By Clay Schuldt
A public hearing was held during the Sept. 23 meeting of the Caledonia City Council to receive input on the proposed construction of a new veterinarian clinic at 503 Old Highway Drive.
Early in the year Naaren and Travis Kingsley submitted an application for a Conditional Use Permit to operate a new veterinarian clinic in the highway business district. The current clinic is on West Main Street near the dental office. The Kingsleys intend to move the clinic to the site of the old creamery. The old building will be demolished and replaced with a new building.
The Kingsleys provided the council with a preliminary design and size of the building. Administrative Coordinator Mike Gerardy confirmed that the setbacks in the preliminary design conform to zoning ordinances. The main point of discussion involves access to the property. Several owners of neighboring properties spoke during the meeting with the chief concern being driveway access and the parking lot layout.
Joe and Jane Hayes were concerned that any new construction would alter the driveway on their parcel. “We have a continuous easement through the driveway,” Joe Hayes said. “We can’t take the driveway out; we can’t really change it.” This driveway is used by semi-trucks.
The council confirmed that a continuous easement for a driveway did exist, according to zoning documents, but the exact location of the easement was unknown as no specific location was given. “It’s there,” City Administrator Ted Schoonover said, “but where was it put?”
Before any decisions were made, Mayor Bob Burns wanted to know the specific location of the easement. “I know where people have been driving, but where is it really?”
The second issue was the size of the parking lot. Caledonia ordinances outline the requirements for business parking lots; however, nothing in the ordinance specifies how much parking is needed for a vet clinic. If the clinic was classified as a medical facility, parking for every employee as well as customers would be necessary and this would require more than 10 parking spaces.
The Kingsleys were willing to be flexible with the layout of the clinic and parking lot to avoid interfering with neighboring properties. Naaren Kingsley assured Hayes it was not their intention to block the driveway as clinic customers would likely need to access the property from the same road.
No action was taken by the council in regard to the Conditional Use Permit as there were several questions remained. The council tabled further discussion until more information was available.
Earlier reports of land encroachment on the part of Norman Snodgrass were proven false. At the last council meeting, the board members expressed concern that a survey stake had been moved by Snodgrass giving him additional property. This was based on comments made by neighbors. Schoonover told the council the accusation was false. Snodgrass had, however, moved excess dirt left over from a road project on Grant Street. The dirt tapered down into the Snodgrass property. Schoonover said this change actually benefits the city for water drainage.
The council approved the purchase of a two-foot bucket for the city’s mini-excavator. Caledonia already owns a one foot bucket; however, to speed up a recent excavating project, the city was forced to rent a two-foot bucket. Renting the two-foot bucket cost $800. City staff looked into the cost of purchasing the device and found buying a bucket would be cheaper, around $700.
The council agreed to the purchase the bucket on the condition a cheaper, used bucket could be found. Schoonover reminded the group that the bucket would pay for itself after its first use.
Second computer for liquor store
A second computer was purchased for the liquor store office to allow the manager to update the inventory and make additional orders while the first computer is used for customer purchases.
Council member DeWayne Schroeder made the motion to purchase the second computer at a cost of $1,098, saying “As long as we’ve updated as much as we have, we might as well not stop halfway.”
The council approved the motion four to one with Burns voting against.
Council member Schroeder requested that more action be taken against long-term parking on city streets. Schroeder cited instances of camper trailers being parked on the street for weeks at a time. In Caledonia, vehicles need to be moved every 48 hours. The council agreed by consensus to ask the police to step up enforcement.
The council is considering allowing Caledonia residents to pay off utility bills with debit cards. Schoonover said the city is not currently set up for it, but thought it would be a good idea.
Murphy said that these days people are more likely to use a debit card over a check, adding that any fee attached to debit card use should be incurred on the card user rather than city. Schoonover agreed to look into the option.