Dog issue eats council’s time
By Clay Schuldt
Special to the Caledonia Argus
Caledonia City Attorney Tim Murphy is continuing to research the possibility of Caledonia placing a ban on pit bulls.
Complicating the issue is state statutes that prevent species specific legislation.
The Caledonia clerks office continues to be inundated with emails from people against the ban; however, most of the letters are anonymous or from people in communities outside of Caledonia.
Council member Paul Fisch heard from one local individual who was against the ban, but at this time most Caledonia residents have responded in favor of the proposal.
Council member Robert Lemke commented that he had not personally heard from a single local person in favor of the ban.
Caledonia Post Office Postmaster Carey Welder told the council he is in full support of any ordinance that limits the danger posed by dogs in an effort to protect letter carriers.
Current Minnesota statutes allow cities to ban vicious animals, but no official statute exists for species specific banning of dogs. At previous meetings Police Chief Kurt Zehnder said that some cities in Minnesota have managed to get around the statute, and he’s also looking into any legal action Caledonia could take to pass a similar ordinance.
In other business, the council approved two zoning applications at their July 9 meeting.
The first was a variance for Duane Olson, who returned to the council for a third time seeking a variance for a new garage. Originally, Olson applied for the variance on June 11, which included a setback from the property line, five feet from the north line and eight feet from the east. At the June 11 meeting the council had no issues with granting a setback for the garage, as the setback would better align the new garage with the preexisting houses nearby. However, the council was reluctant to approve the square footage for the garage, 840 square feet, because the limit is 800 square feet.
The council was split by a tie vote on the matter, in light of an absence. It finally passed July 9, 3-2.
The second application came from Carol Lee who was requesting to construct a porch to front of the house at 1019 E. Grove Street.
The porch would be a six foot by 28 foot covered porch approximately 24 feet from the south property line. The proposal would require a six-foot variance from the south property line.
Zoning Administrator Michael Gerardy explained that the neighboring property had been granted a similar variance for a porch, and this request from Lee would not extend any further. The council agreed to grant Lee the variance.
Finally, Gerardy shared good news involving Caledonia’s purchase of a plow truck. At the June 25 council meeting, the group approved the purchase of a 2001 plow truck at a cost of $51,900. Since the June 25 meeting, Gerardy managed to negotiate a lower price and was able to purchase the vehicle for $51,000.