Planning Commission puts chickens back on the tableMembers of the Cloquet Planning Commission voted 5-1 to recommend the City Council approve changes to the city code to allow residents to raise chickens provided they meet certain requirements. The council likely will vote on the ordinance at its 7 pm Aug. 7 meeting.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Members of the Cloquet Planning Commission voted 5-1 to recommend the City Council approve changes to the city code to allow residents to raise chickens provided they meet certain requirements.
Although the current city ordinance forbids any farm animals on residential lots less than 10 acres in size, a proposal drafted by Planning Commission member Julie Kainu and chicken “activists” Diane Lambert, Deb Spears and several others would add a whole new chicken ordinance to the city code.
Under the proposed ordinance, anyone wanting to raise chickens would be restricted to five or fewer laying hens; no roosters allowed. Anyone wanting to raise chickens would be required to obtain a license from the city: fees for that would be $35 the first year and $20 in subsequent years. To get a license, a would-be chicken owner would need to obtain signatures indicating approval from 75 percent of neighbors within 100 feet of the property, meet certain building requirements for the coop as well as a 25-foot setback from any neighboring homes and abide by a “three strikes” policy, meaning if the city received three nuisance complaints within a year officials could revoke the license.
No residents spoke during the public comment portion of the public hearing, although Lambert did cluck a few times before noting that her position on the subject was well known to the planning commission since it was she who made the initial request to allow chickens.
Planning Commission member Uriah Wilkinson was the sole “no” vote on the chicken ordinance. After the meeting, he said he had spoken to a number of community members who were opposed to allowing chickens within city limits, in part because of worries about attracting more predators, such as foxes, into the city.
For Wilkinson, the biggest deal breaker is the fact that the city doesn’t have an animal control officer, which means that Cloquet police officers will have to respond to complaints about chickens and their owners.
“If we had an animal control officer, I would feel very differently,” he said.
The proposed chicken ordinance will now be considered by the Cloquet City Council at its 7 p.m. meeting Aug. 7, in Council Chambers at Cloquet City Hall. Planning Commission votes are recommendations; council votes become law.