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Hospital seeks protective zoning

Staff writer

St. Luke Hospital’s chief executive asked Marion City Council members Monday to use rezoning to discourage outside medical facilities from establishing competing facilities that might siphon off services the hospital depends on that to subsidize other services.

Alex Haines said that when more profitable procedures are done elsewhere, the hospital must survive on income from services that make less profit.

“I think it’s very important for both the hospital and the city,” Haines said.

Hillsboro recently passed zoning regulations aimed at protecting Hillsboro Community Hospital.

Mayor Mike Powers asked whether Haines was aware of any such zoning regulations being litigated in other communities.

Haines said he has not.

After asking council members whether they were interested in making a change, Powers referred to the city administrator and city attorney, and possibly to the planning and zoning commission.

In other business Monday, council members voted to approve a contract with EBH engineering to work on cracks on an airport runway. EBH also will look into replacing fueling facilities at the airport.

Council members voted to approve spending $5,000 to $15,000 on the project.

Kansas Department of Transportation will begin taking applications for grants in September, engineer Darin Neufeld said.

A potential ordinance to limit food trucks in Marion, first discussed two weeks ago, again was discussed Monday, but Powers said he still was making amendments to the proposed ordinance. He said he will present it July 15 for possible approval.

As presented last week, the ordinance would limit the number of hours a food truck could be at a single location and prohibit it from being within 150 feet of a “brick and mortar restaurant” without written permission from the owner of that restaurant.

Competing food trucks have been an issue since a Mexican food truck called Mis Viejos parked numerous times half a block away from That One Place on Main St.

Council member Zach Collett said he had heard criticism of the distance requirement.

“They don’t like the 150 feet distance,” he said. “They feel it would put too much restriction on it.”

“A lot of people thought that it got personal between the two people,” Collett said — meaning the operators of That One Place and Mis Viejos.

“I’m not going to deny that there is a personal element,” Powers said.

Powers said he wanted to suggest options for days of operation and how many days a food truck could operate after getting a permit.

“I think we need to do a better job of defining ‘food truck,’ ” Powers said.

Requirements on location, distance from other restaurants, movement of the truck, and signage should be considered, he said.

He also wants to make sure food trucks have general liability insurance and pay taxes.

Powers also showed council members photos of the underside of the floor at the city museum and said they “were pretty ugly.”

A rock wall on the east side of the building is collapsing, Powers said.

Last modified July 3, 2024

 

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