Cape officials to establish open burning task force

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The city has used a special task force to help craft animal-control regulations.

Cape Girardeau city officials plan to establish a task force to study whether to further restrict open burning of leaves and other yard waste.

The city council Monday night agreed to a proposal by city staff to establish the task force. It would include city fire marshal Mike Morgan and assistant city attorney Reagan Holliday as well as four residents yet to be appointed, city manager Doug Leslie said.

The city's action comes in response to concerns raised by Cape Girardeau resident Robin Boyer, whose daughter suffers from asthma. Boyer told the council recently that smoke from burning leaves adds to breathing difficulties for those suffering from asthma.

Mayor Jay Knudtson pointed out that a special task force helped craft a new animal-control law. Utilizing a special task force could work in this case too, he said.

In other action, the council filed a recommendation from the planning and zoning commission to deny a developer's request to rezone a 12-acre tract of undeveloped land in Ashland Court subdivision from a single-family residential district to an R-4, multifamily residential district.

Developer Eric Marquart wants to build apartments, but nearby homeowners strongly oppose the idea. Nearly 20 homeowners showed up at Monday night's council meeting to oppose the proposed zoning change. The developer didn't attend but still has the right to ask the city council to consider the rezoning.

The homeowners said they don't want to live near apartments. They said they would hurt property values.

Subdivision resident Tom Gaffigan of 1371 E. View Ridge Drive said he and others in the subdivision had little warning of the rezoning request. A posted sign was located in a largely isolated area, away from existing residents, he said.

Knudtson said the city needs to do a better job of notifying surrounding property owners of rezoning requests.

Councilwoman Loretta Schneider said the city needs a comprehensive zoning plan so developers know up front what can be built in an area and what can't.

Knudtson said it's possible that the developer still will ask the council to consider rezoning the land.

335-6611, extension 123

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