Monticello soon to allow urban chickens

City Council
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The City of Monticello is getting closer to allowing residents to raise urban chickens within city limits.

     During the June 19 city council meeting, the council passed the second reading of a proposed ordinance. Three readings are required before the ordinance takes effect. The third reading will take place during the Monday, July 3 council meeting.

     There are several key points to make reference to within the ordinance for those who might pursue raising urban chickens, or for the neighbors of those who might be interested:

     • No more than six hens will be permitted.

     • Those renting property must obtain permission to raise chickens on the property from the landlord.

     • Chickens must be maintained in a coop or fowl house no less than 18 inches in height or in a fenced pen area. Chickens must be in the coop from dusk until dawn.

     • Chickens must be maintained in a rear yard.

     • Coops must be 15 feet from any property line, and shall not exceed 8 feet in height.

     • Chicken wings must be clipped.

     • Chickens will need to be banded. Bands can be picked up at City Hall.

     • Owners must have a city permit, with fees to be determined.

     • Adjacent property owners must sign a consent form.

     • The applicant must have completed an approved class/workshop on raising chickens in an urban setting prior to being issued a permit.

     • The city, by granting the permit, has the right to enter the property at any time to inspect the coop/fowl house to ensure the conditions of the permit are being met.

     “This does not allow for free-range chickens,” clarified City Administrator Doug Herman.

     In terms of the class, Council member Dave Goedken questioned if 4-H youth wanting to raise chickens are required to take a class. City Clerk Sally Hinrichsen said the class is not a requirement to show poultry at the Jones County Fair.

     “There is a difference between raising chickens on a farm versus in town,” said Hinrichsen.

     By requiring the owner to take and complete a class, Herman said that could eliminate some people who might think they want to raise urban chickens, but perhaps should not.

     “You could end up with fewer, better owners,” clarified Herman.

     “People who are serious about this will be more responsible,” added Mayor Dena Himes.

     In terms of the permit process, Herman said it is meant to be specific to the property owner and the property. So if you move to another location in Monticello, the permit has to be renewed for that property. If you sell your house, the new homeowners will have to apply for a permit if they choose to raise urban chickens.

     The city has yet to determine permit fees and the application itself. Herman advised that just because the council passes the third reading does not mean the application process will begin.

     “In all reality, we should be ready by this fall,” offered Herman.

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