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Peterson talks chicken, ordinance enforcement

By Kirsten Zoellner

Mon, May 19th, 2014
Posted in Peterson Government

A city-wide garbage cleanup day is scheduled, but nuisance properties in Peterson may see more cleanup than they anticipated if non-compliance continues. At the May 14 meeting, the council continued discussion on zoning updates and the best route to address the issue.

Nuisance properties, those defined in non-compliance by the Minnesota Basic Code adopted by the city that have received complaints from citizens, have likely already received notice from the city via letter. Those properties, if not addressed through the city-wide cleanup, or those that receive complaints after the cleanup, could be billed by the city to have it done.

“Having Rick [Lee – public works] enforce it is not right. He needs to be able to work with people. With the cleanup, this is something we would do as part of enforcing ordinance. I feel like we should hire someone,” noted Councilor Gail Boyum. Who can be hired for this task is still in question, although the names of several scrappers were discussed.

Following the cleanup, properties that have been in non-compliance, or those receiving new complaints, will be issued a letter from the city attorney. After 30 days, if the property remains an issue, the city will order cleanup for the property and bill the property owner. Should properties not pay the bill for the work, the penalty would be a misdemeanor and the cost assessed to the property taxes.

The city-wide cleanup is Saturday, May 17, from 8 a.m. to noon. Notice has been sent to all Peterson properties.

In other zoning discussion, the city updated its chicken ordinance to allow for a rotational permit. This would allow approved residences to keep a maximum of 10 birds, five hens and five chicks, but only for a period of six months, until the younger birds are laying. After that point, they must reduce the number of birds to five.

Other changes to the ordinance include adjusting coop height to a limit of eight feet and fence height maximums to seven feet. The permit will have a $5 annual charge, which covers time for a city employee to ensure compliance.

The city continues to update the general workings of a municipality, approving the purchase of MuniBilling, a complete utility billing tool. It will allow for online billing and payments, for water, sewer, and electric utility, and reporting, as well as several other services. The cloud-based system will have no software for the city to buy and the cost of the service is based on the number of equivalent dwelling units a municipality has.

The city has also received quotes for the museum security system. Ban-Koe, a LaCrescent company has provided a quote for $6,143.64, including wiring work utilizing Norman’s Electric Service in Rushford. A second quote of just $900 is also being considered. The city has said it will only go with the more expensive system if it can secure a grant to fund it.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Wednesday, June 11, at 7 p.m., at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.

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