Allow chickens to be kept within the city of Hastings

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Allow chickens to be kept within the city of Hastings

This petition made change with 672 supporters!
Kori Colvin started this petition to Mayor Fasbender and

I ASK THAT IF YOU SIGN YOU BE A RESIDENT OF HASTINGS, MN. YOU MUST BE A RESIDENT OF HASTINGS, MN TO SIGN THE PETITION! Thank you!

Currently in Hastings, the city code of ordinances states; 

Sec 91.01 ANIMALS.
Cattle, horses, mules, sheep, goats, swine, ponies, ducks, geese, turkeys, chickens, guinea hens, and all other animals and feathered fowl except dogs and cats, unless the pets are specifically included in particular sections hereof, and this definition shall extend to this subchapter only
Sec 155.07 I. Keeping of chickens.
1. Purpose. The purpose of this division is to provide a means, through the establishment of specific standards and procedures, by which chickens can be kept in areas that are principally not used for agricultural. It is recognized that the keeping of chickens is clearly incidental and subordinate to the primary use and will not be allowed to negatively affect the character, health, safety or general welfare of the surrounding area.
2. Regulations. The keeping of chickens requires a license to be granted by the City Council. The following conditions are requirements of the license:
a. Allowed in specified zoning districts as an accessory use to a school or museum;

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Hastings has almost always been a community founded on agriculture, an area with such a rich history of agriculture is the only remaining city within Dakota County; with more than 10,000 residents, to still not allow the keeping of chickens. Chickens have been animal companions for thousands of years, providing entertainment and many more benefits. Chickens can provide pest control by eating ticks, slugs, mosquitoes and even damaging insects like Japanese beetles and emerald ash borers. Keeping backyard chickens is more than just a trend, they are beneficial to the families and communities that allow them. 

Backyard chickens are beneficial to the community that they live in because they: 

  1. Offer fresh, locally sourced eggs (that are healthier and cheaper compared to store-bought eggs).
  2. Can help to provide nutritious food security for lower income families.
  3. Provide gardeners with high-quality fertilizer.
  4. Help control insects and other pests. 
  5. Control weeds without the use of chemicals and insecticides. 
  6. Disposal of kitchen scraps that would otherwise go into a landfill.
  7. Chickens provide value as a pet for adults and children.
  8. Chickens provide education for their owners and children, helping children develop a better idea of what it takes to get food they eat from farm to table. 


Backyard chicken flocks generally get far more humane care than those raised and housed in filthy, crowded factory farms, where industrial production creates numerous problems. Pollution from manure, antibiotic resistance and a higher risk of a more dangerous strain of bird flu are always present risks at these locations. Keeping a small flock of chickens at home is one way people can do their part to help address these problems. Limiting their numbers, requiring clean and humane care is expected - But there is no legitimate reason for any city to prohibit keeping a few chickens, any more than there is a reason to ban the keeping of cats and dogs. In more urban cities, such as Minneapolis - 30 chickens are allowed! 

Some common misconceptions about backyard chickens include: 

  1. They're noisy. Chickens will peep and cluck softly during the daylight, but are silent at night. A small number of chickens are not noisy, hens in particular. "A dogs bark is 90 decibels and our city allows 3 dogs which has a cumulative maximum possible noise level of 100 decibels. A hens laying song is 60 decibels so it would take 12 hens producing noise at the same time to produce more noise than 1 dog."
  2. They smell. It would be the owners responsibility to keep the coop clean, but on average a small flock of chickens will poop about as much as an average dog in a day. According to the Extension from University of Nevada, composted chicken manure "provides a slow-release source of macro- and micronutrients and acts as a soil amendment. Compared to other manures, chicken manure and the associated litter are higher in nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and calcium, and are also rich in organic matter."
  3. They attract predators. While not truly a misconception, it can be easily remedied by the chicken owner. Chickens are not only food for humans, they can be food for a number of predators as well. It is the responsibility of the chicken owner to keep his/her flock contained and safe from predators, just as the same responsibility falls on cat and dog owners.
  4. They attract pests. If chicken food was not properly kept, it can attract unwanted animals (mice). However a homeowner can make the same mistake by doing a bad job of composting, providing birdseed, putting out cat or dog food. Chickens also help by eating insects, many known to cause disease (ticks and mosquitoes).
  5. You need a rooster for hens to lay eggs. This is untrue, and the only reason you would need a rooster would be for reproduction. Hens will still lay eggs without a rooster present, and different species lay different amounts of eggs a year.

