City committees loosen outdated regulations

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — Fortune tellers should already know, but the city code that has kept them from setting up business within Lima’s city limits is due to be stripped from the city’s books.

During Lima City Council’s Public Works Committee meeting held Wednesday night, councilors and Law Director Tony Geiger ran through some of the city’s outdated code to decide what regulations should be kept regarding particular business establishments.

The catalyst for the meeting was a recommendation made by Councilor Jamie Dixon at last week’s city council meeting when he requested that the language regulating licensure for frozen dessert vendors be loosened to allow past criminal offenders to pursue the career. He argued that the city ordinance council was considering gave too much discretion to the mayor’s office to decide when to reject a license application.

And during Wednesday’s meeting, the public works committee — comprising Councilors Jon Neeper, Todd Gordon and Carla Thompson — agreed. The three motioned to request that Geiger rework the language.

Before they made the motion, however, the committee broadened their considerations as they moved through other regulatory language concerning bevvy of business types, such as bowling alleys, video service providers, cigar stores, bench advertisers, garage sales and solicitors among others.

The majority stayed on the books until further review could be made. City regulations on pool halls, cigar stores, detective agencies, photographers, wrestling events, phrenologists and fortune tellers were slated for removal.

Council also nixed laws regarding “distress sales” currently known as “going-out-of-business sales,” Geiger clarified, “in order to curb the effort of false advertising, which probably was prevalent in 1956.”

Although a fraction of the laws were outdated, Director of Public Works Howard Elstro said some of the language continues to be useful in preventing certain unsavory businesses practices, such as advertising bench scams or unlicensed massage parlors.

In the second meeting of the night, council’s Human Resources Committee continued the idea of regulatory cuts, but this time, the primary concern involved some of the events held at Jameson Manor. Currently, the rental outlet must apply for a noise permit for each event held, but the regulatory measure can be cumbersome for both the business and the city, who must generate permits for each event. A single noise permit that would allow the businesses to host events through a defined time frame might be a solution, Geiger said. The committee made no motion until more information could be confirmed regarding the situation.

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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