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City Council addresses trail expansion, drainage project bids, and new ordinances

The Lennox City Council met Monday, January 8 in the Lennox City Boardroom. With all members present, council members heard agenda items including advertising for bids, purchase of land for trail expansion, and ordinances on short-term rentals and in-home daycares.

City Administrator, Nate Vander Plaats requested Council action on advertisements for bids for the Poplar-Prairie drainage project. “Mayor and Council, this is coming to us from Mitch at Stockwell, I’d like to open sealed bids here at City Hall on February 13 at 3 p.m., your approval will allow us to publish that on the 25th and the 1st and move forward with the project,” he said. Motion approved.

Vander Plaats next requested action to negotiate the purchase of land for a trail expansion project. 

“This comes to us from the Park Board. At the December meeting, the board voted to have City Council begin work to expand the trail system from Blaine to West Evergreen, and you will find in your packets an estimate for expanding that trail with a total cost of $1,150,000. There are a couple of grants that we will pursue for this, the Game Fish and Parks Trail program as well as the DOT program. This estimate does not include crossing Long Creek as we anticipated several years ago. We did cost share that culvert replacement along Cleveland for an eventual trail in future years. No funding is budgeted in 2024 for the budget for the project and I anticipate adding it to the Capital Improvement Plan either in one or two phases,” Vander Plaats said.  Motion approved.

The City of Lennox has been asked to pass a resolution supporting the execution of the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan for Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties. “This is something that doesn’t seem all that exciting but is pretty critical in terms of Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties and their communities use of federal funds and in the future disaster mitigation. Over the past nine months or so, we worked with the Southeastern Council of Governments (SECOG) and all of our partner agencies cities and counties to update the pre-disaster mitigation plan. It is funded under Homeland Security under FEMA and is intended to help plan and direct hazard mitigation before disaster so as to reduce overall risk to populations and structures,” Vander Plaats said. Motion approved.

The Lennox Planning Commission has recommended the adoption of an ordinance regulating short-term rentals in Lennox. 

“This comes to you from the Lennox Planning Commission, they recommend adoption of an ordinance regulating short-term rentals in Lennox. This ordinance as written adds short-term rentals as a conditional use in several districts. It requires property owners to provide proof of sales tax license, that no signs be posted, and the property comply with the City’s international property maintenance code,” Vander Plaats said. 

Upon adoption, information on the new requirements will be mailed to the current short-term rental owners with the expectation that applications will be submitted within the following month. Motion approved.

The Lennox Planning Commission has recommended adoption of a new ordinance further regulating in-home daycares. “This is another ordinance that comes to you at the recommendation of the Planning Commission. Over the last couple meetings, the Planning Commission has discussed and developed a new ordinance regulating in-home daycares. This continues to be a challenge for Lennox, as there is a real need for daycares in our community, but a lack of structure for placement of those daycares. A primary concern expressed by the Planning Commission is the lack of safety requirements for those daycares. In response to their request, we researched the issue, provided a draft ordinance, the City’s adopted International Residential Code provides an appendix for the matter, but it’s not specifically cited as a requirement in the conditional use permit,” he said. The ordinance will allow the City to annually inspect any in home daycares. Motion approved.

The City Council requested Vander Plaats look into information on ordinances on restricted parking on unimproved surfaces. 

“At the December 27 meeting, you requested additional information regarding our ordinance restricting parking on improved surfaces. Kyle Christensen did collect ordinances from several nearby communities and provide them for review in this packet,” Vander Plaats said. 

Christensen noted in his report to Vander Plaats that a concern he hears a lot is that Lennox is not Sioux Falls and does not need Sioux Falls parking ordinances. Vander Plaats feels strongly in his belief that Lennox’s ordinances are not nearly as severe as Sioux Falls’. 

“In Sioux Falls, off street parking needs to be concrete or asphalt, except for the driveway, there is no parking in front of side yards and on 48 hours parking of RV’s in the driveway. Parking in the rear yard is allowed, but the parking space and driveway must be paved,” he said. 

No motion was needed, but council agreed to keep the Ordinance the way that it is currently.

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