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Council reviews request for horses in city limits

With five acres of land and other provisions, horses may be allowed

November 8, 2011
The Daily Freeman Journal

The City Council of Webster City Monday night reviewed a request from a local citizen and a recommendation from the planning and zoning commission that would change zoning ordinances to allow horses to be housed within the corporate limits.

The request came from Tim Danielson, who has a property on the west side of the city. He asked the city to consider allowing him to move five horses on to his property on High Street. The property is currently zoned Residential-2 (multiple family dwelling).

Karla Wetzler, city planning director, and Steve Struchen, a member of the planning and zoning commission, said the commission developed the following provisions concerning livestock within the corporate city limits:

A maximum of five horses for noncommercial uses when there exists a parcel comprised of a minimum of five acres;

No structure or building for the stabling of horses can be closer than 150 feet to a residence on adjacent property;

A stable must at least 30 feet from the property line;

The area devoted to such a use must be kept clean and sanitary.

"I have some questions and I've had some calls from people," said Councilman Jerry Kloberdanz. He asked how the commission decided on the five acre figure.

"Why not three acres or one acre?" he asked.

Wetzler said the commission had researched the matter to determine how other communities handled the matter.

"There were none that had less than five acres," she said. "That's how we decided the footage. We added the setbacks. And this is just for noncommercial ventures. He couldn't board other people's horses."

"The other question was we've already got an ordinance in place that livestock is not allowed within the city limits. Some were grandfathered in,"?he said.

"Once the horses leave, they can't come back," Wetzler said of those grandfathered instances.

"There are some other lots in town that are five acres or more, but they are on the outskirts of town and abutting ag ground," she said.

The parcel in question is nearly six acres, Wetzler said.

"And the question that I got was 'why can't I have the livestock I want on three acres?'" Kloberdanz said. "Now, we're opening up the door."

"That's one of the reasons for the five acres," said Struchen. "It eliminated those small parcels from trying to do this."

The council members approved the first reading of the amendment, with Kloberdanz voting against the proposal.

New stop sign?

There may soon be a new permanent four-way stop sign at the intersection of Elm and Des Moines streets. The City Council approved the first reading of that proposed ordinance.

The request came to the council from City Manager Ed Sadler, who lives on the corner.

"I've never gotten into a wreck there," he said. "But what I do get to see is all of the close-calls, the screeching brakes and on occasion, the cars that wreck right in my front yard."

Sadler said that in the month prior to submitting his request to the traffic committee, there were three accidents at the busy intersection. The location is adjacent to the bus scramble on the north side of the middle school, St. Thomas School, the Kendall Young Library and the Boulevard of Valor. There are stop signs rolled out each day before and after school, Sadler said.

"Almost every accident happens with the car traveling west on Elm and not seeing what's coming because they are hidden by the parked cars," he said.

"It's a very busy area. There's lots of parking, lots of traffic," he said. "It's an awkward design."

"Des Moines Street is a major thoroughfare and it's important to protect those children as they come and go to school," said Councilman Doug Getter.

"When I first saw this, I wasn't supportive of it," Kloberdanz said. "But I drive past that area everyday and I'm used to it.

"I'm surprised we haven't done this sooner," he said. "We're lucky we haven't had any kids get hit."

The council voted unanimously to approve the first reading of the proposed ordinance. Two more readings would have to be passed before the stop sign would be put in place.



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