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Marion puts off discussion of zoning rift

Staff writer

Turnabout appears to be fair play in Marion’s continuing debate over its industrial park and a second dollar store proposed for there.

Earlier this year, Mayor David Mayfield objected when the city’s planning and zoning commission did not act as quickly as he desired on a request from the council to rezone most of the industrial park for commercial use.

His objection eventually resulted in the council, on a split vote, taking the matter into its own hands and approving the rezoning before the commission had conducted a public hearing, as required by law.

The hearing, following nearly three weeks of required notification to ensure public involvement, occurred March 10.

Afterward, the commission came back with a recommendation to rezone a smaller portion of the industrial park than the council had wanted.

But the council didn’t put that recommendation on the agenda for its meeting Monday, 11 days after the commission voted.

At the end of Monday’s council meeting, which lasted only 15 minutes, council member Ruth Herbel asked zoning administrator Margo Yates what had become of the recommendation.

Yates visibly deferred to city administrator Roger Holter, who replied that presentation of the commission’s findings would not occur until the council’s April 4 meeting — another two weeks away.

No reason for the delay was offered.

Eviction talk delayed

A second piece of potentially contentious business also was delayed without explanation Monday.

At Holter’s request, a scheduled report from police chief Clinton Jeffrey on conditions of property at 413 S. 4th St. was removed from the agenda and also rescheduled for April 4.

The address is the home of Ashley and Justin Loomis, a brother and sister pair often jailed on suspicion of drug offenses, theft, and possession of stolen property.

On Feb. 18, police placed on the door of the residence a notice giving the occupants 14 days to vacate the premises because they were unfit for habitation, lacking among other things water for sanitation.

Both the house and an outbuilding, where the Loomises reportedly had been living, were covered by the order. The property is listed as being owned by their father, Michael, who died in June 2020.

Neighbors and passers-by have contended that the property continues to be occupied long after expiration of the 14-day eviction deadline.

A dog thought to belong to the Loomises was found dead Saturday in the street in front of the residence.

According to monitored radio transmissions, Marion police officer Duane McCarty went to the house and attempted to notify residents.

After no one came to the door, McCarty dragged the dog’s carcass out of the street and into the yard and attached a note on the residence’s door.

The original yellow notice to vacate remained clearly visible from the street Monday, but no other note and no carcass were apparent. A late-model car, however, was parked outside the outbuilding.

Other business

With both these items not on the agenda Monday, the council raced through other business. The only questions from council members involved Herbel noting the mis-numbering of items in a proposed code of conduct.

Herbel noted that a draft sent to council members Friday had no item No. 5 and two item No. 8’s. No other discussion of the code occurred before it unanimously was adopted.

The council also:

  • Ratified Mayfield’s appointment of retiring middle school principal Missy Stubenhofer to fill a unexpired term of former economic development director Randy Collett on the city’s library board and approved reappointment of Shari Padgham and Grant Thierolf to the same board.
  • Reappointed Holter to the city’s land bank board of trustees.
  • Approved a $104,637 bid via Case & Son Insurance on city liability and vehicle insurance, with agent Casey Case noting that addition of several vehicles increased part of the city’s premium.
  • Extended for seven months a $500-a-month lease to Evergy on lots near the county transfer station that will be used for material and equipment storage during a delayed upgrade of a nearby Evergy substation that connects to the city’s power grid.

Last modified March 23, 2022

 

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