Council likely to again turn down city chicken request

By Kelly Terpstra,

Whether it was discussing a truck/trailer ordinance, an issue of chickens being kept within the city limits, or more talk on the Wayfinding Project, the Charles City Council had much to consider in its planning meeting on Wednesday.

One item that was brought to the attention of the council was Holly Rasmussen’s request for three of her chickens (hens) to be able to be kept at her home on the 800 block of South Main Street in Charles City.

Rasmussen has lived in Charles City since June 2017, and told the council she uses the hens for eggs and has no roosters.

Rasmussen said she is disabled, and said taking care of the hens is one of the only things that gets her up in the morning and outside the house on some days.

The council made it clear that hens are considered livestock and are not permitted within the city limits. The council also stated that members “have not wavered” on this particular issue, other than two instances on the edge of town that were in farm settings. A comment was also made that Rasmussen’s landlord should have known about the ordinance.

Much was talked about concerning semitractor-trailers and parking within the city limits. People have complained and voiced their concern on this issue. Semis are not allowed to park in the city and it is illegal for such vehicles to drive off designated truck routes. The discussion centered on those semis parked in front of houses and possibly where they could go if parked within the city.

The sidewalks that were removed in the 100 block of Main Street in front of the McQuillen Place, which is currently under construction, have been a hot button topic as of late. The sidewalks have not been replaced and remain closed to pedestrian traffic. The council made it fairly evident that this is a priority, but if construction was approved to install new sidewalks that would probably not be finished by July. No date was given as to when the completion might take place.

The Wayfinding Project is an effort to focus on identifying sites within the city to highlight and placing signs in those areas. There are restrictions on what can be placed on the signage, but the council stated that this project has reached the later stages. The project calls for four gateway/welcome signs, 30 vehicular signs, and six parking lot/kiosk signs. It has been determined that there was less expense on this than initially thought.

Other issues discussed:

• The HMA paving project will focus on the paving of low volume residential streets that have deteriorated. Construction would center on placing three-inch thick asphalt pavement to improve the streets.

• The city will attempt to clean out the north lagoon at Kellogg and 19th Streets. The 2018 Lime Residual Disposal Project helped clean out the south lagoon last year.

• The city is taking a pro active approach to fixing the storm sewer on Hulin Street between Johnson and Jackson Avenue. It is on the verge of collapse and would be removed and replaced.

• City Administrator Steve Diers said he will interview five candidates for the position of director of the Charles City Foster Grandparents program today (Thursday). The current director, Mary Litterer, is retiring. Diers also talked about the transit system, stating that ridership is down and what can be done about that.

• Dr. Greig Grimm address his dental center at 703 N. Main Street. The building has a sump pump discharge pipe that flows onto the street between Spriggs and Richings Street. City Attorney Brad Sloter has drafted an agreement between the dental center and the city to be able to connect its sump pump discharge directly into the city’s storm sewer system.

• A purchase agreement is drawing near for the city to purchase property of an irregular shaped parcel located on 401 Charles Street. It would cost the city roughly $7,000. Dorothy Parson, who owns the property, is in the process of selling it and will give the city access to a water main from the water tower. This will resolve the issue of a water main placed on private property.