Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mankato City Council Chickens Out

Back on Feb 1, I posted about the Mankato City Council setting up a page to collect public input on the proposal to keep urban chickens submitted by the Mankato Chicken Coalition.

As of this morning, the "yes to chickens" comments are outnumbering by 4-to-1 the "no to chickens" comments in a quick tally of the 56 comments left so far.

In fact, looking at the tool archives, the urban chickens topic is the most trafficked and commented-on topic since the Mankato City Council launched the Your Take tool in Spring of 2007.

So it's quite distressing to hear that the Mankato City Council decided last night to deny the Mankato Chicken Coalition a public hearing. Period. According to my source, the council cited "the economy, budget concerns and the lack of importance of the issue as their main reasons."

Beg pardon?

If anything, I'd think the economy and budget concerns would be one of the very reasons to consider allowing urban chickens in the city as more people grow their own food.

The urban chickens topic is the most commented-on topic by a wide margin, yet the Mankato City Council is ignoring the issue.

Something doesn't smell right here, and it's not chicken poop.

Interesting to note: those against chickens in Mankato tend to leave their initials only to show their authorship and the views are the stereotypical arguments against chickens: "they're not pets" and "they'll attract vermin" and "I once lived next to a chicken farm and boy did it stink!"

I'm hoping smarter heads prevail in Mankato and the Council realizes this issue doesn't have to be a big one. Accept the Coalition's proposal on a one-year trial basis and move on. Revisit in a year to see if any of the hysterical fears have come true.

I'm betting Mankato will find out what so many other urban chicken-friendly towns have found: keeping chickens is no different than keeping cats or dogs or any other pets.

UPDATE: here's the story in the Mankato Free Press: City council kills urban chicken notion. "Council President Mike Laven voted also against holding the public hearing, but said it was because the ordinance under discussion would require neighbors’ consent. Laven said dog owners don’t have to meet this burden, and that he may have supported a proposal without that component."

So, how about stripping that component out?


Jason said...

You may want to look into how the city council handled this issue. According to the Mankato City Code, the proceedings of the City Council shall be conducted in accordance with Robert's Rules of Order,


The fundamental right of deliberative assemblies require all questions to be thoroughly discussed before taking action!

KatoChicks said...

Jason, thanks for that link. We are looking into it. It may come down to what the definition of 'thoroughly discussed' is though. They discussed it at a work session and briefly at the meeting Monday. I don't consider that thoroughly, but they may. :o(

Thomas, I too wonder why the city posted the question on their site and received overwhelming support for the idea, but won't let the public come and speak at an open hearing. That's what bothers me the most. We won't give up though and are pursuing a couple of different avenues. I'll let you know if, no when, we make any progress.



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