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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Zoning Board of Appeals has approved a variance for a chain link fence at 803 University Avenue in Colfax.
Two people who live closest to the property, Kristy Roberts and Scott Gunnufson, said they do not have a problem with a chain link fence being installed, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, at a public hearing held by the Colfax Zoning Board of Appeals March 30.
Niggemann did not receive any comments from the other four property owners who also received the public hearing notice: Bethany Lutheran Church, Alan and Donna Johnson, Trinity and Leslie Moen and Northwest LLC.
A variance was required because the village’s ordinances prohibit chain link fences in residential areas under Section 13-1-140 (c) (3) which states, “No fence woven, twisted, welded or interlaced wire fence shall be located in a Residential District, unless such fencing is ornamental in character.”
The fence will be a black chain link fence, five feet tall, to keep the dogs in the backyard, said Casey Peterson, property owner, who noted the fence will surround the entire backyard.
Gene Gibson, a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, asked who owned the property in back of 803 University.
Roberts is to the west and Gunnufson is across the street. Bethany Lutheran Church is on the other side of the property, and the vacant land behind the property is owned by Al and Donna Johnson, Niggemann said.
Bethany Lutheran Church and Roberts would be the most affected, she said.
Mark Mosey, Zoning Board of Appeals member, asked whether any gates would be installed in the fence.
Mosey chaired the meeting in the absence of Mike Buchner.
Gates will be on the west side of the house and on the east side, and in the northwest corner there will be a 10-foot swinging gate, Peterson said.
“We do not go in and out of the backyard much,” he said.
Niggemann asked about access to the backyard from the Johnson property.
Peterson said when he purchased the property, he thought there was an easement on the Johnson property, but upon further reflection, wondered if he had misunderstood, and that instead of a formal easement, there was permission from the Johnsons.
Niggemann suggested Peterson check the land title or contact the Dunn County Register of Deeds to confirm whether a formal easement is in place for the property.
Niggemann said she had not understood that the chain link fence would be coated in black and asked Zoning Board of Appeals members to consider whether black coating would make the fence ornamental, and so therefore, would not require a variance.
Zoning Board of Appeals members agreed the black coating would not make the fence ornamental and that it would require a variance.
Fencing in the backyard is a responsible way to keep dogs, Gibson commented.
The backyard cannot be seen from the highway and none of the neighbors have expressed opposition to installing a chain link fence, said Jason Johnson, Zoning Board of Appeals member.
After closing the public hearing, the Colfax Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved the variance for a chain link fence at 803 University Avenue.
In addition to Buchner, Mosey, Johnson and Gibson, Rich Bautch serves on the Colfax Zoning Board of Appeals.