O'Fallon Progress

Council tightens leash on dog owners who visit city parks

Making pet owners more responsible about controlling their dogs when at the local parks is the intent behind two ordinances that update regulations, which are now under consideration by the O’Fallon City Council.

The council advanced amending both ordinances that address animals in the parks specifically and in the city generally at its meeting Monday.

The council is also working on making it easier for groups holding special events to obtain limited use liquor licenses. This would cover plans for the new downtown pavilion. Final approval for both issues would be Nov. 5.

Regarding pets, such as dogs and cats, leashes are required, and the definition was strengthened in the amendment.

“Leashes shall be of a reasonable length to maintain control of the animal and to not impede the use and enjoyment of the parks for other patrons,” the proposal states.

A leash is defined as “a cord, rope, strap or chain, which shall be securely fastened to the collar or harness of a dog, cat or other animal and shall be of sufficient strength to keep such dog, cat or other animal under control.”

After ordinances were reviewed in committee meetings in August and September, clarifications were added to the definitions.

Mayor Herb Roach said these changes are part of an ongoing process to review city policies to see if any changes are needed.

“It was felt that we needed to have more in place about those using the park to be more responsible for having control of their animals,” he said. “Some people would just leave them run and some would show aggressive behavior towards individuals and other animals.”

The ordinance regulating animals in the city states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to bring or have any animal in any city park at any time, except as permitted.” Those exceptions are:

  • Dogs and cats must be on a leash and on paved perimeter walking trails of the city parks, with Rock Springs Rotary Park an exception, where they can use all trails if on a leash.

  • They can only be off leash in the fenced-in dog park area of Rock Springs Rotary Park as long as their owner or keeper is in the Dog Park area.

  • Animals are allowed beyond the paved perimeter walking trails for events where their access has been duly authorized by the city.

  • A registered service animal for a disabled person shall be allowed in city parks when accompanied by its master.

In other action

The city advanced changes to its liquor license ordinance to make it easier for groups applying for special events.

“We are looking ahead as to possible events that may occur downtown at the new pavilion that could have alcoholic beverages involved. This could involve local businesses or a caterer,” the mayor said.

“We are going to follow the state guidelines,” Roach said.

Several businesses had approached the city clerk’s office regarding the issuance of a caterer’s license to ease the application process for special events and other off-premise activites that involve food and alcohol.

The proposal states that the applicant must demonstrate that they operate a catering business or a portion of their business involving catering or food preparation and service.

The applicant must also have a valid liquor license to be eligible to apply for a Class K catering license. That license does not exempt requirement for a special event permit for off-site alcohol sales at an event open to the public.

The liquor license would carry a $100 annual fee.

The council also approved the first reading of an ordinance amending zoning for Primo’s Italian Garage, to be located at 729 W. Highway 50, Suite F.

Ryan O’ Day is seeking planned use approval for a takeout and delivery Italian restaurant with alcohol sales. The proposed use is for 1,460 square feet of vacant tenant space in the back of a building along Principle Drive.

The Community Development Committee will address establishing a policy for food trucks at its Oct. 22 meeting.

“We have no policy at this time, so food trucks could set up shop anywhere at any time with no food license or safety precautions,” Roach said. “We would like to make sure of the safety of food trucks operating in the city. We’d like to have some control on who and where they are set up, and not have a situation that damages our local restaurants.”

In his report, the mayor announced that the tax levy is on the Finance and Administration Committee agenda for Nov. 12.

The next Town Hall Meeting is Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers.

The Committee of the Whole will meet Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers.