Mounds View ordinance on chickens and ducks heard on June 22

Mounds View held its second reading of and a vote on an ordinance to regulate chickens and ducks at its June 22 city council meeting, after the deadline for the Bulletin.

City administrator Jim Ericson recently said he didn't expect the ordinance to be nearly as controversial as an ordinance with which New Brighton recently wrestled, and the city council was collegial when it discussed a draft version of the ordinance on June 8. New Brighton passed its ordinance regulating fowl last month.

"I totally see this as kind of a neighborhood thing,” council member Carol Mueller said of the ordinance that would legalize keeping chickens and ducks in the city.

"I think there will be some neighborhoods where people in the neighborhood will embrace this and explore it and others that it won't change their neighborhood in the slightest because they won't have any interest to it," she said.

Residents' interest in keeping birds first came before the council in April when Deb Nygaard approached the body after her flock of four chickens and four ducks was accidentally discovered by the city's code enforcement officer, earlier this year.

Current city code dating to 2002 bans the keeping of farm animals in the city, including chickens and ducks.

As laid out by Ericson, the ordinance pertains to properties zoned R-1, single family homes, and says:

• Residents may keep a maximum of eight chickens or ducks or in combination.

• Residents seeking approval to keep and raise chickens or ducks shall submit an application, application fee, site plan and coop specifications incorporating generally held best practices. The city council will hold a public hearing on the matter.

• Coop structures shall be set back at least 20 feet from property lines and the subject home; coops shall only be located in rear yards. New coops shall require a permit and shall be considered an accessory building.

• Coops and the subject property shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary manner and may be subject to city inspection as may be deemed necessary.

• Backyard areas within which chicken or ducks are allowed to roam shall be fenced to confine said birds to subject property.

• Neither roosters nor drakes shall be permitted.

• No slaughtering or beheading shall be permitted on the subject premises.

• Food shall be stored in a watertight, rodent-proof container.

• Permits are valid for one year and shall be renewed annually. Permits may be revoked or denied by the city council based on cruelty, negligence or nuisance. In such event, the property owner shall be provided with an opportunity to be heard.

Council member Gary Meehlhause made it clear that other fowl such as pheasants, geese and turkey would not be permitted by the new ordinance and would remain banned.

Council members said at the June 8 meeting that they had not heard from residents opposing the bird ordinance. In a letter dated from the next day, a Mounds View property owner urged the council to vote against the ordinance because "birds like these belong on a farm, not a city."

The council said it hoped more folks who both favor and oppose the ordinance would show up the June 22 regular city council meeting to have their say.

—Mike Munzenrider


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