A public hearing was held immediately prior to Spring Valley’s regular city council meeting on November 14. The hearing was the opportunity for the public to voice their opinions on five ordinances which were to be considered for revision by the council. The ordinances covered topics including: Open Burning & Recreational Fires, Addressing Reasonable Accommodations, Parking Limitations for the Months of November through March, Amending Hours & Days of Liquor Sales, and Amending Parking Restrictions in the City of Spring Valley.
Two citizens addressed the council during the public hearing, on the topic of open burning. They spoke about a neighbor at 521 Maple Lane, whom the say often has a fire burning unattended, creating large amounts of smoke in the neighborhood. They also talked of the same homeowner running his lawn tractor during nighttime hours, which they said creates a noise nuisance. Regarding the smoke and noise issues from that property, one of the citiizens summarized, “Something needs to be done. It’s unacceptable.” Council members said the appropriate action in such cases would be to call the sheriff’s department when these issues are happening.
A question was asked about what can be burned, according to the ordinance. John Dols stated that the ordinance allows for the burning of wood, and he read aloud that, “Wood means dry clean fuel such as twigs, branches, limbs, manufactured fireplace logs, charcoal, cord wood, or untreated lumber.” This type of fire generally produces very little smoke.
During the regular council meeting, the council voted to adopt all five proposed ordinance revisions. An addition was made to the “open fire” ordinance, stating that in order for a fire to be considered “attended,” there must be someone within 10 feet at all times, with a water hose or other means of extinguishing the fire ready at hand.
During the Public Comments portion of the meeting, Heather Knutson addressed the council, saying, “I have a letter that was sent to me on October 27 from the city council, about my property being labeled as hazardous… Everything that’s in this letter is false… And it is defamation of my character.”
The council voted to approve Resolution 2022-32 (Resolution Denying Conditional Use Permit). The council briefly returned to the topic of the library’s annual budget. Deb Zimmer shared that each city department submits a preliminary budget, and once a total is approved by the city, any additions are generally the responsibility of that department to make adjustments (trim expenses or add revenues) to balance the budget. The council voted to deny the request for additional funds.
Dustin Johnson, fire chief, informed the council that his department had a total of five calls last month, including two vehicle accidents and three carbon monoxide alarms. He said all three turned out to be false alarms, but he encouraged citizens, “Remember to check your batteries. Go through both your CO alarms and your smoke alarms.” Johnson also encouraged everyone to check the manufacture date since these alarms generally are good for only 8-10 years. He also shared that the fire department’s annual pancake breakfast was a success, and he thanked all who helped and supported the event.
The council approved a pay estimate on the Fremont Street improvement project, and the ambulance maintenance contract. The next regular meeting of the Spring Valley city council will be 6 p.m. on Monday, December 12, at city hall. The public is welcome.