The Wentzville Board of Aldermen will take another look at allowing ‘encroachments’ such as temporary basketball goals in the city right of way, but this time with stricter limits.
The issue of the city allowing temporary basketball hoops at the ends of driveways and in cul-de-sacs first came up several weeks ago when residents reported being cited for their temporary basketball goals. Although the city code prohibits these encroachments, the ordinance was not enforced in the past unless a complaint was made.
The prohibition is not an unusual one, City Administrator David Gipson told 70 West Sentinel. “But it was loosely enforced,” he said.
That changed with the recent hiring of two new city inspectors, allowing proactive sweeps for code infractions of the entire city each year. The inspections turned up a problem: basketball goals that had been permanently set in concrete in the city right-of-way.
“If an infraction is found, everyone on the street with the same infraction will be written up,” Gipson said. “And since city code does not differentiate between permanent and temporary encroachments, that meant that everyone with moveable basketball goals in the right-of-way also received a letter.”
An amendment to allow temporary encroachments was considered at the July 27 meeting, drawing concerned citizens to city hall and prompting a lengthy discussion. The vote to accept the first reading resulted in a tie, which Mayor Nick Guccione broke with his nay vote. City staff was directed to come up with a new amendment, with more restrictions in place.
If the new amendment passes, items classified as “temporary” will be allowed, with limitations:
- Encroachments would only be allowed on residential low-traffic local streets having 40 or fewer homes on the full length of such street.
- The encroachment would only be allowed from April 1 to October 31 of each calendar year.
- The encroachment must be portable, temporary, and not located in the paved area of any street.
- Encroachments would still be prohibited along collector streets and arterial roadways.
The amendment provides for any encroachment that becomes a problem. “The Public Works Director and/or Chief of Police reserve the right to make a determination if the encroachment is reasonable and appropriate,” the ordinance reads. “Upon a finding of conflict with any provision of the Municipal Code of the City or based upon other safety consideration, the Director of Public Works or Chief of Police is authorized to require the owner of the abutting property to remove the temporary encroachment.”
If the first reading is passed, the amendment will receive a second reading and a final vote at a future meeting. Language in the amendment states that it will be revisited and discussed in a year.
The amendment applies to residential areas and not to businesses who are allowed two feet of the sidewalk next to and in front of their buildings for displaying merchandise, or to temporary barriers or warning signs for public safety.