Went to a city planning meeting tonight and...

1Ameraucanas

Hatching
10 Years
Jun 2, 2009
6
0
7
...this is what happened.

Hello, my name is Jenny. We live in the city of Chanhassen, Minnesota. Our city planning commission was reviewing ordinances that includes keeping of animals (farm animals, animals of prey, wild animals) on residential property.
Current city regulations do not define "farm animal". Due to recent requests for keeping chickens, bees, goats, and other types of animals, there was determined a need for better guidelines. The discussion among commission members was broad in scope, and did not include a lot of detail with regards to chickens specifically. When opened for public hearing, my husband and I were the only attending residents there to speak on behalf of the subject matter.
I introduced that my background with raising chickens through 4-H and interest in having more sustainable and organic practices were in part what caused us to seek raisng chickens as pets.
We recently took a class called "rasing chickens in the backyard", offered through the public parks system. The instructor had raised chickens in the urban area of Minneapolis successfully, and he spoke about regulations in the cities that were represented by those attending. (Ours being the only locality that did not "permit" chickens did not hinder us from our desire to raise a few chickens as pets.) Facts that I presented included that many cities in Minnesota allow keeping of chickens with permission from a majority of neighbors and annual permit application. Additionally, the current trends to seek local food sources, allow for sustainable and organic practices in our home, and show respect for treatment of animals were highlighted.
The planning commission debated the pros and cons of keeping animals that were not typically defined as "pets" and where to draw the line, on what types of animals should be allowable, and for what purpose. Also debated was the "type" of community that our city wants to be classified as. When up for vote, the recommendation was to NOT allow for relaxation of the ordinance, 3 to 2. This goes up for public vote in the city council on June 22, and we will attend to speak again for our cause.
Any thoughts or moral support for this? Thanks for letting me vent.
 
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Redsquirrel

Songster
10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
245
2
121
Burnsville, Minnesota
I live in Burnsville, MN. A suburban town. Our ordinances just changed in March so that we can keep chickens now. Perhaps you can look up their meeting minutes, etc., and get some ideas. The change all came about from a young boy wanting to keep his chickens that he raised for a school project.
Here is some of the story. Good luck!
http://www.minnpost.com/chuckhaga/2...oys_--_and_truths_--_of_urban_chicken-raising
 

1Ameraucanas

Hatching
10 Years
Jun 2, 2009
6
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Thanks Redsquirrel (like your name) for the link and advice! Planning on contacting members of the council in hopes of finding an advocate.
 

Jenski

Songster
11 Years
Jun 17, 2008
2,177
19
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Middle Tennessee
OP, thanks for sharing a very thoughtful and well-written account of the situation. I agree that contacting council members is a good start.

I have had several friends and "friends of friends" out to the house over the past couple of years in social contexts, and every one of them has expressed pleasant surprise over the way my chickens are kept. It has just not occurred to most folks that these wonderful little birds can live in cute, painted and landscaped suburban coops. They are even more surprised to see chickens who individually come when they are called - - by name!

I write all this to say that what is really needed is the education of the general public about modern poultry keeping. When people understand the possibilities as taught by a responsible, public health-conscious chicken owner, the majority of them are more open to the idea of chickens in their neighborhoods.

Best of luck, and please keep us posted on how your challenge works out.
 

EllenW

Hatching
10 Years
Jun 19, 2009
3
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7
Hi Jenny,

I just joined the forum and spotted your post...right after posting mine about the pending vote in Chanhassen!

See you at the City Council meeting on Monday evening. I'm glad to know you'll be there.

Ellen
 

enola

Crowing
11 Years
Jan 23, 2009
13,143
1,435
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Irwin, Pennsylvania (Pittsburg area)
If New York City allows chickens, all of these other cities need to take into consideration that chickens NEED to be a way of life.

I wish you the best of luck !

ps. maybe you can show the footage from the news report about the chicks in NYC
 

Imp

All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle
11 Years
Sep 7, 2008
14,453
165
318
The Emerald City
My Coop
Well done.

Seattle allows chicken too.

Can you post a link to to your town council? Where we can all post comments? Maybe if lots of people let them know that chickens are not a plague, they'll be swayed.

Imp- Don't worry we won't let the nutty BYCers post, like Imp.
 

1Ameraucanas

Hatching
10 Years
Jun 2, 2009
6
0
7
Hello, thanks for all of the good advice and replies. It is reassuring to know that Ellen W will be at the City Council meeting on Monday night. The story that Redsquirrel shared about the boy who influenced the decision in Burnsville shows that when there is willingness to speak for a good cause, it can result in positive action. We'll let you all know the outcome after the meeting. Think good thoughts for us!
 

BigPeep

Songster
10 Years
May 27, 2009
208
11
111
One of the reasons the large cities allow chickens is the ethnic populations. Maybe you have some Hmoug or even some Norwegians
up there who can be enlisted to provide support.
 

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