Brooklyn Park Gives Chickens the Axe
By Andrew Richter
From the Sun Post;
An ordinance to allow and regulate the keeping of chickens in Brooklyn Park died on second reading Jan. 7, and keeping chickens will remain illegal. A motion by Councilmember Bob Mata to approve the ordinance allowing chickens failed in a 2-4 vote. Council members Bob Mata and Elizabeth Knight voted in favor of the proposed ordinance. Council members Peter Crema, Rich Gates, John Jordan and Mike Trepanier voted against it. Mayor Jeffrey Lunde was absent due to health concerns.
The city had actually been studying the matter for a year.
In June the council directed staff to “further review and gather public input on ordinances pertaining to keeping chickens in residential areas.” Last month the council approved a first reading of a proposed ordinance in a 4-3 vote. Since that vote, Jordan replaced Dean Heng as a West District council member. Heng had voted in favor of the ordinance. Mayor Jeffrey Lunde also voted in favor of the first reading, but indicated he was still unsure of his decision. Following the Jan. 7 meeting, Lunde stated publicly that he would have voted “no” on the second reading had he been present.
If adopted, the ordinance would have allowed residents to keep a maximum of five hens. It would have prohibited keeping roosters or slaughtering chickens in the city and would have required chickens to be secured in a coop from sunset to sunrise. The ordinance would also have regulated the size and locations of chicken coops and runs. All coops and runs would have needed to be at least 25 feet from adjacent residences. A “sunset clause” included in the ordinance would have caused it automatically to come back for council review in three years. Brooklyn Park is not the only city to consider allowing urban chickens. Several cities in the region already permit them, including Anoka, Bloomington, Burnsville, Fridley, Maplewood, Osseo, Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Not to mention New Hope!
Knight said she could see both sides of the argument and didn’t feel strongly about it herself. But she pointed out that city staff already deal with complaints about chickens, and she thought it beneficial to have something concrete on the books for them to consider. She also mentioned there can be problems with other pets, such as dogs, but the city allows those. From the beginning Gates opposed the idea of chickens because he feared it would create a greater burden for code enforcement. Crema stated at the previous meeting that he agreed with Gates.
How about cutting city codes in other areas and giving us our freedom back!
Jordan, who was not on the council for other discussions, also agreed with Gates’ concerns. “I don’t fear chickens,” he said. “I like chickens. I like fresh eggs.”
Nevertheless, he said, people would break the ordinance, and he expected that would add to code enforcement’s workload. He referred to discussions at recent meetings at which the council discussed the difficulties the code enforcement staff already has trying to keep up with demand.
Jordan also mentioned recent problems with coyotes in the city, saying it would only worsen those problems.
If there are too many coyotes, let’s get some road runners there and maybe the coyotes will chase them.
“The bottom line is, (chickens) don’t belong here,” he said.
If you can have them in Minneapolis which is far more urban, why not Brooklyn Park?
The failure of the proposed ordinance means city code will not change, and keeping chickens will remain illegal. The ordinance will continue to be enforced on a complaint-driven basis.
Keep up the fight to allow chickens Brooklyn Park residents!