Mayer Council not ready to count their chickens just yet

Should Mayer allow the keeping of chickens within city limits?
Resident Ken Olson hopes the answer will be yes. He appeared at the Aug. 27 regular meeting to make his case, but was met with mixed reactions from the council.

Olson originally asked that the city allow animal 4H projects. Currently, animals are only allowed in an agricultural district of the city, on a residential lot of at least ten acres and not within 300 feet of an adjoining piece of property. Exceptions are made for animals brought into the city as part of an operating zoo, vet clinic, research lab, or licensed show or exhibition.

While the council looked favorably on the idea of animals as part of 4H projects, they weren’t willing to change city ordinance to allow chickens until they had time to think about it.

Olson pointed out that raising chickens promotes sustainable living and greater food security and quality.

Council Member Tice Stieve-McPadden was skeptical. “They attract pests, they smell, they’re loud, and where are you going to put the poop?” she asked.

Mayor Chris Capaul wasn’t concerned about chickens being loud.
“Barking dogs are louder than chickens,” he said.
As far as the smell, Olson believes residents of an agricultural area are used to farming odors.

“People who are going to complain about the smell should remember that if the wind is right you can smell farming anyway. They aren’t going to be that smelly,” Olson said.

Capaul added that a number of metro cities allow chickens, and that the ordinances contain restrictions that make it work. For example, most require neighbor consent.

The council decided to table the discussion for a future work session.

In other business, the Council:
• Voted to raise the yearly retirement benefit amount for Mayer fire fighters from $1,600 to $2,000.
• Bill Bennett, chair of Boots & Ladders fundraiser for Mayer Fire Dept., presented Mayor Capaul a check in the amount of $725.
• Awarded the contract for city snow removal to Molnau Trucking of Belle Plaine for 2012-2015.
• Agreed they would like to extend operating hours for the new Carver County Recycling Center located at 15200 Co. Rd. 30 from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m.
• Approved the hiring of a part-time seasonal employee to mow 20 hours a week this fall at a rate of $10.86 per hour.

— By Emily Hedges