Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 22, 2013

Seating, traffic in council agenda

Meeting will feature mayor’s address

By Scott Smith
Tribune staff writer

— Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight’s annual State of the City speech won’t be the only thing on the agenda Monday.

The Kokomo Common Council is expected to take up measures Monday to regulate traffic in the newly-annexed areas of Kokomo and remove restrictions on outdoor seating at local restaurants.

Kokomo city attorney Lawrence McCormack said two ordinances will adopt, without changes, all of the “no parking” areas, intersection controls, speed limits and “no passing’ zones already in place in the eastside and westside annexation areas, into city code.

“It’s just a formality of the annexation,” McCormack said, adding that all of the traffic regulations area already a part of the county’s ordinances.

Since the annexed areas, including Indian Heights, formally became part of the city in January, the city council now has the authority to change the way the public roadways are regulated.

The council can change speed limits, erect or take down stop signs, change automated traffic signals into four-way intersections and so on.

“In the future, if someone comes to us with [a requested change] we’ll take it to engineering and have them look at it,” McCormack said.

The council is also expected to discuss loosening the restrictions now in place for outdoor seating in Kokomo.

The city administration wants to do away with the $250 fee for an outdoor seating permit, as well as the restriction on offering outdoor seating only between April 1 and Nov. 1.

Under the new rules, businesses wouldn’t have to put a railing between their seating areas and the remaining width of the sidewalk. The city would keep the rule that limits outdoor seating areas to no more than 50 percent of the width of the sidewalk area.

“We’re looking to encourage more outdoor seating,” McCormack said. “It always looks nice when you have restaurants with patrons eating outside; it adds to the look and vibrancy of downtown.”

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