The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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May 7, 2013

Joplin City Council approves neighborhood barrier

JOPLIN, Mo. — Plans to build a screen to shield a neighborhood from lights, noise and a possible errant vehicle on the new Zora-North Main Street interchange have been completed.

The Joplin City Council on Monday night approved a $100,000 allocation to pay for the project.

Resident Linda Lawrence asked the council to approve the project. She said residents on North Missouri Avenue had asked the city in February to take steps to protect them from the problems associated with the ramps that put traffic closer to their houses. She said residents had a number of meetings since then with city representatives to create a plan.

She said the plan favored by the residents calls for a concrete barrier behind their houses about 2 feet 8 inches tall topped by a woven chain-link fence that would provide a shield about 8 feet tall. A double row of evergreen trees, 100 cedars and pines, will be planted along the barrier wall.

“We are very hopeful of approval by you,” Lawrence told the council.

Jack Schaller, the assistant public works director, said the city’s cost would be $100,000, but that the Missouri Department of Transportation had agreed to maintain the barrier since the interchange is located on a state highway.

In other business, the council agreed to adopt a few changes to ordinances related to the city’s new sewer and trash billing function.

Leslie Haase, finance director, told the council that the current ordinance does not allow the city to assess a prorated bill to a sewer customer who starts or ends service during a billing month. The original ordinance also set a tiered rate for late-fee penalties, and that system does not work with the software used to print the bills. The change in the ordinance will allow the finance department to prorate a bill when necessary and assess a flat 10 percent penalty for late payments.

Councilman Mike Seibert asked when a return envelope could be inserted into bills for customer payments.

Haase said a year’s worth of forms for the bills had been purchased. Envelopes were not included because the city was trying to save as much as possible so that more cost did not have to be passed on to customers. It could be late this year or January before the city can change its bills, she said.

Councilman Bill Scearce asked whether drop boxes could be placed at locations such as fire stations so that residents do not have to drive downtown to pay their bills.

The bills can be mailed or placed in a drop box at the back door of City Hall, 602 S. Main St. Automatic bill paying also may be arranged. Haase said online bill payment will be available later.

The council also approved:

• A zoning change from single-family to two-family residential at 1802 New Hampshire Ave. for construction of a duplex.

• Zoning changes from residential to planned commercial at 1731 E. 20th St., and adjoining lots at 1830 and 1902 S. St. Louis Ave., for construction of a Joplin branch of the People’s Bank of Seneca.

• Annexation of property at 32nd Street and Central City Road for the construction of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and elementary school.

• A special-use permit at 2931 E. 17th St. for a parking lot for U.S. Cellular.

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