No quack decision as Cottage Grove to further study duck, chicken ordinanceTurkeys? Not quite. But the Cottage Grove City Council wants to put chickens and ducks on the plates of city planners.
Turkeys? Not quite. But the Cottage Grove City Council said last week it wants to put chickens and ducks on the plates of city planners.
Council members on Nov. 21 directed the city’s Planning Commission to further explore a potential update to city code that would allow some fowl to be kept in urban neighborhoods, a growing trend among metro cities, city planners say.
Planning commissioners voted 7-1 in October to support further analysis of the issue and City Council members unanimously agreed the commission should do so. Council members also said elected officials shouldn’t have sway over what matters planning commissioners delve into after city staff had sought to gauge the council’s willingness to amend current code regarding fowl ownership in the city.
“I think we let [the commission] do the work and let us know what they think,” said council member Justin Olsen.
Other council members echoed Olsen’s comments, with Derrick Lehrke saying city advisory commissions “should always have the ability to discuss something and make recommendations to us.” Jen Peterson added that she hopes the public will have numerous opportunities to weigh in on potential changes.
The issue of chickens and waterfowl in urban neighborhoods arose in April when neighbors filed complaints with the Community Development Department over chickens and ducks being kept in the back yard of a pair of urban residential properties. One neighbor submitted a smartphone video that shows quacking ducks in an adjoining yard.
“When they go out on their deck the ducks quack,” McCool told the council of the complaint after playing the short video. “And, they find that annoying.”
City officials had ordered the owners to get rid of the fowl following the complaints but have since put enforcement of the city’s current ordinances—which require a minimum property size of five acres for duck or waterfowl ownership—until the planning commission and city council decide whether to amend the code.
The chicken and duck owners have defended their farm animals, saying they make less noise and produce less waste than the typical dog.
Council support of discussing the ordinance amendments does not necessarily signal support for the proposed changes themselves. Mayor Myron Bailey indicated he had some reservations with allowing chickens and ducks in urban areas after talking with neighbors who said there is “no way [that] they want ducks” in back yards near them.
The Planning Commission will consider whether to recommend changes at an upcoming meeting.