Edgerton sticks fork in chicken plan
EDGERTON Monday could go down as the day the chicken died in Edgerton.
Or laid an egg, or clucked its last cluck, or crossed the road—and walked straight out of town.
Any way you slice it, the city of Edgerton is not going to allow people to keep backyard chickens in residential areas—at least not under the existing city council.
The council on Monday shot down a recommendation from the public works committee that would have had city staff spend time writing up rules for an ordinance for residents to keep hens in their backyards for eggs and as pets.
The recommendation was voted down via a 4-3 tiebreaker cast by Mayor Chris Lund.
Lund told the Gazette that residents he'd spoken with about the issue opposed backyard chickens on a "2-to-1" margin. He added that people in neighborhoods with small yards had concerns about chickens being too close to them, while others simply voiced the belief that chickens should be kept on farms, not in urban areas.
"Some of the comments were, 'Well then I want to have a cow so I can have fresh milk.' Where does it stop?" Lund said.
The city currently allows a small number of chickens on agriculture-zoned parcels, which are mostly on the outskirts of the city.
The council has entertained the notation of a backyard chicken ordinance off and on since spring 2010.
Alderman Mark Wellnitz, who voted in favor of the ordinance, said he'd had several people in favor of backyard chickens approach him. He decided to press the issue by bringing it to the public works committee earlier this year.
"I was for chickens. It's not really that big of a deal for me. I just wanted to put it on the council's table so that they could make a decision either way and be done with it," Wellnitz said.
He said he hadn't been approached by anyone who was opposed to the idea of a chicken ordinance.
Meanwhile, dialogues on chicken ordinances are playing out in other Rock County communities, including the city of Milton.
The Milton City Council on Wednesday could vote on a draft backyard chicken ordinance that would be linked to a conditional-use permit process.