August 21, 2020 Special City Council Meeting Minutes


August 21, 2020 Special City Council Meeting Minutes

2:00 P.M.


A special meeting of the City Council of the City of International Falls, Minnesota was held in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building and via Zoom Conferencing on the 21st day of August, 2020 at the hour of 2:00 P.M.


MEMBERS PRESENT:      Councilors Briggs, Buller, Ditsch and Mayor Droba.    

                    Media and public via Zoom Conferencing. All members noted they could hear the others and the discussion.

MEMBERS ABSENT:      Councilors Krause.


ADOPTED Resolution No. 75-20 setting the terms for an election initiated by petition to enact an ordinance to allow chickens in the City of International Falls

Mayor Droba explained that this is approximately the seventh time that a chicken ordinance has been discussed and voted on by the International Falls City Council since he came on board with the Council in January 2015. Mayor Droba stated it is time that the residents decide on the matter for themselves.


City Administrator Anderson explained that under Section 25 of the City’s Home Rule Charter, it provides that a petition in favor of an ordinance can be signed by electors equal in number to at least five percent, but less than fifteen percent, of the entire vote cast for all candidates for Mayor at the last preceding election at which a Mayor was elected, then such ordinance, without alteration, shall be submitted by the Council to a vote of the electors at the next general City election that shall occur at any time after thirty days from the date of the City Administrator’s certificate of sufficiency attached to the petition accompanying such ordinance. A valid petition meeting such requirements was received by the City Administrator’s Office.


MOTION by Councilor Buller to adopt Resolution No. 75-20 setting the terms for an election initiated by petition to enact an ordinance to allow chickens in the City of International Falls. Motion seconded by Councilor Ditsch.


Councilor Briggs inquired as to whether there were plans for the City to publish the full draft ordinance prior to the election to allow voters time to educate themselves on the issue prior to voting. City Administrator Anderson stated that it is required that the draft ordinance be published no more than twenty (20) but no less than five (5) days prior to the November 3, 2020 General Election.


Councilor Briggs inquired as to whose responsibility it will be to enforce the requirements laid out in the ordinance and if building permits will be required for chicken coops. Mayor Droba stated that it has been discussed as a part of the 2021 Budget to add a Code Enforcement Officer and have that person enforce the rules and regulations specific to chickens. City Administrator Anderson noted that buildings smaller than one hundred twenty (120) square feet do not require a building permit, but do require a zoning permit and approval.


Councilor Ditsch inquired as to whether the ordinance could be revised as he cautioned the Council that ten (10) chickens is a lot of upkeep. It was noted that the ordinance cannot be revised as that is the ordinance approved by petitioners and if it should be approved by the voters, it would have to be voted on again by the voters to amend or repeal the ordinance.


Councilor Buller inquired as to whether there would be a licensing fee for chickens similar to the dog and cat licensure requirements. Mayor Droba stated there was no such licensure requirement in place for chickens.


Motion carried unanimously.



Tim Wegner, 2102 4th Avenue, stated he was in favor of chickens being allowed in the city limits of International Falls. Mr. Wegner said he was disappointed that the Council had not approved this sooner on their own, but hoped the voters pass this ordinance in the November election.



Mayor Droba adjourned the meeting at 2:19 P.M.




Harley Droba, Mayor




Kenneth R. Anderson, City Administrator

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