Action on a zoning ordinance that would include small animal or reptile education businesses was postponed by the Hudson Common Council Monday night after the city attorney pointed out inconsistencies between the proposed ordinance and the city's existing animal ordinance.
Catherine Munkittrick said these inconsistencies would need to be resolved before approval.
Consideration of the ordinance was prompted after Emily Roberts, owner of Snake Discovery, came forward looking to open a business of this nature.
Currently Snake Discovery brings reptiles to locations such as libraries to teach people about reptiles and amphibians. Roberts said she would like to open a recreation facility in Hudson where people can come for education, as well as to purchase reptiles and reptile supplies.
The business would not work with the two reptile species invasive to the area - the American alligator and the red-eared slider turtle. Exotic species that would be sold wouldn't be able to survive the area winters, so if any animals managed to get out it would not affect the ecosystem of the St. Croix Valley.
The ordinance would add a new land designation to allow facilities of this type, said Associate City Planner Tiffany Weiss. They would operate under an agricultural residential, general business, central business or light industrial zones, and would be required to submit an application for a conditional use permit.
Munkittrick said the ordinance should include a definition of small animal. It should also include specific factors for denial of the conditional use permit, as state laws have been revised to require a higher standard of criteria to deny.
She reminded the council this is a zoning ordinance, and should not be tailored to one specific application.
Council Member Randy Morrissette moved to move the ordinance to first reading and address the consistency issues. The motion was approved, and the issue will be on the next agenda.
Steering committee appointment
Fred Yoerg was appointed as the final member of the comprehensive plan request for proposal review and steering committee. Yoerg serves on the Hudson Plan Commission.
Council Member Jim Webber and staff members Mike Mroz, Mike Johnson, Tiffany Weiss and the city administrator were previously appointed to the committee.