Fighting for chickens in Saint Paul MN--UPDATE

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by beakkeeper, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. beakkeeper

    beakkeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2008
    I have never been so justifiably mad in my entire life. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The current rules for keeping chickens require one to get permission from 75% neighbors within a 150' radius. Not too complicated, unless you have hard headed next-doors who squelch the plan. [​IMG] They kind of nudged the other neighbors to say no as well, thereby shooting down all hope of chickens for me. About four months ago I asked for and was denied a permit by my neighbors. They belittled me and virtually told me I was too immature to "undertake this endeavour". I visited a chicken farm to "see what this entails" and ended up telling the very negative owner ["chickens are hard to take care of, they smell, you don't make a profit, I'm getting out of the business ASAP," etc.] more about his own birds than he actually knew. I had pretty much given up chickens and started praying for a miracle (either a plague of hemorrhoids or a change of heart, take your pic [​IMG] )

    Fast forward now to the last month or so. An amendment is proposed to the Saint Paul City Council by Councilman Russ Stark which would allow me and other Saint Paul city residents to keep up to 3 hens WITHOUT neighbor permission! *angel chorus* the miracle we've been waiting for!

    August 26-the council considers the amendment in the private meeting. I spoke personally to my councilman, Patrick Harris, and told him that I supported the bill. He told me that he was hearing a lot of opposition to this. [​IMG]

    September 2- public hearings. Unfortunately, school prevented me from being there at city hall when the proposal was going through, but I watched a video of the proceedings and NO ONE came out and opposed it PUBLICLY. The aide to Harris personally ASSURED me that it would "sail through" and be finally resolved on September 9.

    Sept 9, today-The amendment comes up for final resolution. Congressman Stark (who proposed the original amendment) asks for a FIVE WEEK LAYOVER. because "there might be some ideas for amendments out there." Translation: The opposition is too "minnesota ice" to come out in public and stand against this bill, they have to get there act together and they can shoot this bill down in five weeks.

    This is so infuriating, so incensing--I have wanted chickens for over a year now. I have tried every approach. I went through government, I pushed for change, and now it's being laid over. Yes, potentially, the bill could pass without any major changes, but that's five weeks from now, meaning I'd have to wait another six months to get my chicks! I'm going to graduate from highschool in the next few years, and I want to have my chickens before that!

    Maybe I'm just irrational, maybe I shouldn't expect people to come forward and make a public stand, I don't know. But now what? Should I keep pushing this amendment? Should I go back and ask for neighbors permission again, pleading and begging for just 3? Should I keep them illegally, risking fine and neighbor consternation? Or should I just give up? wait till I can move out of this place into the sticks where no one cares?!?! My neighbors who are not within the 150' circle also are interested in this, and what if they get chickens and I don't? How will I bear this--INJUSTICE???? ugh.

    Sorry for the rant, I just need to think more level-headedly. So if you live in saint paul, PLEASE call your city council person and let them know that you want this bill to pass WITHOUT amendments, and as soon as possible. Better yet, call all the stubborn anti-chicken people and start pouring their heads full of chicken dream speech.

    THanks for listening, all BYC. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  2. Camelot Farms

    Camelot Farms Chickenista

    I hate that this is so difficult for you. I applaud you tenacity and perseverence.

    I hope that it works out. Keep us posted!
  3. AK Michelle

    AK Michelle Bad Girl of the North

    Mar 17, 2009
    Palmer, Alaska
    ok, first of all
    Quote:[​IMG] [​IMG]

    Ok, now for a little advice.

    I work in government, I work with a board that has to hold public hearings so I kinda have some insite into the OTHER side of this process.

    You have 5 weeks, USE IT!!! Every second counts. It sounds like you know peope who are wanting to have chickens too. Get them together, ask them to rally everyone they know, even people who don't personally want to own chickens but have no personal aversion to others owning them.

    People are lazy, myself included. If you ask me to call I might, and I might procrastinate and not get around to it, but if someone (you for example) drafts a letter and emails it to me so all I have to do is cut and paste it into an eamil and send it to my councilperson, at the address you so thoughtfully provide with the letter) I will probably get that done.

    Collect signatures in favor of the ordinance or hang a flyer in all the local feed stores looking for support/assistance or run an ad on craigslist. There are literally so many ways to get a group of people together. You sound like you are motivated and really, someone with energy is pretty contagious, so keep that spark alive my friend.

