Commission to establish building safety board
By RACHEL COLEMAN
• Leader & Times
Liberal City Commission will meet at 6:30 p.m. at 325 N. Washington for its regular meeting and an agenda with a heavy emphasis on housing and residential issues. Among the items slated for a vote are the final reading of an ordinance to rezone a nearly 16-acre piece of land on Liberal’s south side from general commercial to two-family dwellings. The measure was introduced at the last commission meeting and was met with anticipation by commissioners, who pledged to voters in last year’s election that they would take steps to solve Liberal’s housing problems.
Tonight’s agenda also introduces an ordinance designed to give property owners a greater voice in how the city enforces its codes. A building safety board of appeals should soon form, pending approval of Ordinance No. 4423, which describes a seven-person volunteer board made up of tradesmen and citizens.
If established, the building safety board may soon have a full slate, as city codes change. In a related but separate ordinance, numbered 4424, commissioners will be asked to approve a new set of codes for buildings, building regulations and code enforcement. The document outlines updated requirements that adhere to international safety standards, as well as the fee and fine schedule for property owners who want to build a new fence, remodel a bathroom or erect an entirely new structure.
Commissioners will also hear the first reading of an ordinance designed to set up a Neighborhood Revitalization Plan for the City of Liberal. This measure would provide incentives for property owners in key areas — primarily the run-down and out-of-date sections of Liberal — to improve buildings that have become decrepit. Tax rebates would offset the increase in property taxes.
Finally, the commission will examine and vote on establishing a code of ethics for all city officials and employees. The document provides a local response to and interpretation of existing legal standards. In the last city meeting, commissioner Joe Denoyer asked city manager Mark Hall for an update on the ethics policy. Hall responded that the document was “in progress,” and tonight’s meeting will provide a first look at the proposal.
The Liberal City Commission meeting is open to the public.