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December 12, 2019

11/14/2019 5:26:00 PM
Center City City Council tables dog and fence ordinances requesting more information

Two public hearings scheduled for the Center City Council meeting last week were opened and quickly recessed,  and should be re-opened when adequate information is available to take action.

The hearing issue was two ordinances being amended-- the regulations for dog ownership and fencing codes.  

Council was unclear what the city planning commission was actually proposing. Wording for example, referenced three or more dogs as the threshhold for a “kennel permit” but Council member Madonna Higgins said she understood it should say four or more.  Also, City Attorney Ted Alliegro advised there is no provision in city code for a “kennel” permit,  so nobody could even seek one if they had multiple dogs.  “Do you really want to allow kennels in the city?” he asked.

The fencing ordinance was equally obtuse.

Fencing disputes have led to the city council asking planning commission members to address wording of fence permit standards but what came before council last week was not much help. Wording in one section did not align  with other sections, so this hearing was also recessed.
Council hopes to take up the issues in December.

Softener repair bills
Two residents came before council and asked for reimbursement of water softener repair costs.  In the end the vote was 3-2 to approve paying approximately $100 to each household mainly because it will cost more than $200 total to argue with the request.  Council members Lloyd Vetter and Scott Anderson voted no, saying the city has emergencies and  in this case, the residents should just accept that fact.

There was a hydrant being relocated on Grand Avenue and the plan was to dig around and not have to shut-off the main.  City Public Works Supervisor eric Garner explained that the same day of the project it was determined there was not enough space for equipment to “do a wet tap” within an active waterline, so Garner went door to door and warned Grand Avenue residents water would be turned off.  He said it was about a 45 minute job.

However, Lynn Karwand and Barb Ellingson submitted claims for damage to their plumbing they attribute  to the shut-off.  Water softeners apparently, very infrequently, can sustain damage when water service is disrupted.  Water softener owners need to aware they must  trigger the softener system “bypass” or shutoff their water supply valve in cases of loss of city water.

Karwand stated, “Intentional or not...the city did something that caused this.”

Garner said, “I had no clue this could happen.”  He has worked in three cities over a lengthy public works career and he’s never seen claims for softener damage. He told council he did what he could by notifying households affected by the shut-off.

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