A month after passing an ordinance that allows residents to raise chickens, the Clintonville City Council sent the ordinance back to committee for review.
The discussion at the city council meeting, Tuesday, Aug. 12, centered around building permits for the chicken coops, and whether the coops need to be inspected by the building inspector.
In the chicken ordinance (Ordinance No. 1096) that passed at the July 8 city council meeting, under the application process it states, “(1) Show the desired location for the coop and run on a scaled drawing of the lot. The drawing shall include dwelling units on properties within 100 feet of the proposed coop location and shall be approved by the Building Inspector. (2) Provide the design for the desired coop along with proof of the building permit for the building of the same.”
Alderwoman Gloria Dunlavy told the council that the Safety and Ordinance Committee had discussed at its August meeting, reviewing the policy after realizing that a building permit was required for the chicken coops.
Alderwoman Mary-Beth Kuester said a resident contacted her and informed her that a building permit was required along with $90. She said she didn’t realize $90 was required for a building permit.
“I think it’s surprising people,” Kuester said.
Alderman Greg Rose questioned the need for a building permit for a chicken coop.
“We don’t require building permits for dog houses, yet we’re going to require building permits for chicken coops,” Rose said.
He added, “We have so many different hoops that a person who wants to have chickens is going to have to jump through, that nobody is even going to take it seriously. I think adding on close to $100 for a building permit is kind of slamming the door on anybody that would want to do the chicken coop.”
Rose recommended sending the ordinance back to the Safety & Ordinance Committee to consider taking out the building permit requirement.
It was just one month earlier, at the city council meeting, July 8 that Rose said one of the benefits of the ordinance was the specific rules that citizens had to follow.
Alderman Bill Zienert agreed with Rose that building permits are not required to build a dog house, but the city also doesn’t indicate how a dog house has to be built. He said the chicken ordinance requires chicken coops to meet certain specifications.
“If you‘re going to have the regulation then you’re going to have to have the permit. If that wasn’t intended then you should have thought about that before you voted it in,” Zienert said.
Kuester said her recollection of the discussion was a detailed plan had to be filed at city hall, but the use of a building inspector was never part of the discussion. Rose said he agreed with Zienert that there are a lot of regulations required for the chicken coops. But he said if a resident builds a chicken coop to all these regulations, that it will pass the inspection. Having a building inspector actually do the inspection just adds to the resident’s cost and is unnecessary.
Rose didn’t indicate how the city would verify that the coops built met all regulations if a building inspector didn’t inspect them.
Council president Jeannie Schley recommended looking at the ordinances of other cities that allow the raising of chickens to see if they require a building permit.
“I think it was in here [ordinance], but I don’t think we talked about it when we passed it,” Schley said.
She added that she didn’t realize there was an automatic cost for a building inspector.
Rose made the motion to send the chicken ordinance back to committee for review. The motion passed 6-3. Aldermen Zienert, Phil Rath and Mark Doornink voted against sending it back to committee. Those three had also voted against passing the original ordinance. Alderman Jerry Jorgenson was excused from the council meeting.