Evart looks to revise city codes

New special events ordinance being considered

The Evart City Council is considering possible amendments to some city codes. The recodification project will be taken up again at the first council meeting in January. (Herald Review photo/Cathie Crew)

The Evart City Council is considering possible amendments to some city codes. The recodification project will be taken up again at the first council meeting in January. (Herald Review photo/Cathie Crew)

EVART — The city of Evart is in the process of reviewing and discussing possible changes to some city ordinances, city council members learned at a recent meeting.

“After review and discussion, council requested five sections of the draft ordinances be addressed to ensure full transparency to the public,” City Manager Sarah Dvoracek said at the Dec. 21 council meeting. “Council will not adopt any amended ordinances until the following regularly scheduled meeting. The purpose for this process is to give the public an opportunity to provide feedback to the council before they decide.”

The five sections being reviewed include: a new dog ordinance; a new special events ordinance; a new noise ordinance; a revised weed and grass ordinance; and a revised camping ordinance.

The dog ordinance calls for dogs to be leashed if in an unrestricted (fenced) area and requires all dogs within the city be licensed. It also states that any female dog in heat must be kept on the owner’s premises and “vicious dogs” must be muzzled and led by a leash unless otherwise confined.

The ordinance limits dog ownership within the city to three per household, unless they are under six months old and born to the household.

And anyone owning a dog within the city limits is required to remove any feces “deposited by the dog” on public property.

The proposed noise ordinance prohibits any “nuisance” noise caused by animals, loudspeakers or amplifiers, musical instruments, engine exhausts, blowers, horns or sirens, hawking, shouting and whistling, or construction except between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Other exceptions include emergency vehicles or activities necessary for the public welfare.

The main change to the weed and grass ordinance is the change in maximum allowed height for grass from 12 inches to 9 inches, Dvoracek said.

Attorney Jim White expressed concern over the “vagueness” of the ordinances.

“I just want the council to be aware that there is some vagueness and we will have to work that out on a case by case basis,” he said. “Most of the dog and noise issues are going to come from complaints.”

Police Chief John Beam said they typically will try to remediate problems by talking to the person responsible and build some documentation in case it goes to court.

“With barking dogs, I will listen and see what the dog is actually doing – if it is a bark here and there, or if it is continuous,” he said. “We are trying to get a decibel reader so that we can have additional evidence for noise complaints, as well.”

Council member Matt Hildebrand said, “I like the idea of a dog ordinance and I think we need to have one, but I think that one needs some rewording to be enforceable. It requires a six-foot fence but doesn’t address an underground fence. Maybe it should say the dog must be contained in such a way that it does not leave the premises, that is really what we are trying to do.”

With regards to the special events ordinance, Dvoracek said the city has not previously had a special events ordinance in place, although they have a special events policy that they have referred to in the past.

“This is the ordinance, and we will still have a policy in place that addresses the application and insurance requirements, as well as other things, that will be based on this ordinance,” she said.

The special events ordinance will require anyone seeking to host a special event to obtain a permit from the city. Additional permitting will be required for public events where alcohol will be served.

Any street closures or use of state or federal property will have to be approved in advance and will require a permit.

For additional information on the proposed additions and changes to the city codes, visit evart.org or call 231-734-2181.

In other business, the council approved the following:

• A motion to approve the 2021 Health Insurance renewal plan for non-union employees.

• A motion to approve creation of a special advisory board to review the development agreement with Evart Industrial Propoerties, Inc.

• A motion to approve the revised city purchasing policy.