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No cows for now in St. Paul Park

St. Paul Park City Council members voted 5-0 on Jan. 4 to reject a proposed amendment to city ordinance, which would have allowed cows on property along County Road 75, at the south end of the city.

The request for a proposed amendment came from landowner Gordon Nesvig and was considered by the planning commission in November and December.

Steve Hunstad, city council member and liaison to the planning commission, said the city's comprehensive plan doesn't allow that type of use.

"We don't have any agriculture or farming type district on our books," Hunstad said. "Therefore, we have no zoning for either type, therefore we can't allow a variance or conditional use for that property."

However, Hunstad said, the planning commission is sensitive to the desires of the landowner. "The commission would like to see some way to allow that kind of operation down there, but also make sure that we address the air and water quality issues -- issues that may result from that type of use," he said.

The proper mechanism is an interim use process, Hunstad added, but St. Paul Park doesn't have an interim use option on its books.

"We have a reasonable request from a landowner but can't address these issues in a timely fashion so I think we should reject this proposed amendment at this time and have the planning commission work on an interim use process and potentially use that for what the landowner wants to do," Hunstad said.

In December, Nesvig told the planning commission he wanted to lease land to a butcher to use as a holding pen for 40 to 100 cows. "This was just a temporary use while waiting to develop the property as residential," Nesvig said.