Request made to allow
raising chickens in city
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 10:45 AM
The Spring Valley City Council will consider allowing the raising of chickens within the city limits as a result of a request from the Hometown Pride group.
Hometown Pride President Loel Wessel and Pam Freet contacted council member Bill Bires about limited legalization of chickens within the city. Rushford, Chatfield, Rochester and several other cities in the state allow the keeping of small, hen-only flocks within the city limits.
"We would like to think 'green,' 'sustainable' and 'forward thinking' for Spring Valley, too," they wrote in a note to Bires. "The benefits are many: Fresh eggs and meat, knowing one's food source, helping children understand the relationship between what we eat and where it comes from. The benefits for the garden include bug control and aerating and enriching the soil."
City Administrator Deb Zimmer said she was aware the request was coming and has been looking into ordinances in other cities of similar size. They typically limit the number of birds - three to six - and require approved fencing and buildings. Many also require the approval of all neighbors to the property of an individual before a permit is granted.
Chatfield approved an ordinance in October 2011. After considerable research into the issue, the council approved a ratio of one hen per 1,800 square feet for up to six hens with a setback of 50 feet from the property line for coops.
Chatfield's city planner told the council prior to enacting the ordinance in 2011 that she contacted 41 other municipalities and none of them had any problems with nuisances.
Zimmer told the Spring Valley council that it is her understanding that at this time, Chatfield has no active permits for raising chickens.
Zimmer has been working on a proposal and plans to present it to the council at the Feb. 25 meeting for initial review. The next step if the council wants to proceed is to schedule a public hearing on the issue.