During a meeting last week, Peosta City Council members signed off on a separation agreement with a former police official, addressed residential fencing regulations and expanded the city’s urban renewal area.
Council members voted unanimously to approve a separation agreement between the city and former Peosta Police Chief Jim Riley. Per the agreement, Riley will be paid his regular salary from the date of his termination — April 8 — through June 16.
In the most recent fiscal year, Riley’s salary was $38.69 per hour or $80,475 per year. Per the agreement, Riley also will stay on the city’s health and dental insurance plans through the end of 2019.
Riley, the city’s chief since 1999, was “separated” from his job in early April, according to city officials. No additional details have been provided.
City Administrator Whitney Baethke said city officials will be accepting applicants for the position for the next month.
“There is an internal candidate who is very qualified and the council is supportive and certainly hopes that she will apply for the position,” she said. “But they definitely feel it’s best to do the residents justice by opening it up.”
Much of the discussion this week centered on possible residential fencing regulations, a topic posed by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. No such ordinance currently exists.
Commission members suggested that the City Council require 4- to 5-foot setbacks from property lines to ensure lawn maintenance. They also would like to see restrictions on what materials can be used.
“(The commission’s) recommendation at this point is fencing would be disallowed in the front yard, and then a 6-foot max height would be enforced everywhere else,” Baethke said.
Baethke said with the city’s continued growth, “our office has been fielding calls like crazy about fencing.” Developing an ordinance would help current residents and prospective homeowners, she said.
Council Member Kathy Orr questioned the setback width between properties.
“In theory, if both properties wanted a fence, then you’d have a walkway in between them,” she said.
Council Member Gerry Hess also mentioned the setback width could present safety concerns as the fences could make it difficult to see into certain areas.
Officials also suggested looking at what surrounding cities have done, and exploring the possibility of a permitting process. Baethke was instructed to draft an initial permit for review.
Council members also added six properties to Peosta’s urban renewal plan, making them eligible for tax-increment financing benefits. The move follows a public hearing last month in which several potential projects were highlighted.
Baethke said the projects, which include a possible new Dollar General location, the purchase of land for an unspecified “commercial development project” and construction of a new road at the West Dubuque Industrial Park, are still being discussed.