enacting the new laws, the city can prevent future violators but to take from already established businesses would open the city up for lawsuits.

However, citizens said that some are still in violation of current zoning ordinances and the city has to take action. "If no one's going to enforce those ordinances, why even make them?" citizen Darrell Price said.

Mayor Lanny Tinker told Price that a resolution was passed earlier in the meeting to appoint the Hoxie Police Department to do just that. After the city council meeting, the department is to act as compliance officers to investigate, determine, notify and enforce an ordinance established in 2007 regarding maintenance of property within the city limits.

Tinker said that each issue would be handled on a case-by-case basis and those in violation will be cited.

In other business:

  • the council adopted the Arkansas Fire Prevention Code, 2012 Edition, Volumes I, II and III for the city of Hoxie. Tinker said this will increase standards for new building projects, which are expected with incoming businesses like Peco.

  • Tinker announced that the Lawrence County Jail closing could cost the city between $40,000, and $50,000 dollars per year in lost labor through the work release program and increases in cost to house inmates outside the county.

  • the street committee will survey city streets needing repairs that don't meet the criteria set by the state for funds awarded to Hoxie earlier in the year. It is Tinker's hope that the city can fund $50,000-$60,000 of needed repairs alongside the work being done this fall.

  • Tinker informed the council that the city had to pay for $900 worth of fencing that was burned at a property the city had been maintaining. The previously abandoned property was recently sold to an individual who stored the fencing there. Tinker, under the assumption the fencing was discarded there, authorized the burning. After Gibson verified that the property had indeed been sold, the city agreed to compensate the owner for the fencing.

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