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Mitchell's pet pig plan nixed

Mitchell City Hall. (Republic file photo)

The many Mitchell residents who called their council representatives about pet pigs in city limits got their wish.

An ordinance to allow pet pigs smaller than 50 pounds in city limits hogged the spotlight at Monday's regular City Council meeting at City Hall, but the eight-person board unanimously shot down an ordinance that would've allowed miniature pigs in Mitchell.

Nearly two months after Cassandra Bundy came to the council with the hope to keep her pet pigs in city limits, which is illegal under city code, the council members handed down a ruling on behalf of those who called in opposition to small hogs in city limits.

And while Bundy said her neighbors are fine with living next to her group of pet pigs, a handful of council members said that wasn't true.

"I represent your ward, and your neighbors are all the people that called me," Council President Steve Rice said about those who called in opposition to living near Bundy's pet pigs.

Hogs are only allowed in Mitchell in pens or yards of railway companies for purposes of shipping. They are also allowed in pens, houses or yards of stockyards, packing houses and butcher shops. But Bundy's situation, who told the council in June that she had six miniature pigs on West Havens Avenue, does not fall in accordance with city law.

Councilwoman Susan Tjarks and Councilman Mel Olson expressed empathy for Bundy's situation, with Olson asking if existing pet pigs in city limits could be "grandfathered" in under city law. But City Attorney Justin Johnson said that would not be workable.

While Tjarks was sympathetic of Bundy's situation, she's heard an "overwhelming" amount of concern about pet pigs in Mitchell. And Chief of Public Safety Lyndon Overweg said his department has heard a lot of questions the future implications of the updated ordinance and what other livestock could be added into the Mitchell City Code as pets.

After unanimously denying the ordinance, Councilman Jeff Smith offered his take on the future of pet pigs in Mitchell.

"As of right now, there's no support out there at all of the people that called me," Smith said.

Prior to the pet pig vote, the council narrowly defeated a plan to allow animal breeding in residential districts.

At Monday night's meeting, the council shot down the first reading of an ordinance to allow animal breeding in residential districts, among other zoning classifications, by a 5-3 vote.

And Rice said all but one caller he heard from on the issue didn't want to see animal breeding in their residential neighborhoods.

"And this opens it up as a possibility," Rice said about the ordinance.

The ordinance would have allowed domestic animal breeding, upon receiving a conditional use permit, in eight zoning districts. The animals which could be bred would be open for interpretation, as domestic animals would have been defined as "any animal kept by humans for companionship."

The ordinance was opposed by Rice and Olson, as well as fellow Councilmen Kevin McCardle, John Doescher and Dan Allen. Smith and Tjarks joined Councilman Marty Barington to support the first reading, with Smith and Barington citing the perceived benefit of two additional weeks of discussion.

Although the ordinance was denied, Smith said the idea of a conditional use permit allows the neighbors a chance to say whether they would accept their neighbor breeding animals.

"To me, it kind of comes down to if it is a conditional use, it's a neighborhood's decision," Smith said.

But Doescher disagreed, asking what someone moving into the neighborhood would think when they found out they moved next door to an animal breeding operation.

"Neighborhoods change, and all the sudden, a new neighbor buys a new home and says, 'I didn't know that,' " Doescher said.

Fire district rates set

The night before voters from four area townships take to the polls, they finally knew the cost of being annexed into the Mitchell Rural Fire District.

Voters from sections of Badger, Perry, Hanson and Plano townships can vote from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Davison County Fairgrounds to determine if they want to be annexed into the Mitchell Rural Fire District, which would contract with the Mitchell Fire Division to bring fire response to the outer reaches of Mitchell.

And on Monday, the council approved an agreement with the district to provide services to the townships currently participating at a rate of $416.18 per section of land in 2018, $441.68 per section in 2019 and $468.18 per section in 2020.

The agreement, which takes effect on Jan. 1, covers sections of Prosper, Beulah and Lisbon townships. But the agreement can be amended if approved by both parties, allowing the possibility of adding the other four townships depending on the outcome of Tuesday's vote.

And Smith was satisfied with the city's finalized agreement.

"Now going forward, as long as we've spent putting the time together on this as far as negotiating, now our number is in place and we don't have to negotiate any further," Smith said.

