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City has fowl dilemma

Staff writer

A pair of proposed animal ordinances were debated at Monday’s city council meeting, but neither approved.

After the chicken ordinance came to council’s attention in March, city attorney Susan Robson drafted a new ordinance, but council members diagreed whether chickens should be limited or banned altogether.

Councilman Chris Costello said he’s opposed to allowing chickens in the city limits.

“I’ve talked to several people since the last meeting, and they said they wouldn’t want chickens living next to them,” Costello said. “I’m against any chickens.”

Councilman Jerry Kline dissented.

“You drive around town and there’s quite a few little kids having a few chickens,” Kline said. “I’m for having them.”

Councilman Chad Adkins took a middle-of-the-road stance.

“It seems there are places in town where it seems reasonable that there be chickens,” Adkins said.

On the other hand, Adkins said, a high-end neighborhood such as where chicken owners Alan and Jennifer Stapleford live is not a place to keep chickens.

Council members debated a special-use permit to allow chickens, but quickly decided that wasn’t the best decision to make.

The draft chicken ordinance would prohibit keeping any domestic fowl except chickens, and limit the number of chickens to six females.

Roosters are not allowed. Chickens can be kept in a rear yard only and must be kept at least 10 feet from properly lines and 50 feet from any adjacent buildings. Odors are not to be smelled beyond the owner’s property and noise cannot be loud enough to disturb neighbors.

The issue arose when Nickolas and Ann Hett complained about problems with chickens and dogs on the Staplefords’ property at 716 S. Roosevelt. Hett requested revision of ordinances regarding chickens and animals at large.

“I’m tired of having to see, smell, hear, and clean up after my neighbor’s property,” Nickolas Hett told council members then.

The proposed draft of a new animal at large ordinance specified that dogs off an owner’s property and not on a leash can be impounded and the owner charged a $50 fine, $20 pickup fee and $15 per night for impoundment. Additionally, if the dog damages any property while loose, the owner can be charged the cost associated with the damage.

The proposed ordinances were tabled until the May 9 council meeting.

In other matters, council members:

  • approved a VFW request for a fireworks sale permit with funds going to support the VFW and Marion County Resource Center;
  • heard the 2015 audit report from Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd;
  • considered a request for a public hearing on an industrial revenue bond proposal; and
  • reappointed the city attorney, city clerk, city treasurer, fire chief, police chief, municipal judge, and city administrator.

Last modified April 27, 2016

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