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Resident takes issue with visibility ordinance
April 05, 2013 · Meghan Hunter

Lisbon's eight-month-old visibility ordinance continues to raise questions, prompting the council to clarify details on Monday, March 25.

The new ordinance enforces visibility requirements at intersections, meaning items falling within a 25-foot triangle measured from the edge of the pavement have a graduated height allowance. This goes beyond the previous ordinance, which only measured from the city's right-of-way, causing a variance between properties.

Lisbon resident David Zahorik has raised concerns throughout the evolution of the ordinance, and the city responded by examining the ordinance's effects. Still, Zahorik identified several issues he has with it, including varying zones of acceptable heights of trees and shrubs, the 25-foot measurement from the edge of pavement since not all the streets have curbs, and fence height limitations.

Addressing the fencing issue, Zahorik asked, "If the fences exceed height limitations, does the city plan to compel homeowners to alter their existing fences to meet the new requirements or will they be grandfathered in?"

He was also curious as to how the city will implement the changes and regulations, referencing the cost of monitoring street corners. Proposals he made involve reducing the 25-foot measurement to 20 feet, replacing yield signs with stop signs, and stricter restrictions of parking at corners.

"I feel that these measures would be a simpler solution than monitoring citizens' yards for offending shrubs," Zahorik said. "The measures that I just told you about are systematic and they address a perceived problem in the long-term."

Zahorik also determined that none of his trees are in violation, despite a letter from the city saying he had to "remedy the situation."

Council member Doug O'Connor explained the measuring process and council member Lance Zerbe proposed a solution.

"We have a simple answer here; [O'Connor] went out and measured it, so the zoning commissioner goes out with you and you guys can go over how you measured it, that way you go from the same point," Zerbe said. "If it's out, there's nothing we can do about it, but if they're not in the zone, they're not in the zone."

Overall, council member John Bardsley noted that clarity can made in the ordinance. Zerbe and mayor Beryl O'Connor agreed to look at Zahorik's suggestions.

In other action last week, the council:

• Approved the audit for fiscal year 2013. A copy is available for review at City Hall.

• Added to the city's policy handbook that vehicles should not be towed with city equipment.

• Accepted the resignation of volunteer Ryan Larmore from the city's board of adjustment.

• Approved a payment of $13, 684 to Eastern Iowa Excavating for a water main project related to development in Novak Estates. Due to obstacles, the city had to move and lay more water main than expected for safety reasons.

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