Speaking with other municipalities that allow backyard chickens, they state that allowing chickens is a non issue ordinance and many times it benefits the city. They receive ZERO to LESS THAN 10 nuisance calls a year - this doesn't compare the the hundreds of calls they receive about dogs and cats. They do not have issues with noise, odor, or loose chickens. 

"In 2009, the Dakota County Historical Society made a request for the City to modify the ordinance to allow the keeping of chickens at the LeDuc Estate - Additionally, residents had requested the proposed ordinance to be amended to allow chickens in residential areas." Unfortunately approval was only made for the LeDuc Estate.  Again, in 2019, the City began to receive more phone calls asking if chickens where allowed in the city and the topic was brought to the City Council for review. The proposed amendment was brought to the Planning Commission and a vote of 3-2 approved it to be brought to the City Council. In the end, the vote failed due to a 3-3 vote.

What we are asking is for a change in the ordinance against owning backyard chickens in the city of Hastings, and adopting a new ordinance that allows residents in residential zoned areas to own a small backyard flock. We ask for 4-6+ hens, no roosters, all without unnecessary restrictions or permits.

Too everyone in the community of Hastings, we are asking for people to step forward and sign this petition. Join the movement on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/groups/hastingsbackyardchickens

Here is the city of Mendota Heights ordinance, another city within Dakota County, which the city of Hastings could use to make adopting new backyard chicken laws and ordinances a success:

