Otsego gives leash ordinance more teeth

by Dawn Feddersen-Poindexter

Contributing writer

The Otsego City Council amended ordinances on dog leash requirements and sign size in the freeway corridor at the regular meeting on Oct. 22. The city also signed a joint powers agreement with the city of Rogers, agreeing to provide $100,000 to the extensive roadwork project at Highway 101 and Hennepin County Road 144.

Previously, it was legal in Otsego to control your dog using a leash or voice command. After receiving feedback from a concerned resident, the council agreed to reconsider the leash ordinance.

City Planner Daniel Licht explained the issue to the council. He said, “City code currently provides for control with a physical leash or provides for control by voice command the same as a leash. It’s good in theory but not so good in practice when you have big dog meets little dog on the trail.”

He added that with Otsego’s growth in recent years from a more rural community to a suburban city a change in the ordinance was even more pertinent.

The council agreed to remove the verbal control portion of the ordinance and require leashes at all times on public property. They also designated the west portion of Prairie Park and Waterfront East as off-leash areas.

Otsego kicks in 100G for highway overpass that leads to school

The council approved a joint powers agreement, under which the city agreed to provide the city of Rogers with $100,000 to help pay for a nearly $20 million project at Highway 101 and County Road 144. The project will completely overhaul the intersection and replace it with an overpass and a diverging diamond design on the roadway below.

Johnson explained the benefits of participating in the project, “Our children go to school at Rogers High School. Our commuters use it. There’s a lot of benefits for our residents. That’s why we want to go ahead and participate in a project outside of Otsego.”


Freeway corridor sign ordinance

The city has, in recent months, initiated a series of meetings with local business owners to gain a better understanding of their needs within the community. One topic that proved popular with businesses was the ability to add additional signage to capture the attention of drivers, particularly on Highway 101 and I-94.

Originally, the sign ordinance allowed businesses to have signs 50 feet high, based on proposed designs for Highway 101. However, Highway 101 was constructed taller than was originally expected, making the signs less visible than expected.

The council amended the ordinance to allow for signs 70 feet in height in the Freeway Corridor District. They also allowed for businesses to share tall freestanding signs, add a second sign along the roadway for directional purposes, and put out small temporary signs to advertise special deals.

“This is a good midway point,” City Administrator Lori Johnson said of the changes. “Every business wants more signage. You can’t blame them for that. This goes a long way towards helping them with that.”