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October 23, 2014

New St. Cloud law bans couches on porches

Here’s one long-standing problem the St. Cloud City Council would not take sitting down: porch couches.

Specifically, the Council this week unanimously banned upholstered furniture designed for indoor use being set outdoors on patios, porches and yards, the St. Cloud Times reports. Violators are likely to get a warning and then a $100 fine.

What’s the big deal? The scruffy sofas are aesthetically unpleasing, not to mention a health and safety concern, one resident of the neighborhood near St. Cloud State University told the council. She said the couches were targets for fires.

Couch controversy is not new. The New York Times in 1998 chronicled one battle over the porch perches in Wilson, N.C.

The issue seems to pop up like an old sofa spring in college town neighborhoods, where students are living in houses alongside long-time residents.

The City Council in Lawrence, home to the University of Kansas, in August narrowly approved a porch-couch ban, the Journal-World reported. Fire officials there, too, cited fire risks.

City officials in Bloomington, Ind., banned porch couches, saying they are home to rats and mildew, although college students had argued the furniture offers them a great place to crash between classes, FOX 59 reported early this year.

A similar ban in Ann Arbor did not sit well with University of Michigan students a few years ago, the Ann Arbor News reported.