Controversy Over Downtown Sheldon Residence Proposal

Sheldon, Iowa — A proposal to allow two downtown businesses to use their first floor for residential purposes met considerable opposition when it was brought up for consideration by the Sheldon City Council Wednesday.  Owners of both Top Notch Stitching and the former Eagles Club had made the request and the council was presented with an ordinance change that would allow first floor residential use under certain conditions.  Some concern was expressed at the meeting that this would set a precedent and you would start seeing more ‘curtains on the windows’ of downtown buildings.  April Schaefer, representing Top Notch Stitching said this probably would not happen because the proposed changes in the ordinance were tailor-made for the two businesses making the request.  Comments were also heard that downtown second-floor residents already have parking concerns and allowing more residents to live downtown would only make that worse.  After considerable discussion it was decided to leave the Public Hearing on the matter open to be taken up again at the next council meeting.

A proposal to adopt an ordinance amendment that would require residents to use only the newer type of garbage cans was also met with some opposition.  Council members said they had heard from residents who did not feel that households had to buy their own garbage cans, but the only concession from the haulers was to change recycling to every other week.  It was pointed out that when the landfill rates went up, the haulers did not pass that on to their customers. The ordinance amendment proposal was passed on to its second reading at the next council meeting.

In other business the council accepted ‘with regret’, the resignation of Police Chief Lyle Bolkema.  Bolkema expressed his appreciation and thanks to many people including the members of the Sheldon Police Department.  He also commented on the changes he has seen in the past years, saying that, “policing has become increasingly challenging over the past 30 years, the level of respect for officers has declined, and every day our officers put on their uniforms while facing the reality that today might be their last day.” The council then approved the appointment of Officer Dave Dykstra as interim Chief of Police.  Dykstra has said he will not be an applicant for the permanent position.  The council, on the advice of City Manager Sam Kooiker, agreed to seek the help of a consultant in the search to replace Bolkema.


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