Wega chicken issue still unresolved
"I thought it would be fair to show a reflection of the city. So far, we have a good taste of it. We will make a decision next month," Ald. Bruce Brunner said Monday, Aug. 20 during a meeting of the Common Council.
He was referring to the two petitions the city has received in regard to the issue.
One was from resident Melissa Kepler, who last month asked the council if it would consider changing it current ordinance so that those who live in the city can have poultry.
The city's current ordinance does not allow residents to have farm animals.
Brunner said that petition had 16 signatures on it. Out of those 16 signatures, nine of them could be clearly read and were signatures of city residents, he said.
A petition that is not in favor of changing the current ordinance was signed by 83 people.
Brunner said all of those signatures were clear and were those of city residents.
At this week's council meeting, he said those on both sides of the issue can continue surveying city residents about the topic.
A possible ordinance amendment to allow city residents to keep poultry was also discussed at the Aug. 14 meeting of the city's Ordinance Committee.
At that meeting, Ald. Amy DeSantis said, "We currently have chickens and a rooster running around uncaged on Ann Street."
She asked if poultry would be banded if there was a change to the ordinance and what regulations would be put into place to handle complaints.
DeSantis pointed to the number of unlicensed cats in the city and said, "As a taxpayer, if I wanted to live on a farm, I would have."
Approximately 15 people attended that committee meeting, and Hollis Martin was among them.
She lives adjacent to the property that has the chickens on Ann Street. "They're very quiet. I've never heard them," she said.
Chris Gunderson lives on Main Street and said, "Four years ago, the same, small group of people came to change the ordinance, and it got turned down. Until all the other ordinances are enforced, I don't see how we can enforce another ordinance."
Gunderson said she is not for or against the idea of allowing residents to have poultry but said there are other ordinances not being enforced, such as dogs and cats running around and garbage sitting out in yards.
At one point during the meeting, the idea of putting the question to a referendum was brought forward.
"Could we do that with every ordinance then?" Kepler asked.
Martin said maybe the entire ordinance should be put to a referendum, because it includes some "absolutely insane" animals, such as freshwater sharks, on the list of prohibited animals in the city.
One woman said when she moved to Weyauwega several years ago, she was told that residents were allowed to have up to four hens.
"We have an ordinance against chickens. We can't even enforce it now," Gunderson said.
Her husband Nick, who is a former alderman, said that any proposed modification to an ordinance should be considered carefully.
"The potbelly pig is one example of something being passed for one person," he said. "It was the flavor of the day. The pig is gone. The ordinance is still there."
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