Mitchell City Council to take up proposed texting and driving ban“I previously stated that if the state Legislature fails to pass a ban on texting that I would request that the city of Mitchell consider enacting some form of ordinance to ban texting or distracted driving,” Mayor Ken Tracy said.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell City Council will discuss enacting a ban on texting and driving in the city during its meeting Monday night.
The agenda states the council will consider “Prohibiting text messaging while in control of a moving vehicle on a public street.”
The council first considered the ban in September after Mayor Ken Tracy introduced the idea during a Traffic Commission meeting. Tracy had only been in office a few weeks at that point, but he said he felt it was a law that was needed to ensure public safety.
The council held a spirited debate, with some supporting it and others raising concerns. Councilman Phil Carlson, a lawyer, said he wondered about the legality of police officers sifting through a person’s text messages to ensure after they were stopped by an officer.
In the end, the council agreed to wait to see if the Legislature would enact a statewide ban. Tracy said he was hopeful such a prohibition would be put into place.
For a time, it seemed that might happen, and there was a Mitchell flavor to the effort.
State Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell, the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, has been a leading advocate of a statewide ban on texting and driving for several years. He was the primary Senate sponsor for a bill that would have done just that in the 2013 session, and it easily passed in his committee and on the Senate floor.
But the House Judiciary Committee rejected it 8-5, and the bill didn’t even make it to the House floor. Janean Christensen, now of Brandon, is the widow of Jon Christensen, a rural Mitchell man who was killed in a 2010 crash when a driver who was reading a text slammed into his motorcycle. She came to Pierre to support the bill.
That driver, Justin Iburg, of Mitchell, also pushed for the bill, and both Christensen and Iburg, who were among several witnesses supporting the bill, expressed their disappointment when it failed to emerge from the committee.
Once the Legislature rejected the bill, Tracy said the city would consider joining with four other South Dakota cities - Sioux Falls, Brookings, Watertown and Huron - that have outlawed texting and driving within city limits.
“I previously stated that if the state Legislature fails to pass a ban on texting that I would request that the city of Mitchell consider enacting some form of ordinance to ban texting or distracted driving,” Tracy told The Daily Republic after the bill was defeated in the Legislative committee.
Council President Jeff Smith said the Legislature’s decision means the council will take a look at the proposed ban.
“Now that it doesn’t look like the state will take action I am certain the City Council will again bring up the topic,” Smith said earlier this month. “It is a shame that within the state we could literally have multiple versions of a texting ban as we travel from county to county and city to city.”
The council meets at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers, 612 N. Main St.
In other agenda items, the council will:
Consider declaring three properties public nuisances by passing Resolutions 3079, 3080 and 3081 for buildings at 822 E. Sixth St., 301 E. Ninth St. and 1000 E. Third Ave., respectively.
Will hear a report from the Traffic Committee, which will meet at 7:15 p.m.
Hear a request from Raeburn Moore for a stop or yield sign at the intersection of Elm and Montana. Public Safety Chief Lyndon Overweg wrote a note stating if a sign is installed, he recommends a yield sign.
Hear a request from Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling to approve overnight parking in the 500 and 600 blocks of North Main Street April 20-21, the night of the Mitchell High School prom.
Schilling is also asking to close North Main Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues from 8 a.m. until approximately noon April 30 for the Shrine Circus senior show.
Sit as the Board of Adjustment to:
Set an April 1 date for a hearing on the application of Rachel Hoesing for a Conditional Use Permit to operate a child care center in her home at 421 E. 15th Ave.
Set an April 1 date for a hearing on the application of CJM Consulting Inc., and applicant, Eagle Construction Inc., for a Conditional Use Permit to build two multifamily dwellings with 64 units in each building in the 1301 to 1401 blocks of West 23rd Avenue.
Hear a report from the Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee.
Pick a Mitchell City Council representative to the Consolidated Board of Equalization, which hears appeals on tax assessments.
Set an April 1 date for a hearing on the application to transfer a retail (on-sale) liquor license (RL-5760) from S & H Marketing LLC, doing business as Signatures at 716 N. Rowley Street No. 1, to Shannon and Stephanie Moen, dba Over Time at 716 N. Rowley Street No. 1. Signatures is closed, but the liquor license is still valid.
Set an April 9 date to receive and consider bids for curb and gutter, Project 2013-14, at 1:30 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers.
