The St. Cloud City Council passed a measure this week to ban couches and other upholstered furniture from decks and porches. Should other cities like Duluth and Superior do the same? The measure, unanimously passed by the St. Cloud City Council on Monday night, prohibits outdoor use of furniture designed for indoor use on private property.

The St. Cloud Times reports that the measure was passed following growing concerns about several neighborhoods in the city as well as similar use in front of some downtown businesses. Primary concerns noted include health and safety concerns, fire hazards, and aesthetics concerns; stating that older and less visually appealing furniture is generally used outside. The ordinance does allow for temporary outdoor placement if the furniture is being sold or scheduled for pickup by trash collectors.

While outdoor use of indoor furniture like couches isn't limited to this, many college towns see a larger than normal count of old couches and recliners sitting on porches. Speaking for myself, I can remember seeing (and sitting on) plenty of outdoor couches in my college days. While I may have enjoyed many porch couch sittings, I can certainly see the other side of the coin not only with fire concerns and issues of looks; but thinking back on it, it's kind of gross to think about what sorts of moldy goodness is growing in a damp couch cushion.

Is it the right of a private propertyholder (or renter) to place furniture wherever they want, or do the public concerns over health, fire, and aesthetics outweigh these rights?

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