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Bloomington MN Settles Chicken Flap

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by Engteacher, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. Engteacher

    Engteacher Poultry, Poetry, and Prose

    Sep 1, 2009
    Hastings, MN
    By MARY JANE SMETANKA, Star Tribune

    Last update: November 2, 2010 - 7:55 PM

    Bloomington's long-running chicken debate ended with a dispirited squawk for chicken lovers when the City Council on Monday approved an ordinance change that allows about 21 percent of the properties in the city to keep hens.

    Set on making sure that neighbors are not bothered if the people next-door decide to keep hens, the council decided that chicken coops should be at least 50 feet from residential property lines. Council Member Amy Grady proposed the setback, which is half what it was in old rules that date from the 1950s.

    "I have no problem with having chickens on lots as long as they don't bother the neighbors," Grady said.

    People who want to keep chickens have been vocal, starting a Facebook page to support Bloomington hens in advocating for a 30-foot lot setback. Opponents have been just as active in letting council members know what they think, Grady said.

    "We have to balance those who want them with those who don't want them," she said.

    Council Member Karen Nordstrom said she saw allowing hens as part of the local food movement and "another step to making Bloomington a little better place to live." But Mayor Gene Winstead and council Member Vern Wilcox said they were not comfortable with having farm animals in a suburb.

    Council Member Steve Peterson said he considered the 50-foot rule a good way to see how chickens work out. He assured chicken supporters in the audience that if no problems develop, perhaps the rule could be loosened in the future.

    Bloomington resident Jeanie Mellem, who became the public face of chicken advocates when she was cited last spring for illegally keeping four hens in her backyard, said Tuesday that the decision was "silly." The new rule is so restrictive that few people will be able to keep hens, she said. A 30-foot setback would have allowed 96 percent of the residential properties in the city to have hens.

    "It just doesn't make any sense to me at all," Mellem said.
    She said she is not sure if she will be able to keep her chickens, and had contacted the city to see how measurements in her irregular lot would work. While she said she is confident she can find good homes for the hens if they need to go, she said she also is considering moving to another property that would be big enough to keep the hens she calls "the ladies."

    Mary Jane Smetanka • 612-673-7380
  2. chris10sen

    chris10sen Out Of The Brooder

    May 30, 2010
    I live in Bloomington MN and I got involved trying to get a decent chicken ordinance passed. Let’s just say I am not too pleased with the end result. The proposed animal ordinance was 4 hens with the coop having a set back of 30 ft from the property line, which would have allowed most home owners the right to have chickens. Well the city council thought they new better than animal control and decided on 50 feet set back. So in the end only a slight few will be able to have chickens. And of course the lots are on the way high end value of the city. I guess my girls will remain outlaws!
  3. Engteacher

    Engteacher Poultry, Poetry, and Prose

    Sep 1, 2009
    Hastings, MN
    I'm only hoping that this is the first step towards a more liberal chicken policy. That 50' setback seems extreme. Maybe they should have a 50' setback for dogs which are certainly louder and smellier.

    We live outside of Hastings and last year the city council upheld the ban against backyard hens. Woodbury banned chickens, too.

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