By John McLoone [email protected] The City of Hastings is working to fast track an ordinance change that would allow for four chickens on residential lots. The issue was tabled in 2019 by the …
By John McLoone
The City of Hastings is working to fast track an ordinance change that would allow for four chickens on residential lots.
The issue was tabled in 2019 by the City Council. The council Monday night brought the matter back to the table and then voted to forward it to the Planning Commission for review.
Concern from backyard chicken proponents is that if the matter isn’t approved in short order, chickens won’t be ready to lay eggs this winter.
Kori Colvin spoke in favor of allowing chickens on residential lots during the public comment portion of the meeting. She asked for “four to six hens without unnecessary restrictions.”
She said Hastings and Apple Valley are the only Dakota County cities over 20,000 residents that don’t allow chickens on residential lots. She has presented a petition signed by more than 230 Hastings residents in support of the ordinance change.
She called proposed passage of the ordinance updates, “A change that would bring Hastings into the present era.”
Councilmember Lisa Leifeld made the motion to bring the ordinance back to life.
“Can we stipulate a time frame on this?” she asked. “We know we’ve seen it already. It might sound silly, but I understand the chicken raising process. They need to get their chicks purchased and moving. They need to be a certain age to lay eggs and such.”
“We’ve been talking about this a number of years. We should be fully informed,” said Leifeld.
Councilmember Mark Vaughn said he has the same questions that weren’t answered when the matter was tabled in 2019. One of those is how will homeowners’ associations deal with the ordinance.
“I don’t want to pass an ordinance they have to react to,” he said.
He also wanted clarification on how big a parcel with chickens needs to be.
He questioned what the city would do with chickens that it would have to “impound” by the ordinance if there are problems.
Vaughn raised the concern too that there should be a provision where neighbors are notified when chicken permits are being granted.
“The current proposed ordinance in front of us gives no notice to neighbors,” he said.
See ORDINANCE, Page 3 ORDINANCE
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Community Development Director John Hinzman said if the ordinance moves through the Planning Commission it could get back to the council for final approval by the end of July at the soonest.
At the City Council level, the backyard chicken ordinance amendment failed to pass in May 2019. The matter came back to the council two months later and was tabled. The tabled item returned to the council twice last spring but there weren’t enough votes to “remove the item from the table.”
The Planning Commission has already recommended approval of a previous draft of the ordinance amendment by a narrow 3-2 vote.