City Code Title 5-3-10: CHICKENS:
A. Up to six (6) female chickens, Gallus domesticus, may be kept on a residential premise as domestic animals,
provided such chickens are kept in an accessory structure meeting the provisions of Section 12-1D-3 of the Zoning
Code. Such structure must be constructed so that it may be easily cleaned, and so that the chickens are completely
enclosed and protected from children and animals on the outside.
B. The Animal Warden and/or Zoning Administrator has the authority to enter upon private premises wherever
chickens are kept or a domestic chicken permit license has been issued, whenever there is a reasonable cause to
believe that the chickens are being mistreated or pose a threat to the health and safety of people or other animals.
City Code Title 12-1D-C.
2. CHICKEN COOPS AND RUNS IN ALL RESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS:
a. Number, Size and Building Requirements:
(1) One chicken coop and run may be constructed with the issuance of a permit as stipulated in this title.
(2) The dimensions of such coop and run are limited to:
(A) The interior floor space of the chicken coop shall be a minimum size of two (2) square feet for each chicken
authorized under the permit. The floor area of the run must have a minimum of five (5) square feet per
chicken. The coop and run must not exceed a maximum area of one hundred forty-four (144) square feet.
(B) The coop and run are limited to a maximum height of ten feet (10') tall, whether the accessory structure is
for sole use as a chicken coop or if it is part of an accessory structure also used for other purposes. The
chicken coop portion of such a structure may be no more than ten feet (10') tall.
(C) The coop and run must be set back ten feet (10') from the side and rear lot lines of the property. The coop
and run must be located in the rear or side yard and are not permitted in the front yard of the property.
(3) Construction requirements for the chicken coop and run include:
(A) The exterior finish materials of the chicken coop shall be: 1) weather resistant, protective covering material,
decay resistant wood, or if exterior finish wood is not decay resistant, then the wood finish shall be protected
from the elements and decay by paint or protective covering (e.g., siding, fascia wrap); and 2) in accordance
with the accessory structure regulations set forth in the zoning regulations in this code.
(B) The construction of and materials used for the chicken coop and run must be adequate to prevent access
by rodents or other pests.
(C) The chicken run shall be attached to the chicken coop. The chicken coop and run shall be deemed as a
single structure and subject to the accessory structure regulations set forth in the zoning regulations of this
code.
(D) The chicken run shall be fully enclosed (sides and top) by fencing or other similar material.
b. Regulations: The keeping, harboring, maintaining, or possessing of any chicken shall be in accordance with the
following:
(1) Limit: No more than six (6) chickens shall be kept or harbored on the premises to which the permit applies.
(2) Roosters: Roosters are prohibited.
(3) Slaughter: Slaughtering of chickens on any property zoned for residential use is prohibited.
(4) Eggs: No chicken eggs shall be sold or offered for sale; all chicken eggs shall be for personal use or
consumption.
(5) Fighting: Chickens shall not be raised or kept for fighting.
(6) Food: Food materials stored outside shall be within closed containers with lids.
(7) Sanitation: All containment areas and structures shall be maintained in a clean, sanitary, and odor free
environment and shall be free from the presence of rodents or other pests at all times.
(8) Disposal of Waste: Fecal waste or coop related litter shall be removed at such reasonable times to prevent
odors from emitting over property lines. Such waste or litter must be double bagged and disposed of in city
garbage. Waste or litter is allowed to be composted on the property, provided the composting is done in a
sturdy, weather resistant compost bin or dedicated enclosure. Should the composting be done in an unhealthy
or ineffective manner, whereby creating a public nuisance or complaint from a neighboring resident, the permit
holder shall immediately cease all waste composting on the property and remove such waste composting bin(s)
if so ordered by the Zoning Administrator or Animal Warden.
(9) Nuisance: Chickens shall not be kept in such a manner as to constitute a public nuisance. Any violation of the
provisions of this subsection shall be deemed a public nuisance.
(10) Inspection: Any chicken coop and run authorized under this section may be inspected at any reasonable time
by the city zoning administrator, animal warden or their designee.
(11) Permit Required: An application for a permit hereunder shall be filed with the city clerk upon an application form
furnished by the city. The permit fee, which shall be paid and filed with the permit application, shall be in an
amount established by city council resolution. A permit issued hereunder shall be for duration of one year from
its date of issuance. An application for permit renewal shall be filed sixty (60) days prior to the expiration of the
current permit. The permit application shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(A) The full name and address of the following persons:
(i) The applicant signed thereto; and
(ii) The owner(s) of the premises on which chickens are sought to be kept and for which the permit would
apply;
(B) The street address of the premises on which chickens are sought to be kept;
(C) The number of chickens to be kept on the premises;
(D) A detailed sketch plan of the premises on which chickens are sought to be kept, including the location, the
dimensions and design of the coop and run, establishing compliance with the chicken coop and run
specifications provided in this section;
(E) A statement certifying whether the property's homeowners' association rules, if any, prohibit the keeping of
chickens on the property for which the application is sought;
(F) If the applicant is not the fee owner of the premises on which the chickens are sought to be kept and for
which the permit would apply, the application shall be signed by all fee owners of the premises.
(G) Any other and further information as the city deems necessary.
(12) Revocation: A permit granted under this section of the code may be revoked by the zoning administrator or
animal warden with a finding in writing to the applicant that a violation of any of these standards has occurred
or that there is a threat to public health, safety or welfare. Such revocation may be appealed to the city council,
whose decision shall be final.
(13) Abatement and Enforcement: Should an applicant have their permit revoked as per Subpart (12) above; or
chooses not to renew their domestic chicken permit; or if the chicken coop ceases to operate for a period of six
(6) months or more, the applicant or owner of the property must remove the coop structure and all
appurtenances within thirty (30) days from written notice by city.

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This petition made change with 672 supporters!

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