3/13/2014 2:38:00 PM TF Council reviews survey
results and will allow chickens
by PAUL RIGNELL
Taylors Falls City Council members have agreed to move ahead with an ordinance that would regulate keeping chickens on private land. Council directed staff to prepare and present an ordinance at an April meeting after members studied results from a recent resident survey March 10. The city received responses from 174 households, or more than 46 percent of the 375 survey postcards that were mailed in February. More than half of the respondents included those who either expressed indifference or said they would welcome the opportunity to raise chickens or allow their neighbors to enjoy the activity.
Most who replied in favor of allowing chickens said they expected some regulation, however. Some respondents specified that the city should allow no roosters, and establish and enforce noise limits for other chickens. Many replied that the chickens should have enclosures and that their sites should be inspected annually, at minimum, to ensure the animals’ health and safety. Residents asking for conditions on the ordinance also asked that the city ask for diagrams from applicants showing where chickens would be kept on their properties. Other respondents said that a maximum number of chickens should be set, either per lot or based on total acreage. Currently, chickens would be allowed only on lots with at least 10 acres. Many of the residents who said they do not want to allow chickens argued that they doubt the city would have the time and resources for controlling noise and smells. Some replied chickens would attract more foxes and vermin.
One resident said chickens have no place in a city with historic architecture, adding Angel Hill could become “Angel coop and poop.” Another resident wrote that the only good chicken in Taylors Falls would be “extra crispy.” Based on council discussions March 10, the draft ordinance to come in April can be expected to limit each lot to no more than six chickens while requiring applicants to get written permission from neighbors, among other requirements. In other council business Council approved a request from the Historic Preservation Commission to seek a Minnesota Legacy grant of $10,000 for the purpose of updating Angel Hill’s status in the National Register of Historic Places. The Angel Hill district first received that distinction in 1972 but without much historic context or many detailed lot descriptions, according to Eva Terrell and Michelle Terrell, professional historians with the Franconia-based Two Pines Resource Group, which would assist the city on this project. – Council had to revisit an action from last fall, when the city had authorized a survey of River and Linden streets for the second phase of a River Walk expansion.
A survey firm from Polk County, Wisc., with a low bid in October, notified to the city that the company had decided not to renew its Minnesota license in 2014. The city sought new bids from 10 other firms, and ended up getting four bids ranging from $3,200 to $6,400. The new low bid came from a Cambridge company, and council voted March 10 to allow no more than $3,200 for the survey. That represented an increase of $200 over the survey amount council had approved last fall.