Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What you may not know: Week of May 15

The Appleton Common Council has our regularly-scheduled Wednesday meeting this week, and our agenda includes a few items we discussed in last week's update:

Auto sales on Clark Street

Last week the City Plan Commission voted unanimously to reaffirm their recommendation that the city grant a Special Use Permit to an existing car repair shop at 524 N Clark Street (north of downtown between Packard and Atlantic Street) to allow them to also display and sell cars from that location.

As I wrote in last week's update Clark Street is very narrow and the properties along it are mostly residential, so the neighbors have some very understandable concerns about noise, traffic and parking as they relate to the potential impact of the business expanding. This street is not an appropriate place for the increased traffic or test driving of vehicles, especially high-performance vehicles, and as such I do not intend to support the permit.

Dogs in parks

Last week the Parks & Recreation Committee again amended my resolution calling for the city to lift its outdated ban on dogs in city parks. Their amendments included the following:

  • Removing a previous amendment that called for dogs to only be allowed in six parks near the river.
  • Adding a proposed restriction calling for dogs to remain on sidewalks, trails or roads and be restricted from access to playgrounds, athletic fields, picnic areas, lawns, courts, skateboard parks, disc golf courses, pavilions and pool areas.
  • Doubling the fines for violations of dog-related ordinances.
These amendments are something of a mixed bag for me: I requested the first one and was pleased to see it pass. The second is, in my opinion, an overreaction to a set of far-out circumstances that are unlikely to occur (although I'm amused by the premise of dogs taking over a swimming pool), and the third is problematic: Fines for dog-related offenses in the city already exceed $300, so a ~$700 fine for a first offense being caught with an unleashed dog seems excessive to me.

At any rate, I'm pleased to see this item continuing to move forward and I'm hopeful we can make some adjustments to it before casting a final vote on Wednesday night.

Bees and chickens

Last week the Board of Health voted unanimously to approve a resolution calling for the city to expand urban beekeeping to be allowed on the rooftops of commercial buildings.  They voted against, however, a resolution calling for the city to amend its rules regarding urban chickens to allow chicken runs larger than 24 square feet. 

I'm concerned by the latter vote, which seems to go against all good science and best practices regarding the keeping of urban chickens. I'm hoping we'll fix that on the council floor.

You can see all of this week's meeting agendas and the full schedule at the city's Legistar page.

Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as an alderman. Good governance happens in the open, and I remain committed to raising awareness on the issues coming before us.

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