As of today, the City of Redwood Falls does not permit the raising of chickens within the city limits. However, those residing in the outlying areas of the community adjacent to ag areas may raise some.
Brode Lydick lives right in the middle of the community, and the Redwood Valley Middle School fifth grader wants to raise chickens at his home, too.
So, Lydick attended the Dec. 6 meeting of the Redwood Falls city council where he brought up the idea of urban chickens.
In a prepared statement Lydick read to the council at that meeting, he argued that many other larger cities, such as St. Paul, Ann Arbor, Mich. and Fort Collins, Colo., allow residents to raise chickens.
“We are a farming community,” said Lydick.
During that initial meeting, the city council discussed some of the challenges that it might face if it would allow this to happen, and after that discussion opted to table the request to allow for more research to be done.
Lydick appeared before the council again this past Tuesday to further discuss the idea of urban chickens, and, to help the council better get an idea of the potential, presented them with some eggs raised locally.
John Buckley, city council member, said he did some homework in the time between meetings, and what he discovered is communities are all over the place when it comes to the idea.
Some, he said, reject it simply because it has never been done, while there are others that have fully embraced the idea.
In talking with officials in those communities where ordinances approving chickens have been adopted Buckley added the issues others had feared have never been raised.
Buckley said he has learned a lot as he has researched the idea, and from his standpoint doesn’t really see an issue with what Lydick is requesting.
Corey Theis, Redwood Falls mayor, commended Lydick for the work he did before bringing the idea to the city council, and he said if everyone who was going to raise chickens would do as much homework he is confident there wouldn’t be any issues in the community.
However, Theis also said there is always the worst case scenario that has to be considered – when someone gives it a try, doesn’t like it and just abandons the animals.
Theis said if the process proceeds he would like any ordinance to include requirements that include significant levels of responsibility on every resident that plans to raise chickens.
After additional discussion, the council directed city staff to begin the process of drawing up an ordinance allowing for urban chickens in Redwood Falls.
Buckley said this is the next step in the process, and once the staff has developed the ordinance the council will again discuss the idea before making its final decision.
Paul DeBlieck, city council member, said he only sees positives coming from this idea, adding in the future this may go even beyond just the raising of chickens.
In other action during its meeting Tuesday, the city council:
• Approved the purchase of a copy machine for the Redwood Area Community Center at a cost of $11,308. According to Missi Meyer, director of finance and administrative services, the new machine will replace an existing copier that has come to the end of its maintenance agreement. The purchase of a new machine, she added, will save the city in the long run over continuing to try and use the machine that is currently in place.
• Denied a variance request based on the recommendation of the planning and zoning commission at 1104 South Halvorson.
• Denied a request to adjust a water charge and tabled a request for a sewer charge adjustment to allow the person making the request a chance to come before the council to make a case for the request.