Councilman Questions Watering Exemptions for Woodbury

Christopher Burns says the watering rules and other issues prompted him to request an upcoming council workshop.

If you have to follow the rules, why doesn’t the city?

That’s the question Councilman Christopher Burns has asked, prompting an upcoming workshop session on a few issues he has with how the city handles certain ordinances and procedures.

Specifically, Burns during said he has a problem with the city violating its own .

That the city has an exemption to water places like the and the fields at times when citizens cannot has “left me challenged,” Burns said.

Director David Jessup said those places—and others like Bailey Nursery—need the exemption because it’s part of their basic service.

“It’s not ancillary; it’s not aesthetic,” he said.

Councilwoman Julie Ohs also noted that the turf at Eagle Valley and Bielenberg are taxpayer investments that the city must protect.

But Burns also said that he recently saw sprinklers on at the city’s between noon and 5 p.m., when it’s prohibited for residents to water their lawns. Staff said it was likely an issue with the timers.

So a resident would be fined for a similar issue, “but with the city it’s an ‘oops’ thing,” Burns said.

“I want us to follow the same rules as everybody else,” he said.

Parks and Recreation Director Bob Klatt said there are times when Eagle Valley staff must water between noon and 5 p.m. or “they’ll lose the grass.”

While Burns said he respects Klatt’s expertise, he also said that assertion seemed “a bit off.”

During Wednesday’s meeting, Councilman Paul Rebholz said former Mayor Bill Hargis was ever cognizant of the issue of institutional integrity and added that the watering at Bielenberg and the golf course are special cases.

Still, Rebholz said, “Your point is well taken.”

Burns has other issues besides the watering, including:

  • ;
  • without seeking out other groups (“Why just the one charity?”); and
  • not putting out bids for the .

“I’m a fan of Sunshine Laws and things that keep it as open and honest as possible,” Burns said.

He said he simply wants to revisit some of these items during the workshop and make sure they make sense for Woodbury.


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Ed Weingartner June 02, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I believe Eagle Valley Golf Course has its own well. Not sure about Prestwick. I believe that a one-size-fits-all approach to water usage and rates is a larger problem.
Kris Janisch June 02, 2012 at 02:15 PM
I know the city draws from ponds for a lot of its irrigation.
Kris Janisch June 02, 2012 at 02:34 PM
And I think they're taking advantage of part of the Woodbury Drive expansion project to use more green watering at both courses, if memory serves.
Derek Arnold June 25, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Why, after record amounts of rain in May, are these watering ordinances in effect? Can city officials say with a straight face that we're low on water this summer? If I pay for a product, who is the city to say how much I should be able to buy? Should the city have a say in how much of other products I use if I pay for them as well? If the city isn't following its own ordinance they should get rid of it, or stop violating it.
Paul Whackernutz June 25, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Klatt's comments are intriguing given the city's propaganda that turf will be just fine if you water on fewer days, just "deeper." Actually, the "water less and deeper" is sound; too bad the city doesn't heed their own advice. So he's got a taxpayer investment to protect? Glad to hear he's looking out for it. What he saves me there might offset my losses in my own landscaping investment when I can't water.


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