Purdy explores new fence ordinance

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Steps taken toward buying bigger public works truck

Purdy aldermen moved closer to a new ordinance on fences and purchase of equipment to enhance the city’s snow removal ability.

An incident last year where one neighbor blocked access to another neighbor’s fence prompted police intervention. To clarify fence standards. Mayor Bo Prock unveiled a new ordinance to address the gap of clarity over fence use. Included were the following definitions and requirements:

• Privacy fences were described as being no more than 8 feet high and not located closer to the front property line than the nearest portion of the rear of the building. Privacy fences must be made of wood, but may have metal posts. Maximum board width is 12 inches, covering solid, staggered or basket weave fences.

• Decorative dances were described as being no more than four feet high and of open construction. Decorative fences may be made from wood, woven wire, chain link, wrought iron, square tubing or metal pipe, as long as it has open construction and no panels, such as plywood, water board, or sheet metal.

• Security fences were described as having a height of no more than 12 feet, allowable on any business or industrial lot. Solid panels or plywood, wafer board, sheet metal etc. would be allowed. All such fences would have to be removed when the construction project was completed. Security fences could not have more than the top four feet made of open wire, woven wire or barbed wire construction.

• Framework of privacy and decorative fences would have to be on the inside portion, as well as posts. All posts, except metal ones, were required to be at least 4-by-4 inches, and be set in concrete to a minimum depth of 18 inches. Metal posts could be driven into the ground.

• Except for barbed wire on security fences, no fences would be allowed to have any spikes, sharp-pointed crestings, razor wire or electrified fence that could tear, snag, cut or injure persons coming into contact with it.

Violations would be subject to fines between $25 and $500.

Police Chief Jackie Lowe said the ordinance was largely derived from state ordinance. It did not account for fences made of stacked pallets or rustic wood rail fences. Aldermen wanted those included, Prock said he wanted to add a paragraph requiring maintenance.

The ordinance was sent back to City Attorney Darlene Parrigon for revision.

Prock called for an open discussion on how to improve the city’s snow removal effort. Alderman Bobby Brown provided a catalogue listing for an F350 truck costing around $38,200, a truck similar on one he drives for the City of Monett’s street department. Council members speculated about selling both trucks in the public works department fleet, buying the F350 and a small truck for running errands around town.

Prock said the city ended up buying the new police Explorer outright. That left the financing deal offered by First State Bank available for purchase of the truck. Council members agreed to look at surplus vehicles from the government and truck prices from a couple vendors in hopes of moving on a new truck as early as March.

In other business:

• Lonnie Lowery with the public works department reported that with the move of City Clerk Debbie Redshaw to city manager, departments submitted more detailed monthly reports to aldermen. Lowery indicated Redshaw had organized a work list that provided specific projects and progress to achieve.

Aldermen agreed to buy a freeze plug, a device that will freeze the end of a water line, allowing workers to remove a live line and attach a valve without getting soaked.

“It will pay for itself on the first use,” Lowery said.

Aldermen authorized spending $535 for the device, $235 for a CO2 bottle and shipping for a total of $900.

• Police Chief Lowe turned in his annual report, showing an increase in crime over the past year. Calls for service rose to 739, up 4 percent from the previous year, the first increase since 2012. Arrests jumped to 70, up 19 percent, the first significant increase in five years. Thefts rose to 37, up 85 percent for a seven-year high. Burglaries spiked from three to eight, back to the seven-year average.

Cases totaled 197, one short of double last year, the largest tally in seven years.

Lowe attributed much of the theft rise to the more than 20 car break-ins during the summer. Several juveniles were interviewed, but the cases were not closed. Lowe said without those incidents, cases would have been similar to 2016.

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