    Now I have seen our board be dead set against something, and it gets continued and they come to the table ready to vote no and then someone says hey, why not? Why not allow this? And all the sudden, now that they have a live member of the public standing in front of them, they start thinking, yea, why not?

    Be prepared to show up at the hearing, the board I work with usually won't support a project the petitioner doesn't show up for. Now you are not the petitioner but you are trying to get support, what better way to show your support than to show up and be heard. Besides, they have trouble being mean to peoples face. But be sure you have your facts.

    It was a public hearing, ask for a copy of the transcript or recording. It is all public info, I routinely copy the recordings for the public, which they purchase for $5 a cd. then you can see what was said, what the opposition was if there was any... Also ask to read the file or get a copy of the packet that was used at the meeting. We give each member of the board a packet of info pertaining to each case. It is up to them to read said packet, I don't believe many of them read the whole thing. We have copies available to the public at the hearing but they can also be purchased after the fact .25/page.

    Research if there is an appeal process and what that process might be. Our board hates the thought of being turned over on appeal and has voted for things just so it wouldn't get overturned later.

    So stop and breathe, think logically, come back here for more advice, there are so many members and some are completely brilliant! Think through your logical arguements for, and also the logic against, passing this ordinance. Have you ever taken a debate class?

    Make lists of pros and cons, get numbers, (how many constituants want this) Remember, voters are really hard to ignore.

    I'm sorry that was so long-winded. I hope some of that helps.

  4. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    If they are looking for amendments, offer a balanced set of them--focus on nuisance via reference to existing ordinances, extra allowances for 4H & FFA kids to have a larger number of birds, including roosters, so long as they are not a nuisance (based upon existing nuisance laws)/ Provide them with copies of pertinent portions of ordinances of other cities relating to keeping chickens.
  5. Three Cedars Silkies

    Three Cedars Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 17, 2008
    Gainesville, Fl.
    Brilliant response Michelle...[​IMG]
  6. Whispering Winds

    Whispering Winds Chillin' With My Peeps

    I had pretty much given up chickens and started praying for a miracle (either a plague of hemorrhoids or a change of heart, take your pic )

    Ha!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] I wanted the same thing for an ex-bosses husband that caused 4 of us so much grief in the office where we worked that I wanted a friend who did white magic to do one bad spell for me. I didn't want hemorroids, I wanted her to give him an itchy butt. Not just your normal itch here and there itchy butt, I wanted it to only happen in public, and take him to his knees. She gently refused as it makes it come back on her 10 fold, so I had to relent and just think black thoughts, but it sure was funny!!!! By the way, the ex boss divorced him, he can't find a job, and everyone can't stand him . . .so Karma did the trick, even if it wasn't an itchy butt. I can live with it!!! [​IMG]
  7. AK Michelle

    AK Michelle Bad Girl of the North

    Mar 17, 2009
    Palmer, Alaska
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. AK Michelle

    AK Michelle Bad Girl of the North

    Mar 17, 2009
    Palmer, Alaska
    Now who else has advice for beakkeeper?
  9. beakkeeper

    beakkeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2008
    Thanks all for your informative and supportive replies! That's just what I've come to expect from BYC. [​IMG]

    Thanks for all the ideas, Michelle. I have posted a sign at the local pet shop, which sells chicken feed, but there really aren't any farm stores close to me. I will definitely try the other ways too.

    One thought came to me--could I get a variance? I don't even know what exactly that means, but I am on a double lot on a corner and a big yard, so maybe those factors would be in my favor--> I could make the claim that it wouldn't affect anyone too much (negatively that is!)

    Anyone know what a variance is and how to get one?

    again thanks for your help, all!
  10. beakkeeper

    beakkeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2008
    I just heard the message that Councilman Stark left...

    He laid it over because he knew that he didn't have the votes at the time! Now I feel so stupid because my sister and dad called him and basically lit into him last night on his message machine. whoops! He is supportive of the bill, though, and needs to have people make their opinions heard!!!! so PLEASE! All saint paul people should call!

    Here is the city council site:

    Mr. Stark's page:

    There is a chance that we can get this through if we push hard! Thankfully, this 5 week layover allows me to finish volleyball season and get into the swing of school again! i'm so busy I couldn't take care of chickens anyway! [​IMG]

    Keep pushing, and we just might get what we want!

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