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Chickens coming home to roost in city limits after poultry ordinance passes

Cornell City Council

A poultry ordinance, allowing residents to keep up to six chickens within the city limits, was passed during a regular Cornell City Council meeting Nov. 19.

City administrator Dave DeJongh said the draft of the ordinance up for the vote, was very similar to what the Planning Commission presented at a previous meeting. DeJongh says the city attorney drafted the ordinance.

DeJongh says one change made, was instead of limiting the ordinance to lots zoned R-1 single family residence, any property with residential use, is qualified to apply to keep poultry, as long as all other qualifications are met.

“We have a lot of residential on the highway and so forth, that’s zoned D-1 business,” said DeJongh.

Council member Ashley Carothers also asked for clarification on a section of the ordinance that says it is prohibited to slaughter any permitted poultry.

“Does that mean, if I have a chicken that needs to go, I cannot kill it on my property, I have to take it somewhere else to be done?” asked Carothers.

DeJongh confirmed that is correct.

Council member Floyd Hickethier asked David Shipley, Cornell resident and potential chicken owner, what he plans to do with the chicken waste. Shipley says, when they lived in an agricultural area, they composted it and will likely do the same in Cornell.

“Well, I’m very skeptical of it,” said Hickethier, expressing concerns of runoff and how it will effect neighbors.

Aimee Korger, council member, says it is no different than a dog.

The ordinance passed with five in favor (Carothers, Korger, Bill Kvapil, Steve Turany, Terry Smith) and one opposed (Hickethier).

DeJongh says the next step is to form an application for those wishing to keep poultry, with the first round of applicants able to keep chickens starting Jan. 1, 2021.

In other business, council members approved giving all scheduled part-time and full-time city employees a $20 gift certificate to KJ’s Fresh Market, for Christmas.

Members also approved moving forward with Bauman Associates for accounting and auditing services for 2020. De-Jongh noted the cost comes at a slight decrease from the prior year.

DeJongh also reported the roof replacement on the city shop is completed. He says crews did end up replacing the decking.

Mark Larson, mayor, also reported work on the wastewater treatment plant has begun.