Soon Mora residents may be able to keep chickens at their home — without being accused of fowl play. Next week the City of Mora Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing to consider a zoning amendment to allow ownership of chickens within city limits.

The proposed change will affect 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. The Planning Commission proposes adoption of language pertaining to the regulation of chickens, with the intent of allowing the keeping of chickens within certain residential zoning districts. 

Interest in keeping chickens is not new in Mora, said Community Development Director Beth Thorp. “Over the years there’s been random inquiries about chickens. Right now residents are allowed to have chickens with a conditional use permit, falling under agricultural uses. At a recent City Council meeting, a Mora resident approached the council with her desire to have chickens. In response the council directed the planning commission to discuss it, as it would be a zoning change,” she said. “The commission discussed it at their August meeting, and they were in favor of a text amendment to allow chickens.”

“They gave some direction about items they would like to see in the amendment: limiting chickens to only two of the residential districts, R1 and R4. They also propose a maximum of three chickens per household – and no roosters. Other conditions will also be discussed, such as coop requirements, setback requirements and so forth.”

A possible reason for this new interest in chicken ownership, Thorp said, is a desire for people to know where their food is coming from. “One of the commission’s questions was whether the chickens will be kept as pets or farm animals,” she said. “Recently Pine City has allowed chickens, as do bigger cities like Duluth and Rochester.”

Thorp said the commission suggested site plan reviews for chicken owners, with a potential $50 fee. “We encourage property owners to attend the meeting and offer their opinions, either in support of or in opposition to the chicken ordinance.” 

In other words, folks: don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

The special hearing will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 9 at Mora City Hall.

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