Set an April 9 date to receive and consider bids for Hitchcock Park playground surfacing tiles, Project 2013-32, at 1:30 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers.
Award bids for the Mitchell Ice & Activity Arena addition, Project 2013-3; rock chips, Project 2013-10; petroleum projects, Project 2013-13; and paving, Project 2013-15.
Award a contract from competitive sealed proposals to Midwest Playscapes for playground equipment for Munroe and Kibbee parks in the amount of $60,000.
Hold a hearing for a proposed resolution of necessity for the construction of sidewalk in the 300 to 600 blocks of West 14th Avenue from Minnesota to Rowley; in the 200 to 300 blocks of West 13th Avenue from Rowley to Sanborn; in the 600 block of West 16th Avenue from Minnesota to Wisconsin; and on North Anderson from Havens to Ash and Palmer Place from Anderson to Cedar Avenue, and then consider adopting Resolution 3069 to build the sidewalks.
Consider adopting Resolution 3076, the plat of Lots A, B and C, Block 5, without Lots H-2 and H-5, in the Sunnyside Addition in the 1100 to 1200 block of South Ohlman for the proposed Morris Equipment project.
Consider adopting Resolution 3077, the plat of Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, Block 1, M.L.C. Addition; West Pine Street; and South Minnesota Street, a subdivision of Block 3, the Morningview Addition, for the proposed Mueller Lumber project, which is bordered by Norway Avenue, Interstate 90, South Miller and South Wisconsin Street.
Consider adopting Resolution 3078, the plat of Lots 2-A and 2-B of the MTI Foundation Housing Addition, a subdivision of previously Platted Lot 2 of MTI Foundation Housing Addition for the new apartment building.
Consider approving Resolution 3082, authorizing the submission of an application for solid waste management program grant funds.
Hold the first reading of Ordinance 2430, amending the city zoning code, Title 10, Chapter Nine, Article F, changing the district classifications of real property from Single Family Residential (R2) and Transportation, Warehousing, and Commercial (TWC) District to a Planned Unit Development (PD) known as the Mueller Lumber Morningview Subdivision, for the proposed Mueller Lumber project.
Consider Ordinance 2431, supplemental appropriations, including $1,000,216 for infrastructure construction as part of the South Point Village tax increment financing district, $220,000 for sidewalk construction, $155,000 for the Woods Addition TIF infrastructure, and $40,000 for a trunk line.
Consider approving an agreement between the city and South Dakota Department of Agriculture (Resource Conservation and Forestry Division) for a riparian tree grant.
Appoint Councilman Steve Rice as a voting member to the Mitchell Public Library Board of Trustees.
Approve these raffle requests: Davison County Democrats, with the drawing to be held May 21; Heart & Sole Cancer Walk, with the drawing to be held June 21; Mitchell Assembly of God, with the drawing to held April 18.
Consider approving an abatement of taxes of $165.46 to Irwin and Debra Hohn for Lot 4 in Block 4 of the Lakeview Second Addition due to splitting the tax bill but creating a double tax.
Consider an abatement of taxes to the city for Lot 2, Block 13, in the original plat of Mitchell due to the collapse of the now-city owned former Longhorn Bar in November 2011. The property had a negative value in 2012.
Will approve department, division and committee reports, including January reports from the Airport Board, Palace Transit, and the Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee, February reports from the Police and Fire divisions, Mitchell Regional Ambulance, the Parks, Recreation & Forestry, the Water Department, Mitchell Municipal Airport, and the Golf & Cemetery Department, as well as a report on February building permits issued.
Approve these pay estimates:
Queen of Peace storm drainage, Project 2012-2, contracted to SPN & Associates. Pay estimate 3 in the amount of $13,950. Ice arena second sheet of ice, Project 2013-3, contracted to Puetz Corporation. Pay estimate 1 in the amount of $163,773.40. Capital Street utilities and street, Project 2013-6, contracted to SPN & Associates. Pay estimate 4 in the amount of $10,600. Dump truck chassis, Project 2013-18, contracted to Westman Freightliner. Pay estimate 1, final, in the amount of $82,949. Gabion rip rap repair for the north side of the spillway, Project 2013-27 contracted to SPN & Associates. Pay estimate 1 in the amount of $7,200. Is scheduled to hear an invocation from a Northridge Baptist Church representative.