Debate Erupts Over Proposed Fence

A neighborhood in Manhattan is embroiled in a dispute as home owners square off over a proposed fence.

It all started in 2004 when the Kansas department of transportation decided a screening fence was not needed in the construction of the K-18 corridor next to Arbor Drive on the west side of town. Over the course of time several concerned homeowners … who say they are worried about safety and noise among other things…worked with city officials and KDOT to come to a joint proposal to facilitate the construction of the fence, and passed a petition towards completing the project.

Part of the initiative would mean homeowners who are involved with the project would have to pay a third of the costs for construction of the fence. The estimated cost of the project is $141,000.

Arbor Drive resident Ronald Hinkle voiced his opposition to the project and said he just wants the city to allow him the opportunity to build a fence on his yard if he deems it necessary. Hinkle said he believes citizens should not be forced to pay special taxes to fund group projects.

After much debate back and forth by homeowners the commission decided there was no clear course to proceed with the project. Commissioner Wynn Butler joined other commissioners in saying the homeowners were passing up a unique opportunity, but didn’t want to go forward with the resolution due to lack of clarity within the community.

The proposed fence would have been over 1200 feet long, and provided a barrier for safety, sight and sound for the homeowners. The commission voted to find the petition sufficent, but not approve the resolution. The residents now have the opportunity to hash out any differences before coming back to the commission. Commissioner Rich Jankovich had some parting advice for the homeowners saying “Come back with something solid to us.”

New water rates are going to be in effect in 2014. An expected %4  rate increase for high load commercial users will be used to help offset shortfalls in water revenues from a more temperate summer. During Tuesday’s Manhattan City Commission meeting Finance directer Bernie Hayen laid out the particulars.

Personal water rates are not expected to rise, but Commissioner Wynn Butler is requesting community members give a dollar for the social services fund with their water bill.

Installation fees are also on the rise with a hike from just over 1-thousand 20-dollars to well over 15-hundred dollars. Hayen says material costs are one of the reasons for the hike in the installation charges. The new rate increases will allow the city to cover operating costs, and save cash on hand for contingencies.

A big event is planned on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Blue Earth Plaza is slated to light a fifty foot Christmas tree in celebration of the holiday season. Event organizers expect many local and national officials to be on hand for the event which is co-sponsored by Candlewood Inn and Suites as well as the Hilton Garden Inn.