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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Village Board has approved changes to the village ordinances to allow bow hunting for turkeys within the village limits and to allow hunting on village-owned parcels.
Section “B” of ordinance 11-2-1 prohibited hunting within the village of Colfax, but the proposed changes would allow people to hunt with village board approval, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, at the Colfax Village Board’s May 11 meeting.
The discharge of firearms within the village limits is not allowed, but the proposed change would add bow hunting to the ordinance, she said.
Colfax Police Chief William Anderson said that as long as people are required to come before the village board for permission to hunt, he had no objection to changing the ordinances.
The approval should be on an annual basis, said Village Trustee Gary Stene.
Do people need village board permission to hunt on their own property or only on village property, asked Village Trustee Logan Michels.
Permission would be needed for village property, Niggemann said.
The existing village ordinances allow people to obtain an annual archery permit for private property from the police chief to allow archery practice, and Police Chief Anderson said he has issued a number of permits to allow people to practice archery.
Each request for hunting that comes before the board should include specifics about where people will be hunting, Police Chief Anderson said.
If someone shoots a deer on their own property but they track it to village property, they should notify the village, said Village Trustee Anne Jenson.
Notifying the police department, the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department or the property owner “is not a bad idea” if someone is tracking a deer, the police chief said.
People should notify the property owner regardless of whether it is in the ordinance, said Village Trustee Carey Davis.
The property owner does not have to allow someone to track a deer on his or her property, Stene noted, adding that the village property the most appropriate for hunting would be the river bottom and the acreage around the wastewater treatment lagoons.
The ordinance should state annual permission is required, and the person who is hunting must notify the property owner if tracking a wounded deer, said Scott Gunnufson, village president.
Niggemann said she would add language to the ordinance stating that when someone is tracking a wounded animal, he or she must notify the landowner if the tracking exceeds the area permitted for hunting.
Section 11-2-1 (b) currently states: Hunting prohibited. Hunting within the Village of Colfax is prohibited.
Section 11-2-1 (b) as approved by the village board would read: “Hunting within the Village of Colfax is prohibited unless the Village Board has approved hunting on a Village of Colfax owned parcel. The Board must approve hunting request on an annual basis.”
Bow hunting of deer was already allowed in Section 11-2-1(i) by ordinance 2012-27 adopted September 24, 2012, and published October 3, 2012: “Bow hunting of deer shall be permitted when it has been determined by the Village Board that such hunting is necessary for proper game management or to protect persons, parks or other property and would not pose a threat to health and safety in the area where such bow hunting shall take place. Such bow hunting may only take place at such a time, place and manner as the Village Board may direct and shall be in compliance with the requirements of subsection 11-2-1(g).”
Section 11-2-1(i) and Ordinance 2012-27 will be repealed and replaced with the section previously allowing the bow hunting of deer along with (ii) “Bow hunting of turkey shall be permitted when it has been determined by the Village Board that such hunting is necessary for the proper game management or to protect persons, parks or other property and would not pose a threat to the health and safety in the area where such bow hunting shall take place and in a manner as the Village Board may direct.”
The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved the proposed changes to the ordinances. The changes will go into effect after publication in the village’s official newspaper, the Colfax Messenger.
In a related matter, the Colfax Village Board approved allowing Davis to bow hunt during the spring turkey hunting season this year and to bow hunt deer during the 2020-2021 deer season on a seven-acre parcel of land owned by the village below the lift station on the west side of Colfax.
Davis abstained from voting on the motion.
Colfax Evergreen Cemetery may soon have its first private mausoleum.
At the May 11 meeting, the village board reviewed a request to build a 28-foot by 20-foot stone and brick mausoleum that would be located in the new section of the cemetery toward the back.
The plans have been under review by the state for quite some time, and there appears to be confusion among state officials as to whether the state must also approve the plans for a private mausoleum in the same way they would have to review and approve the plans for a public mausoleum owned by the village for which the village would sell vaults, Niggemann said.
The proposal for this mausoleum is that it would be owned by one family and only family members would be buried there, she said.
The proposal would include a maintenance agreement attached to the Perpetual Care Fund along with $5,000.
Gunnufson said he was concerned whether $5,000 would be enough to cover repairs to the mausoleum if it were vandalized or damaged by a tornado or other weather event.
The person proposing the mausoleum called into the village board meeting but was not identified.
The $5,000 would be intended to be invested so there would be more money available for perpetual care of the mausoleum, the man said.
Stene suggested finding out if the village’s insurance would cover a structure at the cemetery or if it would be possible for the mausoleum owner to have insurance on the structure.
“We want to make sure all of the questions are answered,” Stene said, adding that he is in favor of the proposal but that he did not want any misunderstanding regarding the project.
The person proposing the mausoleum said he would be happy to “sign off” that the village is not responsible for vandalism or weather damage.
Niggemann suggested the man have his attorney draw up an agreement between the village of Colfax and the family that both parties could sign.
The man noted both he and Niggemann have sent multiple e-mail messages to the state agencies involved — the Department of Safety and Professional Services Plan Review Department and the state Cemetery Board — and while someone has occasionally replied that either Niggemann or the man proposing the mausoleum would receive an answer “today” — “today” has never arrived and no answers have been forthcoming.
The plans probably should not have been sent to the state because it appears the state agencies do not know how to handle the issue of a private mausoleum, he said.
“We want to make sure you are protected, and we want to make sure the state is okay with it,” Gunnufson said.
Gunnufson suggested Niggemann contact the state agencies and give them a date to respond, letting them know that if no response is received by that date, the village will assume they “are okay with it” and can then proceed with approval of the mausoleum for Colfax Evergreen Cemetery.
The Colfax Village Board tabled the agenda item until the village has received the documents from the man’s attorney and has received an answer, or no answer, from the state.
In other business, the Colfax Village Board:
• Approved a domesticated chicken license for Stephanie Johnstone, 604 University Avenue, through June 30.
• Approved a transient merchant license for Dennis J. Lenz, Ponytail Pizza, through July 31. Ponytail Pizza plans to set up at Kyle’s Market one day per week, possibly on Saturdays.
• Approved a request for a zoning variance for Hildy’s Enterprises Inc. for 303 Main Street to change the minimum front yard setback from 25 feet to 17 feet from the curb to allow a modification of the enclosed porch on the front of the house to an open porch/deck with a platform and three steps to ground level. The Colfax Zoning Board of Appeals met prior to the village board meeting and recommended approval of the zoning variance.
• Approved changing the second meeting date in May on May 25, Memorial Day, to Tuesday, May 26.