The Park Hills City Council met in regular session Tuesday evening to hear public comments, discuss city property and to set public hearing dates.

First, the council heard from a homeowner who presented the council with a petition and list of complaints regarding a neighbor who she reported had become a nuisance and a danger to members of the neighborhood.

She reported the man was illegally living in a commercial property, had repeatedly harassed neighbors and had been observed peering into the windows of homes. She requested the man be removed from the premises by the city in some way.

City Attorney Ed Pultz advised the woman that the city could not simply evict the man, but advised her to seek higher authorities to lodge her complaints. City Administrator Mark McFarland said the problem was known to the city and Park Hills Police Department and that efforts had been made to resolve the issue.

“We’re doing our best to try to remedy this,” McFarland said.

A second Park Hills resident spoke to the council about an issue regarding nighttime activity at Elvins Park. She said individuals were regularly observed at night in the park, performing what appear to be drug transactions. She requested the Park Hills Police Department more rigorously patrol the park at night to deter such activity.

“I want somebody down there more than just on a Saturday,” she said. “I know Park Hills is a big town, but I don’t feel like Elvins should be forgotten because we still are there.”

In council discussion, Alderman John Clark discussed the topics that had been brought to the council by the residents. Clark said he understood the concerns and that it is important for the city to admit that there is a vagrancy issue in the area.

“It really concerns me,” Clark said. “I think that we’ve got a major problem in this community. Not just Park Hills, but the whole area. It’s really scary, to be honest with you.

“I think, as a council, we need to have some serious discussions. We’re not going to solve world hunger or anything like that, but I would really like to have an around-the-table discussion with the police department to get some sort of report on what the issues really are in this community.”

Naucke said he would set a meeting with the council and the police department to discuss the issue and to work on cleaning up Park Hills.

In his city administrator’s Report, McFarland applauded the street department, the parks department and the fire department for the success of Central’s homecoming parade.

McFarland then reported on city efforts to remedy a situation at a business in downtown Park Hills. He said since 2014, First Stop Muffler has been cited 46 times for unlicensed vehicles, junk and debris, unlicensed boats and for attempting to sell a vehicle without a license. He said the matters have gone to court several times without any successful resolution.

He said the business had been visited and advised that if the matters were not corrected within 30 days, the city would revoke the business's license. McFarland described the conditions under which a business can have its license revoked, saying First Stop Muffler’s license could be revoked under two of the ordinance-provided reasons.

In committee reports, Alderwoman Charlotte House reported that the Parks/Library/Senior Center Committee had met and discussed the trees planted downtown. She said the committee recommended that eight to 10 trees planted in metal grates in the downtown sidewalks be removed along with the grates and concrete poured over the empty space. The committee recommended the trees planted in “green space” be left, but trimmed.

The council decided to remove one tree that was especially causing damage to the adjacent sidewalk, leave all other trees, trim the trees that need trimming and to consult a professional to find a species of tree that would suit the downtown area without causing damage.

Mayor Daniel Naucke then raised the subject of the two-bag limit on trash collection, saying he has received multiple phone calls about the topic.

“I’d like to do either one of two things,” Naucke said. “I’d like to either raise the limit to three or four bags or open it up, and then let us address it at the end of the year if we go over.”

The council voted to write an ordinance for future approval that would raise the limit to four bags, with the understanding that the city would monitor the trash department in the future to see how the new limit affects the department.

 In new business, the council approved an ordinance for the mayor to enter into an agreement with Spire, Inc. gas company to relocate gas lines related to the Fairgrounds Dr. extension project, at an estimated cost of $20,850.

The council also approved contracting audit services from Boyer and Associates as well as Crouch, Farley & Heuring PC.

The council set public hearings for the following matters for Nov. 14 at 6 p.m.: a zoning change for newly annexed property at 915 5th Street, a request to close an alley between the 600 block of Missouri and Pennsylvania Street, a request to close a portion of an unimproved street between lots at 716 West Buckley Street, a special use permit to operate a bed and breakfast at 32 Hill Street and for amendments to zoning regulations related to table of permissible uses.

The council approved appointments to the library board and also approved an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Gordon Bess Construction, Inc. for the demolition of a city-owned house located at 1380 Woodlawn Drive, with the understanding that the city would confirm that the contractor has the proper licenses to remove asbestos. The company bid $18,000 for the demolition.

Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at jscott@dailyjournalonline.com.

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