HAWARDEN—For several weeks the Hawarden City Council meetings have focused on cleaning up the community, parking regulations and moving Hawarden forward.
Though the council saw multiple comments to an online story regarding concern for the proposed ordinance, just one resident spoke at its regular monthly meeting Wednesday, Oct 10.
“I am here with concerns about your second reading of Ordinance 706,” said Jerry Jensen of Hawarden. “I have not read the actual ordinance, so I can’t state. But, one thing I don’t understand for sure is it says storing vehicles on unimproved areas, that’s not only a problem with vehicles, it’s also a problem campers and trailers, which is not addressed in that wording. The next thing is, an improved area, which I have heard stated you are suggesting could be gravel, if that improved area is right in front of the house, I’m thinking I would much rather have them park anywhere else then right in front of the dwelling on a gravel surface. Besides that, how is gravel an improvement? What is an improved surface? People have too many objects and not a lot of location.”
Council members listened intently and wrote down several notes.
“My question is how do you force this ordinance? You can’t pick and choose who is violating and not violating,” Jensen said. “What advantage do we get to have ugly patches of gravel in peoples yards. I heard commented from your last meeting you were concerned about the mud coming from the area, but I have lived here a long time and I have never seen that a problem.”
Jensen finished by acknowledging the fact that there are several vehicles on properties and figuring out where to best park them is something that should be done, but he does not believe the ordinance will solve the root of the problem.
Police chief Corey Utech addressed Jensen’s comments.
“Number one ... the conversation is the best part about all of this,” he said. “The last 10 months that I have been here, just stimulating conversation about the things that we haven’t been talking about, is awesome — whether you agree with it, whether you don’t agree with it. Just the fact that we can sit down and talk about it and try to figure it out is pretty amazing.”
Utech encouraged Jensen to read the whole ordinance, telling him several of the questions are answered in the ordinance itself.
If the ordinance becomes a code, Utech said the police department will take on the enforcement aspect of it.
“You talk about the gravel and how you don’t understand how the defined edge is going to make it look better,” Utech said. “Our goal in this is: one, provide an improved surface; but secondly, we also want to have a specific location.”
Utech gave and example with the recent rain of a residence he has been monitoring. The vehicle is now encroached deep into the green space, creating a new parking area because the residents do not want to park in the mud.
No further comments were given on the five-minute open business from the community.
Following the meeting, Jensen was given a copy of the ordinance and Utech was pleased to hear Jensen's opinion had changed.
“Fortunately, Mr. Jensen was provided a copy of Ordinance 706 and after he had read the law, his opinion has changed completely,” Utech said. “He is now in favor of the ordinance and was upset that people have misconstrued the truths about the law.