Grand Marais Golf 'n Stuff to become Putt and Pets
The city of Grand Marais is going to become a little more fun. Randy Sjogren, the new owner of the mini golf course on Highway 61 on the west side of town, is going to have Nigerian dwarf goats, chickens, turkeys, and pheasants for people to see while they golf. The new business is called Putt n Pets.
On June 25, 2013, the county board approved a conditional use permit (CUP) allowing the animals on the 1.89-acre parcel.
In order to avoid liability risks, this will not be a petting zoo. Customers will be separated from the animals by physical barriers.
The CUP was first approved by the Cook County Planning Commission after a hearing on June 12. A report of the meeting by Planning & Zoning Administrator Bill Lane stated that Mr. Sjogren “indicated the intent of the business was to ‘keep it mini,’ feeling that ‘animals are a good way to bring people together.’” In the application, Sjogren stated that Nigerian dwarf goats “are very small [and] friendly, and their playful antics are a delight to all.” He is planning to construct a goat bridge to give the goats the opportunity “to climb and show off their antics.”
Forty-four letters of notification were sent to adjacent property owners in regard to the CUP request. Several neighbors including former owner Tom Crosby expressed support and none objected.
Healthy living conditions for the animals in a natural setting of trees and shrubs will be provided in accordance with USDA regulations, and in the wintertime they will live either at Randy and Carolyn Sjogren’s home in Farmington, where they have kept animals for many years, or at the home of son and daughter-in-law Aaron and Terri Sjogren outside of Grand Marais.
The Planning Commission recommended a limit of three goats, 15-20 chickens, two turkeys, and 4-5 pheasants, but the county board wanted to be more flexible. Commissioner Bruce Martinson suggested a limit of 1.4 “animal units.”
“That’s the size of one cow,” Administrator Lane said. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture defines a large mature dairy cow as up to 1.4 animal units, which would be 1,400 pounds.
“If he wants to go up to one cow,” Martinson said, “I don’t care!”
Commissioner Sue Hakes said that would be too much animal for that space.
Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk suggested allowing 15-20 small birds, 5-7 large birds, and up to three goats.
That would break up the mother and her three kids that were born last week, Sjogren said.
“Sometimes you have to break up the family!” Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk said.
“No, no, no, not with goats!” Commissioner Jan Hall said.
Sjogren said he wouldn’t want any more than five goats anyway.
The board passed a motion approving up to five goats, 20 small birds, and seven large birds.
Regarding the discussion, Administrator Lane said, “It’s so much more fun than gravel pits!”