The Canton City Council held a public hearing to address proposed changes to the city’s zoning ordinance on Wednesday, April 12. Mayor Josh Nordsving explained the city had two separate zoning ordinances on file, which he and the other zoning board members, George Hafner and Jim Davis, reviewed and consolidated into one document.
Nordsving said they “got rid of some wording and clarified others.” The new proposed ordinance also included updated provisions for accessory buildings. He also pointed out, if the accessory building is not on skids, it needs to have a permit. It also needs to follow certain requirements about location in regards to the main structure.
Council member Kristy Ziegler wondered if the council could require that they be situated a minimum distance from the house as she felt if they were too close, the overall property would become “cluttered” and “junky.”
Another change was for corner lots, noting the setback requirement should be observed on each street side of a corner, provided that the buildable width of a lot shall not be reduced to less than 33 feet from the center of the street. The previous size had been 30 feet.
Resident Donivee Johnson cautioned the council to avoid using the terminology “center of the street” because that may not provide the most accurate measurements. She suggested better wording would be “center of the right-of-way” as, in the past, planners may not have surveyed the properties adjoining the roadways to create a “center” of the street, resulting in an inaccurate measuring base.
The council resumed discussion on the proposed changes after the public hearing was adjourned and Nordsving also explained the zoning board has had a lot of inquiries regarding fences. The ordinance which was ultimately passed at the meeting included information about fence setbacks whereas nothing had been written in the past.
Now, if a resident wants to build a fence between their property and their neighbors’ property, the fence must be built three feet from the property line. If the property owners agree and share the cost of the fence, the fence can sit on the property line.
Council member Randy Gossman did not feel the exception of the fence setbacks should be included, allowing it to sit on the property line, with his concern being future property owners may not agree on the fence even if current owners do.
The council approved the proposed changes and also approved publication of the summary in the Fillmore County Journal. The new ordinance can be read in its entirety, once it is published, on the Canton city website.
American Legion requests
The council revisited a conversation it had during the March meeting regarding upgrades to the Canton ballpark. Nordsving told the council he had followed up with members of the Canton American Legion and gathered more information regarding the proposed summer league that would take place there this year.
He noted there is a need for new sand and a few other upgrades. The Legion requested that the city consider sharing the costs of these items.
Nordsving said the Legion is still getting quotes and estimates for the needed updates, but said he had also learned there would be an opportunity for the youth in town to utilize the field on Wednesday nights.
When he had shared the council’s concern about investing money into the ballpark for a “one-year league,” Nordsving said the Legion members shared that concern, but they also have a lot invested in the field already and would like to see it utilized.
The city’s share of the costs would be around $5,000, he added.
Legion member Jim Richardson was also at the meeting to request city permission to utilize city property to expand the veterans memorial in the downtown park. He explained they would like to add five or six feet to the southeast side of the existing layout. He said the Legion would cover the costs, but wanted city approval to proceed with the project.
The expansion would allow for the addition of a flag burning pit and a statue of some sort, Richardson explained.
The council asked Richardson to bring a sketch showing what the Legion was planning, but no opposition was given during the discussion.
In a related matter, the council opted to utilize funds from the Don Wilken estate to cover some of the costs of the ballfield. The original donation to the city was $20,000 and some of the funds were already utilized in various park projects, leaving $12,045 remaining. The CD was up for renewal and First Southeast Bank was offering a good rate for a 22-month CD. Josh Nordving proposed reinvesting $10,000 in the new CD and using a portion of the remaining dollars for the ballfield, with leftover funds going into a savings account to be utilized for smaller projects.
Deputy Clerk Barb Kerns clarified a statement she had made at the March meeting, stating that the costs of pet licenses would increase once the deadline had passed. She had said they would be $10 rather than $5 for the license. However, she clarified, a $10 late fee is now added for overdue pet licenses, for a total cost of $15.
Jon Nordsving, the public works director, noted that yard waste pickup would begin the week of April 17. He and his colleague Jim Davis would also be working to add cold patch on some of the holes on streets through town. Finally, they discussed things that still need to be done at the former bus garage to improve and strengthen the structure. Nordsving noted that a new roof would be optimal, but some patching needs to be done on the roof, at the very least.
Clerk Anne Koliha reported that the city audit came back “clean” for 2022 and shared those financial reports with the council members.
The council discussed once again financially supporting the Mabel-Canton Summer Recreation program. The amount requested is $3,200 and the council wished to know if this included busing for the Canton youth participating. The Canton American Legion also gave money, through the city, to support the program.
The council approved the purchase of 2023 edition of the Minnesota Basic Code of Ordinances, which the city has done about every four years, Koliha noted.
The city will again offer the “Adopt-a-Planter” program for the spring and summer with cash prizes of $100, $75 and $50 being awarded to “voter favorites” in the fall. Those wishing to adopt a planter should contact city hall.
The council approved $200 to be spent on city flower planters and approved purchasing two arborvitae to replace those that had perished over winter by city hall.
Finally, the council approved the purchase and installation of a new furnace with central air for the town hall. The furnace will cost $17,750 and will be purchased from Newman Heating and Cooling in Canton.
The next meeting of the Canton City Council will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10, at the town hall.