Hillsboro City Council members heard concerns at their meeting Tuesday from neighbors living near a home-based taxidermy business at 308 East A Street. However, the council approved a conditional use permit for Sean Bechtold, Bechtold Taxidermy, to continue his business in town with a single stipulation.
“The planning commission went through these questions and concerns and recommended we approve the permit with the specification that the applicant dispose of animal remains at an off-site burn pit, not in the Dumpster,” City Administrator Larry Paine said. “This was actually Sean’s recommendation and he added that he would keep accurate records of disposal to avoid any problems.”
Neighbors Marlene Fast and Betty Barr said they had found a skull in their yards in the past and did not appreciate it.
“A skull with maggots on it is a big concern,” Fast said. “And my little dog was blamed.”
Barr expressed concerns to the council about easements and the possibility of gas-line dangers.
“I understand he wants to put up another building for a shop and if that is placed on the gas-line that runs through the easement to the alley it might all blow up,” Barr said.
City inspector Ben Steketee assured Barr that no buildings could be placed on top of gas lines and that any building concerns would be addressed during a building permit process.
The question before the council, however, dealt with allowing an existing business to continue with the appropriate conditional use permit in place.
“I have found Mr. Bechtold to be very sincere and willing to work out any problems or complaints,” council member Shelby Dirks said. “If the planning commission has given its approval I think we should too.”
Members approved the conditional use permit by individual vote, with Fast abstaining.
Sound permit approved
The council also approved a request from Tabor College Student Activities Adviser Sara Sigley for a May 4 loudspeaker, sound amplifier permit.
Sigley noted set-up and sound checks could begin as early as 10 a.m. for the annual Taborstock event that features live music outdoors on the college lawn. Bands are scheduled to play from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Hillsboro citizens are welcome to attend the festivities.
Council member Bob Watson said some people in town might need a personal notice of the event so city officials would not receive complaint calls.
“I would be willing to do that,” Fast said. “I think it is a great event, a good thing that the students are doing.”
Leaders sworn in
Mayor Delores Dalke and council members Fast and Watson took their oaths of office as administered by clerk Janice Meisinger.
After the swearing-in ceremony, the council elected Byron McCarty to serve another term as council president.