Consent agenda

The council approved the following items of the consent agenda:

• Minutes from the July 17 and July 24 City Council meetings as well as the July 31 budget work session. The council will also approved minutes from July Planning Commission, Traffic Commission and Public Properties Committee meetings.

• The following raffle permit requests: A request from Mitchell High School Football, with the drawing to be held Oct. 6; Trinity Lutheran Church, with the drawing to be held Sept. 24; two requests from the Mitchell Skating & Hockey Association, with the drawings to be held in January and February; and a request from the L.B. Williams Parent Teacher Organization, with the drawing to be held Sept. 23.

• Set 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 29 as the date to open rock salt supply bids at City Hall.

• Set 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 8 as the date to open Corn Palace dimmers bids at City Hall.

• A noise permit request for Toshiba Fun Night from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 9. The event will be held in Toshiba America Business Solutions' visitor parking lot.

• Set Aug. 21 as the date for hearings on three special retail liquor licenses for the Mitchell Elks Lodge and two for the OverTime Steakhouse & Sports Bar. The council will also consider setting Aug. 21 as the date to consider three requests from Dave Kulish regarding the alcohol license transfers and one from R.R. Enterprises.

• A change order to the South Duff Street reconstruction project. The final adjustment to the contract lowers the total by $120.65, dropping the final contract to Thorstad Companies Inc. to $166,469.10.

• A change order to the veterans park project, increasing the cost by $2,567 due to additional work required. The contract with Krohmer Plumbing would rise by $2,567 as a result of the change order, bringing the total to $6,567.

• Pay estimates, gas and fuel quotations, payroll, bills, salary adjustments, new employee hires and authorized payment of recurring and other expenses in advance as approved by the finance officer.

Other business

The council will conducted the following agenda items:

• Met as the Public Health and Safety Committee at 6:30 p.m. to approve a fireworks permit for the Sept. 2 Kernel Bowl.

• Called the meeting to order, conducted the Pledge of Allegiance, heard an invocation from Grace Reformed Church, conducted roll call and heard a committee report.

• During citizen input, Councilman Mel Olson gave a "shout out" to the local performance of "Mary Poppins," by the Area Community Theatre.

• Also during citizen input, Councilman Jeff Smith said Cadwell Park has looked "amazing" during the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Tournament.

• Also during citizen input, Councilman Kevin McCardle said the updates to the veterans park under construction at the corner of First Avenue and Main Street look nice.

• Held a hearing to approve the application of OverTime Steakhouse & Sports Bar for a special event liquor license at the OverTime Event Center for an Aug. 19 wedding.

• Held a hearing to approve the application of Jason Bates, doing business as Bates Enterprises, for a special event liquor license at Sabers Specialties on Aug. 19 for Cruising for a Cause.

• Approved alternative consumption and event area boundaries for Corn Palace Festival Freedom Stage events. The alternative site would be the parking lot behind Scoreboard Pub & Grille.

• Set Aug. 21 as the date for a board of adjustment hearing for a request from David and Phyllis Mutziger. The request is for a front yard variance of 19 feet by 25 feet for construction at their Hackberry Street home.

• Tabled a board of adjustment hearing until Sept. 18 regarding the expansion of Performance Pet Products' facility near Interstate 90 in Mitchell. There was no discussion on the item.

• Awarded bids for the Mitchell Recreation Center re-roofing project. The council approved the bid from Great Plains Roofing, of Harrisburg, which offered bids totaling $79,235.

• Approved a firefighter and emergency medical services training agreement with Target Solutions.

• Approved an agreement with Delvin DeBoer for design work on the city's tower mixing project.

• Tabled a request to vacation a public right-of-way at East Andrews Street until Sept. 5.

• Approved Resolution No. R2017-52, a plat in Weaver's Squares Addition.

• Approved Resolution No. R2017-53, a plat in the Woodland Heights First Addition.

• Approved Resolution No. R2017-54, a city conflict of interest policy. According to the staff report filed with the agenda item, a conflict of interest policy is required by state law.

• Held the second reading and adoption of Ordinance No. O2017-09, which changes the zoning classification of property in E.B. Bracey's Addition to Transportation, Warehousing and Commercial District.