Resident Seeks Clarification on Davis Grass and Weed Ordinance

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Arlene Karesh, resident of Davis, attended the Town Council meeting seeking clarification on the recent grass ordinance passed and how it effects her natural garden.

By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate

 Davis town resident Arlene Karesh attended the Davis Town Council  meeting to discuss the amendments made to the grass ordinance.  “It was my understanding that it was my lawn that needed to be mowed, which I have done,” proclaimed Karesh, though she acknowledged there is a field that also needs mowed.  “But then two days ago, I was informed that it was not just my lawn, it was my garden,” she continued.

Karesh expressed enjoyment for nature, birds, butterflies, and other similar creatures and has therefore established a native, wildlife garden.  She researched what was native to the area and planted the perennials on a section of her property to sustain this habitat.  Davis Mayor Doug Martin went to the property to discuss the issue with Karesh which led her to attend the meeting for further clarification if her garden was permissible within the town limits according to the ordinance.

With consideration to others, Karesh approached her immediate neighbors to ensure no offense was taken to her garden, to which she claims they had no issues.  Her desire is to adhere to the ordinance and wishes to fully comply.  Councilwoman Cindy Robeson asked about the blooming period of the species which Karesh responded it varies from spring throughout the summer and fall.  Karesh has taken classes at the Wildlife Refuge to further her understanding of providing these plants to the insects, birds, and other wildlife who benefit from them.  She invited the council to come to her property to further understand the layout and provide guidance on the issue.

Robeson agreed that finding a way to designate the area as a garden would help the matter, such as squaring off the plot and placing stones around the perimeter.  Councilwoman Lisa Cousin added that too, what is considered beautiful and suitable for outside of town limits can be different than what is expected and accepted within the confines of municipalities.  Some of the council has agreed to go to the location and gain an understanding of the situation after which they can make a decision at the next council meeting.

While dispensed from regular session to hear from the guests, Angie Lipscomb updated the council that she had emailed a survey to Town Hall to guage the interest of returning recycling services to the area.  These surveys were printed off and will be available at Town Hall in addition to several other willing businesses and establishments throughout the town.  Council agreed to put a note on the water bills to inform the residents of the survey and encourage their participation.  The surveys are due no later than September 30 so results can be tallied and presented to Sunrise Sanitation.

Jeanette Ware expressed concern for the safety of the citizens due to motorists failing to abide by traffic signs, specifically stop signs at the junction of Fifth Street and Fairfax Avenue.  Martin will contact Tucker County Sheriff Brian Wilfong to request additional patrol in the area in attempt to prevent potential injury of another motorist or pedestrian.

The meeting returned to regular session with Martin outlining the accounts payable in the amount of $12,471.50.  Councilman Al Tomson made the motion to approve with a second by Felton and all in favor.  Councilman Terry Helmick provided a list of completed jobs pertaining to streets, alleys and water works and added that the demolition project on Fairfax Avenue has been completed along with reseeding.

An aerial map of the Davis Town Cemetery was reviewed outlining the property owned by the town.  Issues have arisen in the past of hunting and trespassing taking place resulting in Martin recommending the posting of the property.  That action was done at the last meeting.

Tomson took a moment to brief the council in regards to the sewage issues within the town.  “As you all know, we got the fine from the DEP and they also told us that we were in the queue to have a meeting,” began Tomson.  “In the meantime, you’ve got the state parks who are really pushing Woodlands to build temporary worker housing in the old Davis Center because they’ve been putting their winter employees in actual rooms in the hotels so it’s taking rooms away from other people that want to stay there and it’s reducing their revenue, and they still want to take care of their workforce,” he continued.  The Development Authority recently had a meeting with the Secretary of Commerce Gaunch, when this project was discussed.

One of the first questions asked was referring to the issues with the sewer in Davis.  “I told them that we’re limited to 120,000 gallons effluent per day, most of the month we exceed that,” Tomson continued.  He added it’s not only issues with the effluent but also the infiltration and inflow that add to the problem.  “This has been going on for years if not decades,” stated Tomson, “this is not a new issue.”

 He explained at the meeting that the town was fined by the DEP and a feasibility study for the entire county, not just Davis, is on the horizon.  He stated that he has been working with Steve Leyh with the Development Authority for over a year on this study prior to the issue of the fine and a request for proposal was already submitted.  Those proposals have already returned, 14 in total,that will be reviewed by a team to determine which will be successful.

Tomson stated that a meeting with the DEP was needed to update them on the progress of the situation so they are aware of the attempts to correct the issues and they do not continue to receive fines.  The Secretary of Commerce expressed his understanding and concerns and stated he may call the DEP on their behalf, which led to a meeting on the schedule with the second in command of the DEP, second in command from the Department of Commerce, the Development Authority, and Region VII.  Topics will include the sewer issues and concerns of the town of Davis, along with the needs throughout the state.

Recorder Andy Snyder also announced that Blackwater Lodge will be shutting down for the winter season to perform renovations.

Council received a letter under correspondences that announced the National Bank of Davis, as of July 6, 2020, has been added to the Registry of Historic Places.

Tomson then made a motion to pay the bills with a second by Felton.  This concluded the meeting which adjourned with a motion from Robeson and Cousin.  The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 9, at 6:30 p.m.