By Ivan Raconteur
MONTROSE, MN Chickens won’t be coming home to roost in Montrose any time soon.
During Monday’s city council meeting, the council discussed a request from residents Greg and Tina Norris to allow city residents to keep chickens within city limits.
At a recent council meeting, the council heard presentations outlining the benefits of keeping chickens as a family activity, and as an inexpensive food source during tough economic times.
The council continued the discussion last Monday.
City Administrator Barb Swanson informed the council that in order to allow chickens in a residential district, the council would need to amend the zoning ordinance.
The cost to do this would be $300 for a public hearing and $1,000 in escrow for other costs, per the city fee schedule.
Swanson said the $1,000 covers things such as planner’s fees, legal fees, and amending the city code.
Council Member Scott Jensen said he appreciates the time given by residents to prepare and present information. He added that he has walked through the city and observed dogs, rabbits and a variety of other animals, and he doesn’t see well-taken care of chickens as being any better or worse than animals that are already in the city.
Council Member Jeff Petersen said keeping chickens, “would be a good thing for the personal liberty of our residents.”
The council discussed the option of the city, rather than the applicants, paying the cost of amending the ordinance, which would be possible if the council determined that it would be a benefit to the residents of the city in general.
“I don’t have any objection to this (keeping chickens) on their property, especially in these economic times, but I don’t think changing the ordinance should be a city cost. It is a bit much for the city at this time,” Petersen said.
Council Member Sharon Knodel said if the city paid the costs to change this ordinance, it would have to do the same for other requests.
She described it as “A slippery slope.”
The council directed Swanson to add the topic to a list of items that will be discussed when the zoning ordinance is reviewed. The change could be made at that time, but Swanson said this may not happen for six months to one year.
Quiet zone follow-up
City Engineer Justin Kannas told the council that per council request, he reviewed quiet zone rules regarding a possible night only quiet zone.
The train horn rule states that night-time only quiet zones can be established between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
However, the risk indexes remain the same as for a 24-hour quiet zone still apply.
The council previously determined that these improvements were cost-prohibitive.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• accepted the resignation of Armando Hernandez from the fire department.
• accepted the resignation of Ruth Luffey from the park and recreation commission.
• approved an agreement with Run With Scissors to develop a city web site at a cost of $5,000.