PALMER – Palmer Police Chief John Zaidle announced he will begin a city-wide clean-up program to eliminate tall grass and unsightly conditions at the Palmer City Council’s meeting Tuesday.

“I’m starting on the east side and working to the other end of town,” Zaidle said. “I’m just beginning on the east side, but this (property) is the worst I’ve seen so far in the city.”

The chief was referring to a property located on East Jefferson and owned by Suzanne Holly. Zaidle requested the council take action authorizing the city to begin the process to clean up large piles of brush, high weeds, materials and equipment on the property.

“She’s been issued several citations and has paid them all, but the conditions still exist,” Zaidle said. 

He asked if the city could go in and clean up the property and put a lien on it for the expense to the city. 

City Attorney Larry Jackson explained the process beginning with sending a notice by registered mail, holding public hearings and approval to proceed with the clean up would have to follow set procedures. 

“Due to the different material involved, different time tables would have to be followed,” Jackson said. 

A motion made by Mayor Pro Tem Lance Anglin to allow the city code enforcement, city manager and city attorney to begin the process to clean up the property was unanimously approved.

City Administrator Doug Young proposed another action to prevent unsightly conditions in the city, which was met with mixed opinions. Young requested the council look at amending the city’s storage building ordinance. Specifically, Young requested they place a ban on metal storage containers for use in residential areas or metal shipping storage buildings.

“The way the current ordinance is written, metal shipping containers are allowable,” Young said. 

Councilman Jeffery Greenlee told the council he had heard of someone who wanted to use a container while their house was being built for equipment storage and then leave it as a storage building. 

“I wouldn’t want one of these in the yard next to my house,” Young said. 

While Anglin said he had no problem with the shipping containers, he did mention other constructed storage buildings he’s seen.

“Some of those (containers) are much better looking than some constructed storage buildings I’ve seen in town,” he said. 

Other members of the council agreed with Young. Councilman Wallace Hughey Jr. made the motion to prohibit the use of metal shipping containers as storage buildings in the city. The motion passed by a 3-1 margin with Anglin in opposition.

In other business, the council heard two zoning requests and voted to pass both.

The first was a request by Greg Penny to change a property located at 102 North Dallas to commercial with a specific use permit.

The request came before the council during their November meeting, but due to required timing between the public hearings, the ordinance consideration was delayed for final consideration.

Penny’s request was to allow a convenience store that would not sell gasoline, but would sell beer and wine. During the last meeting, the request passed by a narrow margin. The final vote passed by a 3-1 margin with Council member Dianne Drewery casting the dissenting vote.

The other zoning change request was made by resident Jack Witt to amend a zoning ordinance to allow a variety of uses for property he owns at 1400 N. Interstate Highway 45. The possible uses Witt requested were truck and trailer storage and sales, truck terminal and shop, separate dealerships for display and sale of construction equipment, motor vehicles and semi-trailers. Swap meets were also included in the request.

“One of the plans I have is to have a swap meet that could draw 4,000 to 5,000 people to Palmer on a weekend,” Witt said. 

He told the council he has talked with a promoter who has put on these swap meets successfully and indicated there is a good potential for one in the Palmer area.

Witt’s request passed by a unanimous vote.