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Monday, September 15th, 2014
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Spring Valley looks at transportation issues


Fri, Mar 1st, 2013
Posted in Spring Valley Government

The Transportation Director of SEMCAC appeared before the Spring Valley City Monday night to discuss the possibility of increased transportation services in the Spring Valley area. Erlene Welshons is the Transportation Director for SEMCAC and she said that residents will be receiving a brochure that will identify unmet transportation needs in the Spring Valley area.

According to Welshons, SEMCAC has received additional funding which could possibly provide an increase in opportunities to ride the SEMCAC in the area. There could be four hours per day three days a week of service. As for cost, that could be $2.00 in town and $2.75 outside the city. There will be a local match in addition to the funding from MNDOT. The survey being conducted by SEMCAC will assess the needs of the residents and then the local match will be determined. SEMCAC will also be hiring a CDL licensed driver who will line up volunteer drivers.

The Council also approved a contract with Fillmore County to provide ambulance service in their designated area.

•The contractor (Spring Valley) agrees to provide efficient and prompt ambulance service to all persons within their area of service in Fillmore County.

•The Contractor shall have not less than one licensed ambulance in service and capable of rendering efficient services, fully equipped to meet the requirements of the State of Minnesota, Emergency Medical Services Regulator Board and equipped with mobile communications between the ambulance vehicles and law enforcement agencies.

•The contractor shall keep and maintain the ambulance and equipment.

•Contractor agrees to provide one driver and attendant to staff said ambulance on each call.

•Contractor shall provide ambulance service on a 24-hour basis 7 days a week.

In the contract there are insurance requirements with limits of not less than one hundred thousand for bodily injury or death of one person, and five hundred thousand for bodily injury or death resulting from any one accident and for the sum of at least fifty thousand for damages to property from any one accident.

Under the terms of the agreement, the county will make one payment for a total of $4,500.00 for the period through December 31, 2013. The county will also furnish a 24-hour answering service and dispatch service through the Sheriff’s Office.

Coming on the heels of the approval of the contract with Fillmore County was a letter sent to the City Council from Ambulance Director Jim Cooper. He stated, “Our scheduling problems have continued to grow.” He cites the fact that they have 25 people on the roster, 15 who work out of town, and eight who live out of town.

“Our current EMT classes will only have one person who lives in town and one person who lives out of town.” Cooper is proposing a First Responders course to fill in the times 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM and in the afternoons from 3:00 to 6:00. The training for the course is approximately 60 hours and there is a “much easier examination process.”

The council approved Cooper’s request to train and hire four first responders.

Mark McBroom of Chatfield sent a letter to the council offering to sell a piece of property adjacent to the city’s property. The legal description of the property is “CC THAYER & COS ADDITION LOT-004 W 13 ¼ R OF LOT 4 CC &CO ADD.” It is situated north of Park in SW Spring Valley near the creek. McBroom offered to sell his lot to the city for $3,000.00. Under current policy, the City is restricted to the assessed value of $1,300. A motion was made to make the counter offer of $1,300.00.

Librarian Dianne Swenson-Sikkink presented numbers to the Council on use of the library. In 2012 there were 31,011 users and 2,695 borrowers. 1,435 came from the City and 1,112 from the County. The number of e-book checkouts was placed at 1,443. Computer use is at 7,317, 4,325 from the city and 2,168 from the county. 824 visitors made stops to the library. A look at the county numbers indicated heavy useage of checkouts of city and rural residents at 222,671.

Robert Howard has a piece of property at 100 S. Washington in Spring Valley. It’s right next door to the Historical Society and it has been “an eye sore” according to City Administrator Deb Zimmer, and was recently torn down. Howard had approached the council to see if he could replace the garage at its current location within the next five-year time period. According to Zimmer, he could have rebuilt it if he would have left part of it standing. The council approved the five-year window in rebuilding the garage but will need approval on the project.

“You thought raising chickens in the city limits was going to be an easy task, didn’t you? Well, there has to be some regulation to keep in the tradition of ‘red tape.’”

The city council will be holding a public hearing on the proposed Chicken Ordinance. I thought you would enjoy refreshing your memory on what all the clucking is about.

First of all there has to be definitions. Most of us know farm animals but did you know that this included cattle, horses, mules, sheep, goats, swine, ponies, ducks, geese, turkeys, chickens, guinea hens and honey bees? The principal player is; “a chicken.” This definition is pretty easy. A chicken means a domesticated bird that serves as a source of eggs or meat. Other definitions include “Brooding, coop, run, and a clear separation between a hen (a female chicken) and a rooster, (a male chicken).”

There are regulations that define “keeping.” This means you can’t keep or harbor any animal not in transit except farm animals that are kept in an agriculture designated area. Now the chickens have rights too, such as the stipulation that you can’t put your chickens in a show, let them march in a parade, or to keep them for scientific purposes.

The fenced-in area restricts chickens to a four-foot height and are not allowed to “trespass” by being driven or walked over any grass, turf, boulevard, city park, cemetery, garden or lot without specific permission from the owner.

For those animals in transit, they have to be confined in a cage and restrained by means of bridles, halters, ropes or other means of individual restraints. Of course, we’ve all seen chickens wearing bridles.

Now, we get into the paragraph labeled “Chickens Limited.” This makes it unlawful for any persons to own, keep or maintain hen chickens in the city unless the property is in the rural resident zoning. The ordinance does not permit chickens in the R3 or R4 zoning areas. The R3 and R4 is for multiple housing. Zoning certificates are a necessary piece of paper to have. No zoning certificate shall be issued for more than six hen chickens or one chicken per 1,800 square feet of lot size.

There are no provisions in the ordinance for roosters.

The red tape gets higher. You need a permit to own, keep, harbor or have custody of any live chickens. To get the permit, you need to have a scaled diagram with the location of the chicken coop or run (refer to definitions) on the property, distance from the coop or run to adjacent buildings not located on the property and a completed application which includes written consent of one hundred percent of the owners or occupants of privately or publicly owned real estate that is located adjacent on the outer boundaries of the premises for which the permit is requested, or in the alternative, proof that the applicant’s property lines are one hundred fifty feet or more from any house.

Mayor Struzyk indicated that he had read the proposed ordinance three or four times and was wondering why pheasants weren’t included.

The council will be soliciting input from the public in the form of a public hearing to get the ordinance explained.

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