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Chickens may live in River Heights yards now, roosters still outlawed

September 14th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Lindsay Nemelka

RIVER HEIGHTS–A new city ordinance prohibits roosters but allows citizens to keep hen chickens on their property.

The City Council passed the ordinance Tuesday to deal with problems concerning chickens within city limits. Keeping chickens was not previously unlawful, said Mayor Baker, but after receiving complaints he realized there needed to be an ordinance.

The new ordinance states that up to 12 chickens will be allowed on lots over 1/3 acre, and six chickens can be kept on lots of less than 1/3 acre. Roosters will not be tolerated in River Heights because of their violation of the city’s nuisance ordinance regarding noise levels.

Hen chickens in violation of the nuisance ordinance have also previously been a problem, commented Councilwoman Kathryn Hadfield.

Baker jokingly remarked, “I’m anxious to get this adopted, there’s a guy close to me that’s got roosters and about six o’clock every morning they go off.”

Other requirements of the chicken ordinance necessitates humane treatment and proper housing of the chickens away from dwellings and forbids the slaughtering of chickens within city limits.

The Council recommends the registrants vaccinate their chickens but will not require it. The ordinance does require residents to register for a 1-year license to keep chickens on their property, but after discussion the Council decided not to charge citizens for the license at this time.

River Heights residents may not have to worry about paying for a chicken license, but they do need to watch for the upcoming change in utility bill due dates. The Council passed a motion that will require utility bills to be paid by the 25th of each month. Currently utilities are due by the 31st of the month, but because new payment balances will sometimes show overlapping charges even if the resident paid last month’s bill, the resident may overpay for their utilities by mistake.

Concerned citizens also inquired about the new cell phone tower AT&T plans to build in Heber Olson Park, saying that the proposed tower site does not meet its own ordinance requirements concerning distance from structures. The Council said there is nothing they can do at this time until a proposal is posted. A meeting concerning the Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Ordinance will be held on Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. at River Heights Elementary.

In other business, the Council:

— Agreed to adopt the standardized rules of city council meeting procedures in order to comply with the state code.

— Remarked on the success of the Apple Days City Council Raffle Drawing, saying they raised $637 compared to approximately $400 last year. The money goes towards funding Apple Days.


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  1. One Response to “Chickens may live in River Heights yards now, roosters still outlawed”

  2. By Corlyss on Sep 16, 2011

    Isn\’t the ban supposed to be forward-looking to avoid ex post facto prohibition. I.e., aren\’t existing roosters supposed to be grandfathered in?

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