July 28, 2013

Council to vote on annex rules

Proposed legislation addresses burning, firearms, stormwater, livestock and chemicals.

by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune

---- — Logansport City Council is preparing to vote on five ordinances council members say will allow residents of the areas recently annexed into the city to maintain much of their way of life.

Lindsay Ruby, an attorney hired by residents of the two annexation areas, had been working with Logansport City Attorney Randy Head to draft legislation ensuring rights her clients had grown accustomed to but would be considered illegal within city limits.

What resulted were five ordinances addressing burning, firearms, stormwater, livestock and agricultural chemicals, respectively.

“We hope this will give them the level of comfort they’re asking for,” said Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin.

One of the proposed ordinances states residents will not have to pay stormwater fees to the city unless it installs such infrastructure improvements in that area, which Franklin said he doesn’t see “happening in the near future.”

Annexation residents had expressed a desire to be able to continue burning trash at previous public meetings.

City council will vote on an ordinance that would allow annexation residents to burn fence rows and other vegetation on land zoned for agricultural use, but not any waste or building materials.

The proposed ordinance goes on to state outdoor fireplaces, campfires and other recreational fires are permitted as long as they are contained to a fire pit or ring and with clean wood. Grills are also permitted, as long as food prepared on them is not for commercial use.

Fertilizers, herbicides, chemicals and other compounds commonly used for agriculture would also be permitted in the annexation areas under a proposed ordinance.

At a city council committee meeting Wednesday, Logansport City Councilman Bob Bishop said he didn’t understand the purpose for the proposed ordinances regarding burning and chemicals, as neither dictate anything that isn’t already currently legal within city limits.

Franklin agreed, but said he felt there seemed to be a great deal of distrust between many of the annexed residents and the city and hoped the proposed legislation would help ease their concerns.

Logansport City Councilman Joe Buck agreed.

“They asked for it in writing, so let’s give it to them,” he said.

Bishop’s concerns remained, however. He said he hoped the ordinances, if adopted, wouldn’t create an interpretation that fires and spraying chemicals would only be permitted in the annexation ares.

“I just want to make sure we’re not taking anything away from the city people,” he said.

Franklin said it will ultimately be up to the council whether the ordinances are adopted.

“If you want to kill it, kill it,” he told council members Wednesday.

Another recommended ordinance states “hunting and use of firearms will be permitted” as long as it is performed within laws already established by the state.

The raising of livestock on agriculturally zoned land would also be allowed, another proposed ordinance states.

The council will vote on the ordinances at 5 p.m. Aug. 5 in the City Council Chambers on the third floor of the City Building, 601 E. Broadway.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or