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Willmar, Minn., City Council sets hearing for bow and arrow regulation

WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council voted Monday to hold a public hearing Aug. 19 on a proposed ordinance amendment that would regulate shooting a bow and arrow within city limits.

The proposal would amend city ordinance regulating dangerous weapons and discharge of firearms. The intent of the amendment is to allow persons to participate in the sport of archery in the city in a safe and responsible manner that will not threaten the public health, safety and welfare

The amendment came about after Police Chief David Wyffels sought council approval a couple of months ago to lengthen the time from 60 to 180 days when an individual could have a permit to shoot pests on private property.

At the May 14 Public Works/Safety Committee meeting, Wyffels was directed to review current city ordinance relating to dangerous weapons and the use of a bow and arrow in city limits.

Wyffels researched bow and arrow regulation in other cities. Public comments were sought and he met with the local archery club, Little Crow Archers. City Attorney Robert Scott assisted on the proposed ordinance changes.

The amendment would require a backstop of any continuous solid wall or embankment of at least 8 feet in height and 16 feet in width that an arrow cannot pass through. Among other things, the amendment would prohibit discharge of barbed and bladed arrow tips except for taking fish or game.

Also, the ordinance amendment would lengthen the permit time for shooting pests from two to six months.

The committee recommended the amendment on a 3-1 vote at the July 30 meeting.

Committee members Ron Christianson, chair, and members Audrey Nelsen and Bruce DeBlieck were in favor and Steve Ahmann was opposed.

Ahmann told the committee he was concerned for the safety of neighboring property owners with arrows possibly flying over the backstop. He said the city would be better off not having any allowed unless permission is received from adjoining property owners.

Brew pub ordinance OK'd

In other business Monday night, the council held a public hearing and approved an ordinance creating a taproom license that will allow a licensed brewery, also known as a brew pub, to sell on-site brewed products for consumption on the premises.

Also, the ordinance allows the same licensed brewer to make off-premise sales of the brewed malt liquor.

City Clerk-Treasurer Kevin Halliday said the council was previously agreeable to creating this new license category and allowing off-premise sales after the city received a request from an individual who Halliday had not identified to create the new license.

During the hearing, Ryan Fuchs came forward and identified himself as the individual who had emailed Halliday and made the request.

Fuchs pointed out that alcohol content of the beers would vary depending on style of beer.

City Attorney Robert Scott, who drafted the ordinance, said the ordinance is consistent with state statute and does not limit the alcohol content to 3.2 percent.

"Perfect. That would be great,'' Fuchs said.

The new license category follows state law created by the Legislature in 2011.

In related business, the council approved a resolution setting the taproom on-sale license fee at $150 per year.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150