By Derrick Knutson
A plethora of pups will soon be congregating at a property off 380th Street in North Branch following a decision by the City Council Feb. 27.
By a 4-0 vote – council member Ron Lindquist was absent for the meeting – the council approved a conditional use permit that will allow resident Vicky Flettre to open a dog kennel at her property in the 8400 block of 380th Street.
The city’s planning commission unanimously approved the application earlier this month.
Even with the unanimous approval by the council, council members raised some concerns about the new business, which is allowed by city code to house up to 25 canines.
Council member Theresa Furman said she didn’t want the CUP to continue if Flettre sold the business.
City Planner/Development Director Alan Cottingham told her the city could simply modify the language in the CUP to make it so any new owners of the property have to come to the council to keep the CUP in effect.
Mayor Amy Oehlers said the noise from the animals could be an issue.
Flettre acknowledged Oehlers’s concern, and said she has taken all of the necessary steps to keep barking at a minimum.
“There is going to be a camera system and an intercom system put in, so if they do happen to bark at night I can hear them and I’ll either push the button and tell them to quiet down,” she said. If they don’t I’ll go out there. It’s basically like a baby monitor. You can hear them and if you push the button, they can hear you.”
If Flettre isn’t diligent about keeping barking at a manageable level, Oehlers stressed the city could use its noise ordinance to penalize her for housing overly vocal pooches.
“They still have to fall under the regulations of the public nuisance ordinance.”
The council also approved two resolutions for industrial and residential development incentives during the meeting.
Furman was the lone council member to cast a dissenting vote on the residential development resolution.
That incentive temporarily reduces numerous fees – such as sewer hookup and park dedication fees – by 70 percent in order to entice residential builders to the city. The incentive program is in effect citywide with the exception of the ESSBY property south of 400th Street until Nov. 15.