chickens

Carmen Fin (left) and Jamie Bankers (right) came to Mora City Hall to speak on behalf of a zoning amendment that would allow chickens within Mora city limits—they even made “pro-chicken Mora, MN” t-shirts for the event. 

 

Your chickens may soon come home to roost. A zoning amendment to allow chickens within the city of Mora received unanimous approval by the Planning Commission. The amendment next goes to the City Council for adoption.

More than a dozen Mora residents attended a public hearing at City Hall on Monday, Sept. 9 to support ownership of chickens in residential areas. Those present were unanimously in favor of the amendment which affects the City’s Code of Ordinances, Title XV Land Usage, Chapter 150 Zoning Code. The change is classified as a Text Amendment, which adds or removes permitted uses within a district without affecting the zoning map.

Earlier this summer, Mora resident Carmen Finn introduced the proposal to the Planning Commission. On Monday she read a letter of support that addressed many common misunderstandings about chicken ownership: specifically that chickens provide no health risk, create no more noise than human conversation, generate far less waste and odor than pet dogs or cats and assist in pest control by eating bugs.

Cassie Dahlberg of Mora asked about the proposed coop sizes, saying that a coop should be big enough to comfortably house the birds yet small enough that it can be adequately heated to keep them comfortable.

Jodi Bakke of Mora asked why the proposal is limited to three chickens, and whether other birds would also be allowed. Commission member Jenilee Telander replied that three is the number that many other municipalities allow, and that the amendment is specific to chickens.

After constructive input from those in attendance the commission approved the amendment. Highlights of the proposed language include:

Chickens will be allowed in residential districts R-1, R-3 and R-4, on properties with single-family homes.

No more than three chickens will be allowed; roosters are prohibited.

A coop and a fenced run or exercise yard are required; they must be located in side or rear yards, and must meet the same setback requirements for utility or storage structures.

A coop must be at least six square feet in size; a run must be at least 16 square feet if an exercise yard is available, 32 square feet if not.

Letters of support from adjacent property owners are required with the application.

Renters must obtain written consent from the property owner.

Chickens will be allowed upon administrative site plan review approval. The current fee for site plan review is $50, but is subject to change annually in January.

Chickens are prohibited from running at large.

Beth Thorp, community development director, said residents who seek to keep more than three chickens continue to have the option of applying for a Conditional Use Permit, in keeping with the city’s agricultural use ordinance.

The amendment now goes to the next City Council meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17 at City Hall.

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