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Mayer approves chicken ordinance
March 3, 2014

By Ivan Raconteur
Editor

Residents who meet requirements may apply for a license to keep chickens

MAYER, MN – After sitting through numerous city council meetings during the past six months, and worrying they might have to either move or get rid of their five chickens, Linnea Boyd and her daughters Lucia, Adda, and Bella got the answer they were hoping for during the Feb. 24 Mayer City Council meeting.

On a 3-2 vote, with Mayor Mike Dodge and council members Tice Stieve-McPadden and Daniel Lueth in favor, and council members Erick Boder and Bruce Osborn opposed, the council approved an ordinance under which residents who meet the requirements may apply for a license to keep chickens in the city.

A second motion to approve the application form and fees was approved on a 4-1 vote, with Dodge, Stieve-McPadden, Osborn, and Boder in favor, and Lueth opposed.

The discussion began last August after the city learned the Boyds were keeping chickens in town.

The Boyds moved to Mayer last spring, and brought their five chickens with them. Linnea explained they depend on the chickens for eggs, and the chickens are more like family pets than livestock.

The council agreed to at least consider adopting an ordinance that would allow residents to keep chickens.

The city researched issues related to keeping chickens in a residential area, and looked at ordinances from other cities that allow chickens.

Linnea assisted with the research, and provided additional information and suggestions.

The council discussed the subject at several council meetings and workshops over the past six months.

The resulting ordinance was reviewed by the city attorney.

Throughout the process, council members expressed their willingness to allow residents to keep chickens only if it could be done without hurting other city residents.

Discussions covered a wide range of details, including setback requirements, fencing, storage of feed, and removal of waste.

Prior to the vote on the ordinance Feb. 24, Boder noted his objection to a line in the section related to requiring written consent from 75 percent of owners of properties within 200 feet of the proposed site.

The line states such consent “may” also be required upon any request for renewal of the license. Boder said the line should state such consent “shall” or “will” be required.

Dodge said he prefers leaving the word “may” in the statement.

Stieve-McPadden pointed out the city may revoke a license if the license holder fails to comply with the ordinance or any of the conditions of the license.

Osborn said he is against keeping chickens in the city under any circumstances.

Provisions of the ordinance:

• The owner of the chickens shall live on the property where the chickens are kept.

• No more than five hen chickens shall be kept on the property.

• No roosters or adult male chickens are allowed.

• All chickens shall be kept in a separate enclosed building and/or fenced outdoor containment area. The size of the coop and other details are specified in the ordinance.

• Leg banding of all chickens is required, and must include the owner’s name, address, and phone number.

• The slaughter of chickens on site is prohibited, as is the raising of chickens for breeding purposes.

• The sale of eggs or other commercial activity on the premises is prohibited.

The council approved a fee of $50 for the initial license, and $25 for renewal every year thereafter.

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