Crystal approves first set of amendments to ‘cleanup’ city code

‘Practically nothing’s changing,’ says council member

crystal_logoAs part of an ongoing effort to streamline the city’s code, the Crystal City Council unanimously approved on Dec. 15 a measure that amends several portions of the code’s first two chapters.

By and large, the changes remove sections of the code that city staff and officials say are outdated or made redundant by existing state statute, such as a large section in chapter two that outlines the city’s campaign finance regulations.

“Why are we restating what’s in state law?” City Attorney Anne Norris asked rhetorically in a Dec. 30 interview. “We follow it anyhow.”

“Practically nothing’s changing,” said Councilmember Jeff Kolb prior to the Dec. 15 vote. “It’s a cleanup.”

The changes were recommended by Crystal’s city code review task force, which was commissioned last summer. The 14-member task force has been poring over the city’s code chapter by chapter and making recommendations that are then reviewed by city staff, including City Attorney Troy Gilchrest, who said the task force’s purpose is to make the code more usable and understandable for the average citizen.

“These chapter one and two changes are primarily cleanup-related things, trying to address some administrative provisions and largely cleaning up language that is no longer needed,” Gilchrest said at the Dec. 15 council meeting.

The next set of recommendations will cover all or portions of chapters three and four of the code, which govern land use, signage, city commissions and more. Recommendations for those sections – or at least part of chapter three – are slated to be presented to the council at a Jan. 19 work session.

The task force itself is already looking at chapter five of the code, Norris said. The task force is scheduled to meet 7 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the Crystal City Administration Building, 4141 Douglas Dr. N. Its first meeting was June 30.

Contact Joe Bowen at [email protected]