KNOXVILLE — The public will be allowed into Knoxville City Council meetings against, after some residents have reported issues hearing over an internet conferencing software in recent weeks.

Council members agreed the public could begin joining in person, but city officials plan to still provide virtual attendance options using the internet video conferencing software Zoom.

The exact location of future meetings was not set, and could sometimes change if the city expects large attendance.

A discussion at Monday’s meeting illustrated public difficulties, when a resident attempted to listen in and participate in a discussion about new proposed swimming pool regulations.

"I feel bad for the public that's listening, because it is tough," Mayor Brian Hatch said. "I understand it is hard to hear."

Bill Mettee, the Planning and Zoning Administration, said the city’s community service officer had raised the issue because Knoxville’s code regarding pools was outdated.

The council approved a new definition for swimming pools, but held off on other decisions about a new ordinance so the public would be able to access meetings better.

The previous code dealt with permanent installations of pools, more common in the zoning was last updated in the 1990s. Large pools now can be purchased in stores and are portable.

The new definition will include both portable and permanently constructed pools intended for swimming, with water more than 24 inches deep.

In other action:

— An ordinance governing front decks was modified in an attempt to avoid property owners needing to going through the variance process with the board of adjustment. The new ordinance requires a setback of 15 feet in the front yard, and sets the maximum size at 250 square feet.

— Hatch declared May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week of May 9-15 at police week. He also read a proclamation for Professional Municipal Clerks Week for May 2-8.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Oskaloosa Herald and the Ottumwa Courier. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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