Archive for Thursday, February 25, 2010

Council ends heated deer hunting debate

February 25, 2010

The Basehor City Council took action Monday on one of this year's most emotionally charged items.

The council approved, at its regular meeting, an ordinance that allows bow hunting of deer within the city limits. The vote was 4-1 with council member Bill Moyer opposed.

In January, Basehor resident Joe Nick requested a special permit for deer hunting on his property on State Avenue. Several years ago, Nick had received a special permit allowing him to bow hunt on his property, but the permit had since expired. Nick had told the council in January he wanted to allow people to hunt on his property to manage the deer population, as deer had long been destroying his crops.

Nick spoke at Monday’s meeting, saying the amount of deer in Basehor was quickly growing into a large problem.

“What we’re running into is a serious, serious problem,” Nick said. “They’re way, way overpopulated. Something has to be done. I hope this solves the problem.”

CSE Emblems owner Tom Mills also spoke in favor of the hunting ordinance. Mills said motorists driving near his business, 14505 Parallel, frequently were striking deer.

“Two deer have been hit this week in front of my business,” Mills said. “Quite a few get hit there. I feel we need to do something about it. Bow hunters are pretty ethical about what they do. They don’t zing arrows in the air. They’re not out there shooting guns.”

Several community members had worked to keep the ordinance from passing, citing it as a safety issue and a potential burden to the Basehor Police Department.

Basehor resident Susan Guy said she didn’t have a problem with deer on her property, and she believed police officers already were busy enough without having to patrol deer hunting.

“We have deer; it’s not a problem,” Guy said. “I use deer netting on my vegetables and such that I plant. If you’re going to pass an ordinance, pass it on larger areas of land on the outskirts of town, not allowing it through the city. Our police are spread pretty thin. I don’t think they need to be game wardens.”

Jan Maleta objected to the ordinance, as well, telling the council any kind of hunting in the city posed a safety issue to residents. Maleta also said no one had reported the precise number of deer in the city, so she questioned if Basehor really had a deer problem at all.

“I have not heard the exact number of deer that have even been counted in our city limits. I don’t know if we’re overpopulated or not,” Maleta said.

She also addressed Nick, her neighbor.

“I know he said he can’t grow crops, but I have a tomato garden and it grows just fine. For 14, 15 years he’s been hunting illegally on his property. If he’s been hunting that long illegally, and he still can’t grow crops, there’s something else wrong. I feel like the safety of people here in the city is more important than several bow hunters wanting to hunt, when we don’t even know if we have a problem.”

In voting against the ordinance, Moyer said he wanted something included in the resolution about notifying people when a hunter will be on neighboring properties.

“If we’re going to have a deer stand out there, and I’m your neighbor, I want to know about it,” Moyer said. “To me, it’s courtesy. I don’t intend to support this ordinance without some notification to your neighbors that there’s someone hunting out there.”

Council President Jim Washington concluded the discussion with his contention Basehor did have a problem with deer overpopulation, and something needed to be done. Bow hunting is a safe, effective way of harvesting deer, Washington said.

“There is enough evidence from the gentlemen who are farming here that we do have a problem. And we do have a problem with the number of (deer-related traffic) accidents that occur,” Washington said. “Trapping and moving them someplace else does not work. The only thing that does work is harvesting the deer with public hunting. This is something we need to do here.”

The ordinance legalizes deer bow and archery hunting in certain areas of the city, with each hunter being required to take a proficiency test along with a written exam covering the city’s hunting restrictions and guidelines. Hunters also have to obtain written permission from the landowners, sign a legal liability release, have a state hunting license and a Kansas deer permit and pay the city a $10 fee.

Also on Monday, the council:

• Approved, 5-0, ordinance 566 amending ordinance 315 relating to the cutting of weeds and vegetation, providing for notice and providing for abatement by the city, and providing for the charges.

• Approved, 5-0, ordinance 569 establishing emergency snow routes in Basehor. Signs will be posted on 34 city streets to notify residents they live or are parking on a snow route. The ordinance disallows parking on those streets after snow accumulations of 2 inches or more.

• Approved, 5-0, standard traffic ordinance 570 amending the 2009 standard traffic ordinance to recognize changes in state law regarding juvenile driving privileges and new penalties.

• Approved, 5-0, ordinance 571 establishing school zones for the Sixth Grade Center from Wellington Drive to 155th and Olive streets and for Basehor Elementary School (kindergarten through second grade) from 155th Street and Leavenworth Road to 157th Street and Leavenworth Road.

• Approved, 5-0, resolution 2010-05 amending uniform personnel policies and guidelines for the city of Basehor. The resolution establishes guidelines and rules for city employees using the time clock to track hours worked.

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