Policy Implementing Grace Period for Keeping of Chickens

Purpose and Intent
The purpose and intent of this policy is to implement a grace period to allow persons currently keeping and harboring chickens (estimated to be 14 properties) to continue to do so until January 1, 2021, after which time the keeping of chickens shall not be further allowed and any observed violations shall be enforced. The ordinance does not and has not allowed the keeping of chickens except in areas zoned for agricultural purposes.

The International Falls Code of Ordinances, Section 10-12, specifies standards for the keeping, transporting, treatment, and housing of animals and fowl. The ordinance prohibits the keeping of chickens, as a farm animal, except in areas zoned for agricultural purposes. No agricultural zoning districts exist within the City of International Falls Code of Ordinances, Chapter 11, Land Use Regulations (Zoning). Therefore, chickens are prohibited. In the summer of 2020, a petition with sufficient signatures was submitted to the City and a City Question No. 1 was included for the election held on November 3, 2020. The question asked if the voters approved of the keeping of chickens and included an ordinance to allow chickens in the City. The election results were approved by the Canvassing Board on November 12, 2020, as follows:

City Question 1
“Do you vote for the ordinance to allow the keeping of chickens in the City of International Falls, Minnesota, as submitted by petition of electors?”

East Center West Total
YES 494 426 503 1,423
NO 433 420 704 1,557

The question did not receive sufficient votes to pass.

Policy Implementation
The City Council desires to allow residents that may currently be keeping and harboring chickens within the corporate limits of the City time to come into compliance with the current ordinance prohibiting chickens. We estimate there are 14 properties that keep chickens. The City Council hereby establishes a grace period from the date of adoption of this policy on November 16, 2020 to January 1, 2021, and staff shall withhold any enforcement action of Section 10-12 for the keeping of chickens only, until January 2021. During this grace period, property owners currently keeping and harboring chickens shall make efforts to remove chickens from their property in order to come into full compliance with the ordinance not later than January 1, 2021. The City Administrator is directed to place this matter on the agenda of a Committee-of-the-Whole meeting in January, 2021 to assess compliance.

City Council adoption: November 16, 2020

Print Friendly, PDF & Email