Waterloo moves forward with roadside memorial regulation - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo moves forward with roadside memorial regulation

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The City of Waterloo is moving forward with a plan to limit roadside memorials to slain car crash victims.

Monday night, the city council voted to approve the first reading of the new ordinance. It must still pass two subsequent readings. Councilman Pat Morrissey said it's an update to an existing ordinance in an attempt to strengthen the language.

Though no one was present at the council meeting to speak against the ordinance, it's not without points of contention, since these memorials are constructed during a vulnerable time for families.

“So it's a sensitive issue,” Morrissey said. “It's one that I think needs to be dealt with sensitively and I think this language will deal with it.”

Under the update, police and code enforcement officers would be able to remove the memorials from public or city owned land, and hold on to them for families to pick up. It also further defines the memorials.

Morrissey said the memorials can be a distraction to drivers, and begin to deteriorate over time.

Mark Nagel lost his 18-year-old daughter, Karlee, to a car crash in 2009. It happened at the corner of University Ave. and Sergeant Rd. in Waterloo. The driver that hit her was charged with drunk driving.

He said the memorial to her there was built by friends, not family, but as this ordinance has moved forward, he has cleared up some of the trinkets left for her. Still, several crosses and a plaque stand in her honor.

He said he met with city leaders as this ordinance was drafted, and understands the thinking, though he believes it's hard for officials to understand the trauma families like his go through in losing a loved one.

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