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Edgerton City Council fries up chicken plan

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
May 4, 2010
— Anyone who wants to keep chickens within Edgerton’s city limits is going to have to take an end-around approach.

The Edgerton City Council on Monday split 3-3 on a motion that would have pushed possible chicken ownership ordinance changes to the city’s plan commission for further discussion.


New mayor Chris Lund cast the tie-breaking vote: No.


“The input I’ve gotten in the past couple of weeks has been against chickens,” Lund told a crowd of residents who came out in support of the ordinance changes.


Monday’s vote, which followed a recommendation last week by the plan commission that the council consider allowing chickens in town, came with little council discussion.


Had the council approved the motion, it would have allowed the plan commission to decide whether changes to the city’s existing chicken ordinance would be appropriate. The commission’s recommendation then would have gone back to the council for approval.


Chickens are only allowed in agriculturally zoned areas of Edgerton. Under a city ordinance, residents who want to keep chickens still have a chance to apply for an ordinance change through the plan commission.


A public hearing would have to be held on resident requests for the ordinance changes, and any recommendations on the requests by the plan commission would have to be approved by the city council.


Resident Greta Hansen said she was surprised the council voted on the issue with so little discussion.


“I’m disappointed,” she said. “They just shot it down without even offering a healthy discussion. It seems a little narrow-minded.”


Hansen, who asked the city for the chicken ordinance change in March, plans to apply for an ordinance change through the plan commission. She claims her neighbors told her they didn’t mind if she kept chickens.


Council member Ron Webb said he voted no because every resident he’d spoken to was violently opposed to residential chickens.


“One-hundred-percent of the people I talked to said no, no. As in no eff-ing way,” Webb told the Gazette following the council’s vote Monday.


Resident Beth Goetsch said she was surprised so many residents told Webb and Lund they opposed to backyard chickens since none voiced opposition at Monday’s meeting or at the preceding committee meeting when the chicken request was discussed.


“I don’t know if they went door-to-door, or if specific people called (Webb or Lund), or if they just talked to random people on the street,” Goetsch said.


Goetsch, who earlier had asked the city for permission to keep chickens, said she also would apply for ordinance changes through the plan commission.


Resident Jamie Ylvisaker, who told city officials earlier he has owned chickens on his property in residential Edgerton for years, told the Gazette he might continue to do so.


“If I came across some good ones, I just might keep them,” he said.



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