The Ostrander City Council voted 3-1 to again table an ordinance sent from the city’s planning and zoning board that would allow residents to bring chickens into town according to certain rules, at their meeting on January 3.
“It’s just the way things are going it’s not that good. How much do you pay for a dozen of eggs – $6?” said one resident in favor of allowing chickens. “I think it will be such a benefit to provide for our neighbors. There are a lot of benefits.”
The proposed ordinance calls for an application to be required for all who wish to have chickens in town, and that no more than five chickens are kept. An annual permit cost would be $10. A separate coop would be required to house chickens and need to be near the rear yard and are subject to the required 50 feet from any residence of structures. Slaughtering of chickens would not be prohibited in city limits.
“A few people I’ve talked to don’t want to have chickens,” responded council member Dan Hellerud.
“If you all want to live in fear that’s fine,” replied one resident. “But we would like to have them (chickens). It’s a knee-jerk reaction.”
Another resident volunteered to be on a committee to oversee that the rules are enforced.
“Is this worth the city spending $25,000 or $50,000 on legal fees so a (person) can have a rooster?” one council person asked.
City Clerk Wendy Brinks mentioned that the zoning board is also keeping in mind a case in 2018 that cost the city around $50,000 in legal fees over the course of three years. The case involved two residents who wanted to bring multiple animals (horses, sheep, etc.) into the city.
“We spent a lot of time and effort into it (the ordinance). That’s what their struggle is. It’s not so much we don’t like the idea of chickens… It’s part of the battle that we’ve fought in the past.”
While no one from the public showed up to speak against the proposed ordinance, questions of enforcement dominated the minds of council members who moved to table the ordinance. Lyn Massey-Mills was the one dissenting vote hoping to keep the proposed ordinance alive.
The council discussed a bid to sand and refinish the floor in the community center from Bright’s Hardwood Floors in Stewartville in the order of $9,500. The Lion’s club has made a pledge of $1,500 toward the project. The Council decided to look for more bids and bring the topic back at a coming meeting.
Dan Hellerud was appointed deputy mayor by a unanimous vote. The deputy fills in for the mayor when she is not available to lead the meetings.
The council approved a building permit from Terry Fedderly to build a two-story home near the water tower. The home will be Fedderly’s retirement home.
Finally, the council voted to make the Fillmore County Journal its official newspaper.
The council will meet again on Tuesday, February 7 at 6:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.