Debate over fowl gets snuffed out earlyRed Wing’s great chicken debate never really got off the ground.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing’s great chicken debate never really got off the ground.
City Council decided Monday to leave alone a law making it illegal to raise fowl in any area not zoned agricultural.
Council members said they passed on the ordinance because it would be overly burdensome to enforce, especially for staff already struggling because of budget cuts.
“We do have to look at our priorities, where we’re spending our time and money,” Council member Dan Bender said.
City officials were prompted to take up the matter by Shannon Tarr, 316 Cannon View Drive, a local owner of fowl within the city. Tarr advocated the city reconsider its policies.
Earlier this year the council had two lower commissions review the matter. The Red Wing Planning Department found the urban chicken husbandry is a growing trend in the Untied States.
The Planning Advisory Commission recommended council leave well enough alone and punt on the issue.
The Sustainability Commission, however, looked somewhat favorably upon raising chickens, because the commission favors local food production.
The commission did say there would have to be a fair amount of regulations.
Tarr, meanwhile, said chickens calm her young son who suffers from severe case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
But opponents of domestic chickens in urban areas say hens too can be noisy — roosters are rarely if ever allowed — and they can cause odors.
Had the council had more of an appetite for overhauling the current law, Shannon Tarr’s neighbor, Scott Bender, 326 Cannon View Drive, was prepared.
He delivered the council Monday a petition that he said contained 80 signatures from people opposed to lifting the ban on fowl.
“Literally 80 signatures of people who say, ‘No we don’t want them,’” said Bender. “It’s a trendy issue but it’s a bad idea.”
City Council President Mike Schultz said there are a number of people in town who have chickens.
Schultz said the practical reality is police aren’t going to spend their time looking for fowl violations. So as long as a resident’s chickens or geese don’t offend their neighbors, those residents likely won’t have an issue.