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City to amend zoning ordinance to allow animal boarding and childcare facilities - MessAge Media: Government Meetings

City to amend zoning ordinance to allow animal boarding and childcare facilities

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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 5:00 am | Updated: 1:17 pm, Mon Jun 17, 2019.

The June 3 regular meeting of the Aitkin City Council included public input on several local initiatives.


The council approved a request from Scooby’s Animal Mission (S.A.M.) to amend the city zoning ordinance by adding animal boarding facilities as a conditional use to the downtown mixed use district of Aitkin.

This change would allow the city planning committee to consider S.A.M.’s application to open S.A.M.’s Community Rescue Facility in a blighted property in Aitkin. The property would be upgraded and fenced, said Harmon.

Also, a limited number of rescued pets (cats) would be boarded there, and the facility would provide a safe and supervised venue for          residents of Aitkin to interact with, pet and volunteer to help care for the animals.                                                                      

Harmon said the application is now in the hands of the city planning committee.


Administrator and Human Resources Director Shelly Hanneken requested a change to the zoning ordinance to locate an extended hours childcare facility at Aitkin Health Servies. Hanneken explained that there is a shortage of childcare and that the planned facility would be available to care for children of the general public as well as Aitkin county and Aitkin Health Services employees.


Clif Allen of Moore Engineering updated the city council on the 1st St. NW, 7th Ave. NW to 4th St. road work in Aitkin.

Message boards and signs have gone live to inform motorists of the detour. Allen said every possible route will be left open for the use of local motorists, even though many options won’t be marked as official detours. Over-size and over-length loads will not be allowed, said Allen.

Allen requested payment for work that had been completed. Council approved payment of $234,640 for work to date.


Fourth St. NW will carry the detoured traffic from Hwy. 210 this summer. Police Chief Tim Catlin said four-way stops on 4th St. will be removed for the detour, and he recommended they not be replaced.

A lively discussion ensued, indicating that there are concerns about child safety and traffic. County Engineer John Welle and Street Commissioner Bob Nicko supported the permanent removal of the four-way stops, saying that research has shown that stop signs do not regulate speed and should not be expected to do so.

Council member Erin Wagner expressed concerns about children playing in or near 4th St., especially with the increased traffic from the detour. Welle responded that children should not be playing in the street, regardless of how fast the traffic is going.

“Traffic control is an engineering question, a question of meeting state and federal guidelines and practices,” said Welle. “Ultimately the decision rests with the county because 4th St. NW is a county road.”

Kathy Galliger requested an update to the council at the first meeting in July, about the effect of removing the stop signs. Mayor Gary Tibbitts asked members to bring any concerns they hear from the community to the city council.

Aitkin City Council briefs

• The Beanery Roastery and Cafe was granted a ‘3.2 and Wine with Strong Beer’ liquor license. Amanda Lowe abstained from voting.

• Police Chief Tim Catlin was granted approval to spend $1,000 to send School Resource Officer Paul Ryan to a safety conference in Tennessee.

• Additional maple trees were purchased from Gilby’s Orchard and planted along the Hwy. 169 corridor.

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