Revised animal ordinance first reading passes

The first reading of revised amendments to the Webster City animal protection and control ordinance passed at Monday’s meeting of the City Council.

Assistant City Attorney Zach Chizek said the major change made from the last Council work session was the addition of language to allow chickens to be kept in residential areas in the city. He noted several restrictions under the proposed ordinance, which include that roosters cannot be kept in the city, residences must have a rear yard to keep chickens in and those chickens must be housed in an enclosure or coup. Hens can also be kept at community gardens with approval from the City Council. Hatcheries and other businesses licensed and authorized to sell chickens are exempt from restrictions in the proposed ordinance.

“I think the language we have developed is very clear and understandable,” Getter said. “As a first reading of what will be three readings, I think we’ve got a good document here.”

Councilmen John Hawkins, Matt McKinney and Logan Welch voted to pass the first reading of the proposed ordinance. Councilman Geary Meyer voted against it. Meyer said he has received a large volume of calls pertaining to the animal ordinance. As such, he’s reserving a favorable vote until he’s sure those community members’ opinions are heard by the Council.

“There’s just a lot of unhappy people and I don’t think we can do an animal ordinance that’s going to begin to solve all the problems, but I just want to make sure we’re doing what we need to do,” Meyer said.

The second reading of the ordinance is expected at the next Council meeting.

In other business, the Council took some time during their meeting to honor a couple individuals. Getter presented Mike Lund, outgoing fire chief, and Bob Ruba, whose resignation from the Planning and Zoning Commission was approved at the meeting, with plaques and thanked them for their service.

The Council also approved a request to close Seneca Street from Bank to Water streets for an Independence Day celebration at West Twin Park. The request came from Pastor Efrain Magdaleno of Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal Church. The event is scheduled for July 5 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. City Manager Ed Sadler said the church plans to run a kid’s train on the street. The public is invited to attend.

At their meeting, the Council also passed a resolution urging the federal government to address issues at a local piece of property it holds the mortgage on. The resolution will be sent to the Department of Agriculture, federal attorneys involved and members of Congress asking them to deal with hazardous issues at the house located on 945 Walnut Street in Webster City. According to a Council memorandum, the building had burned and was then abandoned.

Getter said the property has been a nuisance for at least three years. While federal attorneys were on track to demolish the structurally damaged home some time ago, Getter said there have been no new developments in the past four to five months.

“Hopefully, we can get the federal government to come back to the table and recognize that they are the mortgage holder and have, indeed, a responsibility to the community to take action on the property,” Getter said.

A public hearing on a proposed ordinance amendment related to detached garages was set at Monday’s meeting. The hearing is scheduled for July 7 at 5:35 p.m. Sadler said the amendment mostly relates to large garages in town, some of which are several times larger than the dwellings that they are detached from.

Another public hearing on the proposed sale of property at 1116 Elm Street will be held on July 7 at 5:30 p.m. The Council also authorized a resolution accepting demolition work on the house previously located on the property by Habhab Construction Inc. in the amount of $9,250.

The Council also authorized final payment for the completion of the Park Avenue Sanitary Sewer Improvement Project. The payment was in the amount of $5,035 and $5,519.40 in 30 days to Keller Excavating Inc. of Boone.