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NUTHIN' UP MY SLEEVE!: A cow moose rests Tuesday in 3 feet of snow beside the Logan River just west of Tony Grove. / Photo by Mike Sweeney

Today's word on journalism

Friday, March 10, 2006

Help Wanted: U.S. Defense Department Seeks Better PR Officers

"Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but . . . our country has not adapted. For the most part, the U.S. government still functions as a 'five and dime' store in an eBay world."

--U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on why al Qaeda is winning hearts and minds, in speech to U.S. Council on Foreign Relation (Thanks to alert WORDster Mark Larson) WORD Note: The WORD will take the next week off for Spring Break, sleeping in and seeking wisdom. Return: 3/20/06

Planning commission votes to hear parking complaints

By Brad Plothow

February 16, 2006| HYDE PARK -- A few disgruntled neighbors can air their grievances over parking business vehicles at home during an upcoming public hearing, Hyde Park's Planning Commission decided Wednesday.

The commission voted 6-0 to hear a Hyde Park resident's complaints about her neighbor parking business vehicles on the street and on a side yard. No date was set for the hearing, which will likely focus on Ordinance No. 98-2, which sets rules for home business operation.

The commission decided to use the parking complaint as a segue into broader public debate on Section 6.0 of the ordinance, which states: "Other than the applicant's personal transportation there shall be no vehicles or equipment stored outdoors, or in a garage or accessory building on the property associated with the Home Occupation which would not normally be found at a residence."

Commissioners hashed out the issue among themselves for about 20 minutes during their planning meeting Wednesday before voting to hold a hearing. The commissioners' concerns ranged from safety issues to worries about having cumbersome, often unsightly vehicles parked on residential streets.

"Anything that detracts or subtracts from the aesthetics of the neighborhood ought not to happen," Commissioner Stuart Howell said. "It wouldn't be a big deal for me if it weren't unsightly...and if two neighbors weren't involved."

Commissioner David James said he was more concerned with curb-parked business vehicles clogging Hyde Park's already narrow residential streets than he was with keeping the community pretty.

"Traffic and safety ought to be our No. 1 priority," he said. "You can't use the street for business parking. That's why we do zoning."

The Commission talked about possibly holding a hearing to amend Section 6.0, but James was reluctant. Howell made the motion to hear public input on the ordinance, which some commissioners believe is being violated often. Commissioner Mark Lynn said Cook Electric, for example, routinely parks its three-vehicle fleet on a pad outside a home.

James said he wants to be sure that any changes to the ordinance or its enforcement don't create double standard for business owners and residents who park trailers for snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles on residential streets.

"It's difficult for me to say (parking trailers is) fine, but then someone tries to run a business and we clamp down," he said.


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