Parkville board takes aim at preventing unwanted outdoor displays

Displays will get a bit tidier in Parkville with the passage last week of an amendment to municipal code addressing outdoor storage and the proper uses of unusual items.

The Parkville Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the amendment at its regular meeting. The planning board approved the amendment in December, at a meeting highlighted by a presentation by community planning director Sean Ackerson, who illustrated his points with humorous pictures of questionable displays.

“Particular favorites were the inflatable dinosaur and the toilet squirrel feeders,” Ackerson told the board.

According to Ackerson, storage of junk, trash or excessive items — sometimes causing obstruction of traffic and parking issues — are common complaints. These common issues are currently regulated by various chapters of the Parkville Municipal Code and property maintenance code.

However, the collective codes and regulations do not fully or clearly regulate the storage or display of products, goods, materials or other items outside buildings or structures and some of the related issues. The amended code addresses inconsistencies in the code, defines terms and fills gaps.

Alderman Marc Sportsman asked if the code defines the differences between displays and junk for businesses.

“There was no attempt made to define those other than for public events,” Ackerson said. “We don’t try to determine if that window off of a 1920s house is vintage decoration or if it’s junk.”

The code will address those who might attempt to repurpose a washing machine as a doghouse, or other unusual situations, as well as more common complaints such as unlicensed junk vehicles and trash. The code revision will also allow residents to legally place trash on the curb for pickup late the night before the scheduled service.

Although most people did so already, the old code technically prohibited trash from being placed on the curb before 6 a.m. on the day of pickup.

The board also adopted the 2012 International Family of Building Codes after a year-long process.

In February 2013, the city announced the intent to adopt the codes to replace the existing 2006 codes. Public meetings were held with builders, developers and other interested parties last summer, and staff met with builders, developers and other interested parties individually. Primary concerns expressed were excessive insulation and sealing not previously required.

Separately, the State of Missouri prohibited the codes from requiring installation of sprinkler systems in residential units.

The board held off on consideration of an ordinance to approve a potential board appointment to fill the Ward 3 seat vacated by Kendall Welch at the end of 2014. A special meeting will be held sometime this month to handle the appointment.