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City Council briefs: Setting fence heights; Adams Street narrowing

Setting fence heights

City Council voted Monday, July 9, to make official a long-standing city policy regarding front yard fence heights a part of zoning code. The policy limits the height of a front yard fence to 42 inches. Side and back fences must not exceed 6 feet in height.

After discussion about corner lots, it was made clear that the front of the house is determined by either the front door or the street which the address names. It was also made clear that if people have a reasonable rationale for having a fence higher than 42 inches, that their request may be granted upon consideration.

The ordinance only applies to structural fences and does not apply to hedges.

Special use permits

The council added an amendment to Hastings City Code Chapters 30 and 155 regarding regulations of special use permits.

The amendment adds a one-year sunset clause for the issuance of new permits — a condition that has been practiced by the city since 2002, but never put into City Code.

Another part of the amendment puts a limit on permits that go unused, saying that special use permits will become null and void if the permit isn't being used for three years.

City's financial audit report for 2017

The City's financial audit report for last year was presented to the council. Under Government Auditing standards, Hastings was given a "clean bill of health." Here are some of the highlights from the report:

• The the city's general fund balance is up nearly 5 percent since 2013. The largest form of revenue for Hastings is property taxes.

• Half of the city's spending goes to the Police Department. This is consistent with years past from 2013.

• Across the board, the city came in under budget for the year 2017.

Vacation of right of way

The council held a public hearing for and unanimously passed a proposal of narrowing the right of way of Adams Street south of Third Street.

The proposed plan will narrow the west side of the right of way down to 13 feet, but will maintain a 20 foot wide right of way access to the lake. All utilities lie on the east side of the right of way, so no utilities will be affected by this change

— compiled by Kelsey Roy, staff writer

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