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Albertville Council Discusses Urban Farming, Chickens

A Towne Lakes resident asked the council to consider allowing chickens in residential zoned areas.

Albertville resident Chad Dahlheimer came to the June 18 meeting to discuss the possibility of having chickens in his Towne Lakes backyard. He had previously spoken with someone in city hall and was under the impression that urban chickens were allowed only to find out after he'd spent $1000 on a chicken coop that he was violating code.

"I built the coop with the understanding that I could have four chickens in my backyard, so to receive notice that I am violating code was frustrating and surprising," he told the council on June 18.

"I spent $1,000 on the coop and there's not really a market to sell it and make that back," Dahlheimer explained.

City planner Al Brixius explained to Dahlheimer and the council that the current code says that farm animals are only allowed in agricultural zoned areas. Dahlheimer's lot is residential.

But the definition of farm animal is left to one's own interpretation.

After the initial meeting, Brixius checked in with other cities and looked into possibilities for the City of Albertville. He reported back to the council at Monday night's meeting.

"I'm not a proponent of urban chickens but I tried to outline both sides of the issue," he said referring to the council packet which detailed over 30 pages of research.

Currently Monticello has written an ordinance allowing urban chickens but most recently nearby Montrose decided not to change their city code. The city of Montrose didn't accept the new ordinance after deciding that this would be introducing agricultural land use to residential lots.

Brixius explained that noise and waste are two things to consider as well as "expanding the definition of farm animal to include ducks and geese."

More and have come up in large metropolitan areas the last several years. Some raise chickens for the fresh, natural eggs and others like Dahlheimer want to do it to help to eliminate mosquitos, though he has promised his neighbors eggs if he is allowed to keep his chickens.

The council tabled the discussion until the July 16 meeting because Mayor Mark Meehan was absent and Dahlheimer himself could not be present. A decision is to be decided that evening.

Greg July 09, 2012 at 08:25 PM
If allowed to raise chickens in a backyard, Then I'm getting cows. I'll share the milk with my neighbors! I'll even get a brown cow so that I may share some chocolate milk!
Phil S. July 10, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Seems like I could buy a lot of eggs and bug spray for $1000.
St. Michael Mom of Three July 13, 2012 at 12:36 AM
I know someone in my neighborhood with three chickens in their backyard. It doesn't disturb me in the least. They are not roaming around the neighborhood, and there is no rooster. The occasional clucking is far less disturbing than some of the yippy dogs in my neighborhood!
pete whipple July 16, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Allow with exceptions, if your neighbors are not offended.... there is no problem. Chickens are quieter than a yapping dog.
Sarah Davis LaCoursiere May 11, 2013 at 06:36 PM
I would love to raise just two or three enough for fresh eggs and compost in the garden.

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