Clarinda City Hall

(Clarinda) -- Sidewalks dominated discussion at Wednesday night's Clarinda City Council meeting.

By unanimous vote, the council approved the first reading of an amendment to the city's subdivision regulations as they pertain to sidewalks. Clarinda City Manager Gary McClarnon tells KMA News the amendment requires sidewalk installation in all new subdivisions.

"Currently in our subdivision regulations, we do not require sidewalks to be put in the subdivision," said McClarnon. "We've been discussing this for a while about making that requirement. So, what that's going to take is a change in the ordinance. What I did was I put together an ordinance that said, 'sidewalks are required by the city for all new subdivisions, and shall be completed in accordance with the standard specifications of the city.' With that new language added, then any future subdivisions would require sidewalks be put in there."

On another sidewalk-related subject, by a 4-to-1 vote, the council approved the first reading of an ordinance amendment regarding clearing sidewalks following snow or ice events. Currently, McClarnon says the ordinances call for residents to remove snow and ice accumulations from sidewalks within a reasonable time period.

"The city council really didn't like that language, so we did change that," he said. "The language we installed this time is we took out the reasonable time, and we did put in a 24-hour notice. Twenty-four hours of the streets being cleared, people are to remove the snow off their sidewalks. We did change that from reasonable time to now 24 hours."

Another change sets a fee for failure to comply.

"We also put in that the minimum fee, if we have to come in and clear it as a city, shall be set at $100," said McClarnon. "It was also noted that the language said that it is the property owner's responsiblity to make sure this gets done. So, even if you have someone who owns a house, and is renting to a renter, the property owner is still responsible in making sure that the snow and ice is removed from the sidewalk."

Councilman Matt Ridge cast the lone dissenting vote. McClarnon says Ridge thought the fee was too high, and also objected to language calling for ice removal from sidewalks, saying ice is harder to remove.

In other business, the council approved the first reading of an amendment to city ordinances prohibiting smoking and tobacco use on city property, and in city vehicles. McClarnon says the amendment adds restrictions on e-cigarettes and vaping instruments.

"We're still going to prohibit smoking and tobacco use," he said. "We're going to go a step further, and we're also going to prohibit electronic smoking device usage, as well. So, by adding that language, people would also then not be able to use any of the items like vaping, e-pipes, e-cigars, e-cigarettes. We're just trying to prohibit all that from city property."

Council members also set a public hearing for March 11th at 5 p.m. on the city's fiscal 2021 budget.