Ok, its time to drop the bomb!!!!!!!!!


12 Years
Sep 13, 2009
Stanley, North Dakota
ya know, i think it'll be better if i try to change some of my town's zoning laws instead of getting a zoning variance. why? because chickens are like patato chips, you just can't have 1 (or 2) so i need you're help to drop the bomb. i can make a petition! i'm good at making petitions! but what to put in it to convice those stuborn athoirties, now how should i start?

P.S. The town i live in is Medina Minnesota
Well, they say you can't fight City Hall, but "they" are wrong! When I lived in San Bernardino, CA back in the '80s, I bred New Zealand White rabbits for food. I had a hateful neighbor that called everyone about anything, just stirring the pot for spite. I had 15 does and one buck, but when all the does had babies, like 8 or more each, it would raise the limit the city had set for allowed animals. Well this idiot neighbor must've known the limit, and called out Animal Control. The officer told me I had to get rid of all excess animals immediately or I would be fined! I took his citation to the City Hall, and told them these were babies, all less than 2 weeks old. For dogs, the age they became "animals" was 8 weeks, why should it be different with rabbits?? They are not able to fend for themselves before the 8 week age limit. The clerk at City Hall took my suggestion, the board dealt with it, and guess what? I WON!! They changed the law because I stepped up and made a good point. Get your good points together, get a bunch of like minded folks together, and go to City Hall and turn in your petition!! You can do it!! Good luck! Thank God I live in the country!!

I would go around and ask the neighbors what they think about chickens in general. Try to focus on the positives of having backyard poultry like.....

Farm fresh eggs are delicious!

Their poo can be composted

They are no noisier then your average dog

They keep the bug population down

Roosters make great protectors of the flock just like any watch dog guarding someones property (well some do anyway lol)

Add your intentions with them ie: eggs, pets ect

Make sure you speak to EVERYONE in the neighborhood about their feelings about the birds good and bad

I myself am not allowed chickens, I choose to keep my trap shut because as of now everyone loves them and noone has had a problem with them for the past 5-6 years. My neighbors are all willing to stand behind me if the time comes. Best of luck to you!
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You'll still really need to understand your local codes that forbid chickens, because you'll have to present an alternative to the City Council and Planning Commission.


This department and these people are going to be either your friends or your enemies during this battle:


DISCLAIMER: The following quotes from the Medina City Codes are taken a bit out of context. In order to understand them completely, it's important to know what zone you're in, and read everything related to the allowable and conditional uses of your zone.

The following definition:
Subd. 3. Agricultural Use - The use of land for the growing and/or production of field crops,
livestock, and livestock products for the production of income including but not limited to
the following:
(a) Field crops, including: barley, soybeans, corn, hay, oats, potatoes, rye, sorghum, and
(b) Livestock, including: dairy and beef cattle, goats, horses, sheep, hogs, poultry, game
birds and other domestic animals including ponies, deer, rabbits, and mink, except
(c) Livestock products, including: milk, butter, cheese, eggs, meat, fur and honey.
(d) Horticulture - The use of land for the growing or production of fruits, vegetables,
flowers, cultured sod and nursery stock, including ornamental plants and trees, for
the production of income.
(e) Aquaculture - The raising and production of fish and other water related products.
(f) Drainage Systems, Tiling, and Irrigation.

indicates to me that perhaps having a few chickens is OK if "Agricultural Use" isn't permitted in your zone, AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT PRODUCING INCOME. Otherwise, anyone who grew sunflowers would be in violation, no?

In a Rural Residential zone:

Subd. 8. Animal Unit Density Standards.
(a) The purpose of the following animal density standards are to promote and preserve
the natural resources within the City of Medina by regulating the keeping of
livestock. Erosion as a result of overgrazing and leeching of manure into
groundwater have adverse and potentially irreversible impacts on water quality
and environmentally sensitive lands.
(b) Livestock or traditional farm animals are permitted on properties two acres or larger
at a maximum density of one animal unit for the first two Grazable Acres of land
and one additional animal unit for each Grazable Acre of land thereafter. For
properties less than two acres, the maximum number of animal units shall be 0.1

(c) Property owners shall be responsible for management and proper disposal of all
animal waste.
(d) The number of permitted animals shall be determined by the following table: ( Of which chickens are assigned a .01 animal unit. )

Therefore, if you're on a rural residential lot, and your property is less than 2 acres, you are allowed 10 chickens.

Your codes are online. They're searchable. They ARE difficult to read, but if you take a couple stabs at them and read slowly you should be able to figure it out. Your parents can tell you what zone you're in, or help you to go through your rental or purchase records to find out. Or, the public library should have a zoning map that you can find your house, and thus your zone, on. You may find that chickens are allowed in your yard after all, with certain restrictions (animal unit limitations) and requirements ("property owners shall be responsible for management and proper disposal of all animal waste"... do you have a plan?). Check the Area requirements to make sure that a chicken coop will fit in your yard where you want it, without encroaching on required setbacks and property lines.


City Council meetings and Planning Commission meetings are on a schedule within the City of Medina website. There are also agendas and minutes posted. Looks like the meetings are pretty short and sweet, really. Look through those records to see who applied for what (agenda), and then what the decision was (minutes). Attend a couple meetings to see what they ask for, and how they respond to petitioners.


A variance is going to be simpler to attain than a change to the entire code. Variances are case-by-case, whereas code changes are broad-spectrum. Variances will likely only require the input of property owners immediately adjacent to your house/yard.

Yes, all of this sounds complicated, but if you're not prepared to do the research, it's not going to happen. I would do the code research before going door-to-door, but while you're researching your codes you can prepare your petition and questions. A variance will still require that you petition your immediate neighbors. I would also have a coop plan sketched out. Do your parents have a survey of your property? Figure out what the setbacks are in the code, draw those on a COPY of the survey; this will give you the area into which you can build a coop. Neighbors want to know how far away the chickens (and their poop, smell, and the flies) will be from their houses before they'll say "Yes!".

Knuckle down and do the research. It's not that bad.
And adults will be so impressed by the effort you've put in that they'll be more inclined to take you seriously.
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