• Last modified 417 days ago (March 1, 2018)


Council takes aim at demo derby cars

Staff writer

Owners of demolition derby cars in city limits might soon be subject to new restrictions.

City council members at Monday’s meeting pondered making changes to resolve issues stemming back two years, when vehicles on lawns first came onto the radar screen. At that time, because of safety and esthetic concerns, an ordinance was created banning parking of vehicles on front yards. That ordinance levied increasing fines for repeat offenses.

However, now concerns about demolition derby cars stored and worked on in city limits are the focus of council members’ attention.

Mayor Todd Heitschmidt proposed a demolition derby vehicle registration requirement and fines for noncompliance with the ordinance.

City administrator Roger Holter said the proposal would separate demolition derby cars from abandoned cars.

“We’d give a right to have them, but it limits the number,” Holter said.

Heitschmidt’s proposed demolition derby vehicle registration would require vehicles to be registered with the police department, vehicles only on a property between July 15 and Sept. 15, no more than two vehicles on the property, forbids them to be driven on streets or alleys, requires “adequate means to muffle the engine exhaust,” forbids work that produces noise from being done between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., and requires loose parts, broken glass, tools, cutting torches, welders or anything else used to modify cars to be cleaned off property and out of view daily.

He also proposed fines to be double the earlier ordinance. That ordinance set fines at $100 plus court costs for a first offense, $200 for the second offense, and $300 fine and possible jail time for the third offense.

Council member Jerry Kline objected to the entire proposal.

“You cannot restrict everybody because you won’t have anybody in town,” Kline said. “Everybody wants to have a hobby.”

Heitschmidt said council members didn’t finish addressing the matter two years ago.

“This particular hobby can disturb other people’s rights,” Heitschmidt said.

Holter said demolition derby cars are different from other cars.

“By the nature of design, they don’t have a muffler system on them,” Holter said.

Holter said he doesn’t know how the city can enforce a requirement that cars be “less than or equal to street legal.”

Council members instructed city attorney Susan Robson to work on an ordinance to present to council at a later meeting.

In other matters, council:

  • Reviewed a portion of the city personnel and policy manual and discussed the benefits of turning in expense receipts or giving a per-diem allowance.
  • Heard a brief presentation from South Central Kansas Economic Development District director Steve Wilkinson on projects the organization has done with other cities.
  • Granted a request from Jeremy Ensey, CEO of St. Luke Hospital, that the city stop billing the hospital for an unused dumpster.

Last modified March 1, 2018