Cape council to vote on deer hunting, rental inspection at Monday meeting

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Monday's meeting of the Cape Girardeau City Council looks to hold no shortage of discussions and decisions on a plethora of issues.

"It's kind of the perfect storm," Mayor Harry Rediger said. "There are several issues that could potentially take quite a bit of time."

Among major decisions for the council planned for the regular meeting are a vote that could repeal an ordinance allowing urban deer hunting and a final vote on a rental inspection program. But before the council touches those issues, several more discussions are planned for the study session and likely early in the regular session, when a public hearing is scheduled to be held on the proposed rezoning of a nine-acre tract on Old Sprigg Street Road and Bertling Street.

Items for discussion during the 5 p.m. study session include scooter safety, prompted by the fatal injury crash involving a Southeast Missouri State University student earlier this month, possible enhanced enforcement of alcohol laws, funding plans for projects with revenue from Isle Casino Cape Girardeau and a presentation by Cape Girardeau Police Department staff of an online program for leads.

Rediger said the discussion of alcohol laws has become necessary as the full population of university students has returned to the city for the fall semester, resulting in more problems arising with underage drinking.

"It's a safety concern, both at the university level and at the city level, so we are going to try to take a more proactive stance on that in some manner," Rediger said.

He expects discussion of possible measures that would provide the ability for enhanced enforcement of the city's current ordinances. A closer look at the concerns related to alcohol-related incidents may prompt officials to direct staff to create a new ordinance for consideration by the council, he said.

The cancellation of the council's second meeting in September so its members and city staff could attend an annual meeting of the Missouri Municipal League pushed back a final vote on the rental inspection program, which allowed Councilman Trent Summers time to make revisions to the proposed ordinance's language.

Summers said Friday he is satisfied with the version that will go before the council and will likely vote to approve it, although he anticipates he may bring up several points for further discussion. Concerns with the language in the ordinance pertaining to which parties would be held responsible during a notification process and in the event of ordinance violations were brought to the council by members of the Cape Girardeau County Board of Realtors at previous meetings.

The board's governmental affairs chairman, Ken Kiefer, has read over the final version and said he worries that the language still allows the city to cast too wide a net for responsibility onto some parties, including real estate agents that act as property managers.

The ordinance would require landlords to purchase annual licenses to rent property with a cost based on how many units they own and would mandate maintenance of properties. Some provisions for maintenance and cleanliness would be the responsibility of tenants. Others would be the responsibility of a property manager or owner. Inspections of properties by city staff would be based on complaints by a tenant, landlord or other party. Three or more violations of the ordinance could lead to a suspension of the landlord's license, which would mean they could not rent any new units until repairs were made. Penalties could also include a fine of $500 a day and up to three months in the city jail.

Kiefer said he expects a group of opponents to the ordinance to again attend Monday's meeting.

A group of residents concerned with rezoning of property that would allow for a multibuilding apartment complex to be built on land next to single-family homes and the group opposed to urban deer hunting also plan to address the council.

Keep Cape Safe wants the council to repeal an ordinance that would allow bowhunting for deer inside city limits for four months during fall and winter. The group gathered more than 4,000 signatures from residents in August, effectively suspending the ordinance. Repeal would require a two-thirds majority. If the council does not vote to repeal the ordinance, the issue will go before voters in a future election.

Summers likely won't vote for the repeal.

"I feel that the way the petition was presented was as an opportunity to vote on the issue, and the majority of people who signed it did with that in mind," he said Friday. "It's my belief that we should have an election."

As part of Monday's consent agenda, the council may also approve entering into a cost-sharing agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation for the construction of additional lanes at the intersection of North Kingshighway with Lexington Avenue and Mount Auburn Road, and a roundabout at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and Route W. The projects are expected to ease traffic congestion in those areas.

Monday's study session is set for 5 p.m., followed by the regular session at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at 401 Independence St.


Pertinent address:

401 Independence St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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