Milton votes to draft hen regulations
MILTON Want backyard chickens in Milton?
Some members of the city council aren’t happy about it, but the city’s taking the request under advisement.
City staff this week floated a draft on regulations that would spell out rules that could allow people to keep up to six hens as a conditional use in some residential areas of the city.
The rules would still have to be approved by the council, but the council voted Tuesday to have city attorney Mark Schroeder draw them up. The move came via a 4-3 vote of the council earlier this week, with Mayor Tom Chesmore casting the tiebreaker.
Under a set of tentative rules approved by the council this week, the ordinance would:
-- Limit the number of chickens to six hens per owner on single-family lots zoned R3 and R4.
-- Prohibit roosters and noisier fowl such as guinea hens and peacocks.
-- Mandate that chickens be kept in backyards in enclosures that are at least 15 feet from lot lines.
-- Set recommendations for the size and construction of enclosures, including that the enclosures be portable.
-- Set fees for permits between $75 and $125 and establish a $15 annual licensing fee per owner.
Under a process being considered by the council, each applicant would first have to go through a public hearing. The ordinance also would require signed consent from neighbors with adjoining properties to prospective chicken owners.
Some city council members also are pushing for the city to include a permit revocation process and possible fines for noncompliance.
The city’s rules wouldn’t specifically bar people with backyard chickens from slaughtering the birds, although tentative language in the rules would prohibit people from doing so publicly.
It’s not clear whether the council will support an ordinance for backyard chickens.
Alderman Brett Frazier this week said he wouldn’t support an ordinance. He called the idea of urban chickens “silly” and inappropriate for Milton.
Alderman David Adams, who also opposes backyard chickens, said he’s disappointed that city staff spent time researching the issue and preparing recommended rules.
Chesmore this week defended city staff’s work on the ordinance. The city is simply being responsive to a request by a resident to permit backyard chickens, he said.
Other Rock County communities such as Edgerton are grappling with the same issue.
Milton should be doing the same due diligence as other municipalities, Chesmore said.