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Hyde Park: Do businesses get same deals as residents?

October 14th, 2010 Posted in Opinion

By Michael Stewart

HYDE PARK–City Council members met Wednesday to discuss whether or not businesses should be treated as residents when it comes to paying utilities, and what residents can and cannot do on their own properties.

Property owners and residents of Hyde Park pay $35 a month for sewer usage. One of the questions at hand was, does the city treat businesses like it treats residents, charging them $35 a month?

“A building may only have one sewer line, but multiple businesses in that structure, they only get billed once,” said Mayor Bryan Cox. “If we have an apartment complex with one sewer line, but two apartments, we bill them twice. Somehow there is not parity there.”

Some of the complaints on the matter were that businesses pay more property taxes., and that this had nothing to do with parity and everything to do with getting more money out of the local businesses. The council restated that it was a matter of fairness.

Another issue regarding residents was dealing with their property lines. There are laws that state that residents cannot build anything within 30 feet of the road. This states that one cannot add an enclosed, separate structure, something detached from the original structure of their home, in their front yard. There is a 30-foot property line setback.

“The purpose of the setback is to provide spacing and that’s part of the desire we’ve expressed in our general plans and I’m certainly OK with how this is written,” said Councilman Mark Hurd.

There was also an issue with what residents can and cannot do with that strip of property between the sidewalk and the road. There were certain regulations made that stated one could use grass, river rock, or gravel. A water-permeable weed barrier must be laid down to prevent weeds from growing and it must be against a flat curb. There are certain regulations as to how deep the gravel, grass and river rock must be.

“The homeowner will be responsible for the maintenance of the gravel or grass,” and if weeds grow up through it or it loses its functionality, “the homeowner will be responsible to rebuild it,” said Cox.


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