Rexburg City Council appointed a new police chief, received updates on University View’s transition to community housing and brainstormed ideas to enforce rules for dog owners in city parks during their meeting on June 1.
New police chief
The first thing the city council did was ratify the mayor’s choice for chief of police. Josh Rhodes, who currently serves in the Rexburg Police Department, will be sworn in later in June.
“It’s a great honor to be a part of the great department we have,” Rhodes said. “My goal is to keep it moving forward. There’s a lot of change in our world and a lot of change in our community. That’s something that we will adapt to. We will continue to represent the city and do our best to serve the city.”
Rhodes will replace Shane Turman, the current police chief, when Turman retires on June 24.
Updates on University View Condos
The City Planning and Zoning Department shared updates on the transition of University View from single-student housing to a condominium.
Currently, the property offers parking for 75% of future condo residents. As a result, the condo won’t be able to rent out short-term rentals — rentals with contracts for fewer than 30 days. Colin Erickson, a member of the city council, expressed concern over the lack of adequate parking and enforcing the no short-term rental rule.
Kyle Baldwin, a planner from the Planning and Zoning Department, said the city has resources to express Erickson’s concerns and presented a solution that would address both of his problems.
“They do have the possibility of adding parking and then they would be allowed to remove the short-term rental restriction if they chose to build additional parking,” Baldwin said. “Without additional parking, they cannot be used for short-term rentals.”
Bryanna Johnson, a member of the city council, shared concerns that community members expressed to her and attempted to assuage them.
“They’re wondering why we’re allowing our real estate right by campus to change,” Johnson said. “Our legal counsel has reminded us that we can’t discriminate based on who’s living and who’s occupying the rental, so we really don’t have an option to change that. We don’t have a zone that’s a single-student housing zone. Our hands are kind of tied on that.”
Johnson said the council would receive help to brainstorm solutions to address concerns over parking from those converting University View.
City park enforcement
The mayor and city council finalized plans to keep city parks clean. The city is creating signs detailing the city ordinances to keep dogs on leashes and to pick up after them. The signs will also outline potential punishment for breaking the rules.
“It’s not just all about dog feces,” said Stephen Zollinger, Rexburg city attorney. “It is about comprehensive enforcement of animal control laws within the city.”
Parks and Recreation workers would be granted the authority to issue civil citations, similar to a parking citation, which holds more power than what is currently issued for infractions.
“I don’t think our parks people are going to get too overzealous with it,” said Jerry Merrill, the mayor of Rexburg. “We’ll counsel them to talk to people first and give them warnings. We try to do the education thing first and then see if that approach works. If worse comes to worst and they feel they’ve got people that are really abusing the system, then they’ve got the ability to issue citations.”
The next city council meeting will be held June 15 at 5 p.m. in City Hall.