Final readings of four ordinances that have generated some heated discussion in previous council meetings, around tables at local diners and on social media pages will be heard and voted on by the Rolla City Council tonight.
One of the ordinances to be taken up by the council at the 6:30 p.m. session is the authorization of a conditional use permit for a family entertainment and recreation complex at 1100 Highway 72 East.
Josh Noe, owner of Fat Cats Entertainment Complex, has submitted the request for the conditional use permit. He runs the business in a former skating rink building owned by Nick and Charlotte Barrack. It is located behind The Family Center.
Fat Cats offers a mix of entertainment aimed at children, young people and adults.
One of the entertainments for the adults is a bar area at which Fat Cats offers concerts and shows with alcohol available.
The alcohol has not been a problem for the neighbors, but the noise has. Noe and the Barracks have fulfilled several conditions imposed by the city, including soundproof insulation installation and fence construction.
One councilman has stated flat out he will oppose the use permit, while another has said he cannot support it without the addition of an 11 p.m. cut-off time for the concerts and shows.
On the agenda for tonight's meeting in the council chambers at Rolla City Hall is another proposal that has generated some heated, perhaps even fiery, discussion — an "ordinance repealing Chapter 14 of the Rolla City Code and enacting a new Chapter 14 pertaining to fire protection."
This involves the revamping of outdated requirements and the addition of new requirements, as suggested by the City of Rolla Fire and Rescue.
One of the suggestions from the firefighters was a requirement that fire pits be treated like bonfires. Users of fire pits would be required to obtain a burn permit before loading up the pit and setting it aflame.
That requirement stuck in the craws of several councilmen who don't want the government telling them how to use their burn pits, chimineas and freestanding outdoor fireplaces.
At the last council meeting last month, the council slashed that requirement out. They left in the requirement that portable burn pits must be at least 15 feet away from a house or garage or other building.
One councilman groused that some patios are only 10 feet wide, so the burn pits would have to be set up off the patio instead of on the patio close to the house.
A third ordinance to be heard for the final reading is one regarding high grass. The council has lowered the limit of tolerable grass from 12 inches. This has generated more than the usual amount of discussion, although there hasn't been much opposition.
Finally, the ordinance establishing a Rolla Historic Preservation Commission will be considered. The opposition to this came in the Planning and Zoning Commission where a member questioned whether this would lead to incidents in which a property owner would be unable to make improvements or changes to a property because it is a so-called "historic" site.
Despite that concern, the planning commission voted to recommend the council adopt the ordinance.
More controversy could be imminent when the council hears first reading of an ordinance to add regulations to the installation and operation of outdoor wood-burning furnaces.
This is the result of a complaint from a Rolla couple that their neighbors' wood-burning furnace, located upwind, has turned their home into a smokehouse during much of the year.
Also to be heard on first reading is an ordinance to revise the Airport Advisory Committee.
Another ordinance set for first reading deals with signs on public rights of way.
In other business or discussion:
• The council will consider a nomination to fill the council member vacancy in the Sixth Ward, created by the resignation of Franz Mazanec who has moved out of the ward. The appointed person will serve until the April 2014 election.
• Retired Lt. Col. Eric A. Goser will give the council an update on the work of Phelps for the Fort, Association of the United States Army and the Sustainable Ozarks Project, three organizations working to assure the future of Fort Leonard Wood.
• The council will consider the appointment of Bill Marshall to the Rolla Enhanced Enterprise Zone board to complete Mary Davis's unexpired term.
• A motion to appoint Fran Mazanec to the Police Personnel Board to replace Ken Kaunley will be considered.
• Reappointment of Ed Schmidt, Steve Mason and James Sowers to the Airport Advisory Committee will be considered. Appointment of Mike Mathews, representing Brewer Science, to the Airport Advisory Committee will be considered.
• Reappointment of Al Crump to the Board of Public Works will also be considered.
• No closed session is scheduled.